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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability

Corporate Responsibility - CSR


Corporate Responsibility - CSR

Exchange and discuss CSR.

Members: 248
Latest Activity: Apr 4, 2017

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Comment by Rachel Zedeck on December 7, 2009 at 7:21am
PLEASE FORWARD to your network: Our World Productions raising funds to produce a mini documentary on the Backpack Farm

Hello all.... GREAT NEWS TO REPORT!!!!!

My Story, Our World Productions is now raising funds to produce a mini documentary on the Backpack Farm. The project is going to produce mini documentaries on socially responsible projects in Kenya (, India, Nepal, Cambodia, and Zambia. We met my social networking on Twitter. They only need to raise $11,000 to fund the whole project and have already raised $1,833. I am really grateful for all the support we are beginning to receive.

Please visit and forward the link to the KickStarter site to help them raise funds:

Comment by Laura Hughes on February 17, 2010 at 6:38am
A different take on the economics angle: Are You Happy? How does economic development really fit into this fundamental question?

How can we move beyond CSR towards more fundamental engagement of business resources, expertise and power for a mutually beneficial future? This from NEF makes an interesting argument for a different way forward...
"Are you happy?" traces the history of new economics past, present and future. It asks the biggest question facing humanity - do good lives have to cost the earth? - and finds that the answer lies in a new type of economics, economics as if people and the planet mattered."
Comment by Rachel Zedeck on February 18, 2010 at 8:17am
Hello CSR gurus... I hope everyone is having a great new year. PLEASE help me network our new fundraiser on kickstarter to finance a sustainable eco-farm microfinance scheme in Meru, Kenya working with a group of single mothers. Yes, it really is being designed to be both sustainable and transparent. You can read more here:

Feel free to send me questions directly or post them online. I plan on updating it early next week with new pictures of the women's group.
Comment by mitch gold on February 19, 2010 at 6:35pm
how many in this group are assocaited with companies "intending" to adopt the ISO 26000 Standards when they are finalized this October?
Comment by David Connor on February 22, 2010 at 12:51pm
Do you know a business using #sport for social or environmental good?

The Beyond Sport Awards now open for 2010 -
Comment by Laura Hughes on February 23, 2010 at 5:28am
Hi David - I know of a great organisation in Ghana called Right to Dream, which uses sport to bring education and opportunities to children from extremely poor communities. Not sure if it necessarily fits what you're looking for as it's an enterprise rather than a business, but might be a good nomination to explore.
Comment by David Martel on February 23, 2010 at 10:39am
3BL Media’s URL Shortener Converts 7,000 URLs in Initial Month of Operation Generating Charitable Donations

3BL Media is currently seeking additional nominees for the next round of recipients of this charitable endeavor in addition to the suggestions already made. Charities and causes will be identified via “crowd-sourcing” for nominations by users visiting @3blmedia on Twitter, or emailing
Comment by David Connor on February 23, 2010 at 10:42am
Hi Laura - just signpost them to the site to see if they feel like it's for them.

I was at last year's Summit & Awards and they were fantastic - the line up was incredible, especially Desmond Tutu!

It's a great opportunity for raising profile for both sporting organisations and any sponsors / corporates involved.

Highly recommended!
Comment by mitch gold on February 24, 2010 at 5:32pm
are you familiar with RIGHT TO PLAY - an organization established by Johann Koss an Olympic athlete - who married into one of Canada's financial giant families (now divorced) - but his Charity is doing a great job - notwithstanding his inability to tie in to our own activities.


Comment by suresh kr pramar on July 26, 2010 at 11:32pm
Role of Industry in building an Inclusive Society

BY Suresh Kr Pramar

What is an inclusive society ? According to the Expert Group on Promoting Social Integration, “An inclusive society is one that over-rides differences of race, gender, class, generation, and geography, and ensures inclusion, equality of opportunity for all members of the society to determine an agreed set of social institutions that govern social interaction.” The World Summit for Social Development (Copenhagen 1995) defines it as a “society for all in which every individual, each with rights and responsibilities, has an active role to play”.

India has still a long way to go to qualify as a really inclusive society. While the country has made outstanding economic progress and the number of super rich have increased, the gap between the rich and the poor has increased. According to latest figures the number of those living under the poverty line is estimated at 37 percent of the total population of the country. The strains of a non inclusive society are all too evident in the newspaper headlines every morning

Gandhiji was perhaps the first Indian leader to call for creating an inclusive society through his concept of Trusteeship. “Earn your crores but understand that your wealth is not yours; it belongs to society. Take what you require for your legitimate needs and use the remainder for society.” Mahatma Gandhi said while earning profit was right the businessman needs to show concern towards his less fortunate fellow beings

Over the past two decades, Corporate Social Responsibility has found strong support among Indian business houses. According to The World Business Council For Sustainable Development CSR is “the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the work force and their families as well as of the local community and society at large.” CSR within companies can become an important driver of inclusive development

The present socio-economic environment necessitates that industry plays a more constructive role for achieving inclusiveness and complementing the ongoing efforts of Government and civil society in enhancing social equity. Poverty, employment and sustainable development are the challenges facing the creation of an inclusive society

When we talk of industry’s efforts to promote inclusive development we refer mainly to the responsibility of business towards the community/society. Every business house which claims to practice CSR is involved in community beneficial projects. Studies indicates that a majority of these community investments are in the area of education, health and livelihood creation.

There are several critical areas wherein industry/business can play a role in creating an inclusive society. I will take up only four which I feel are very important. These are Poverty Eradication, Education, Health, Livelihoods and tribal development. These are not the only issues which require attention but for want of time I will take up only these at present.

Poverty is the key challenge. It limits the access of people to the most basic levels of social inclusion, in the form of material deprivation, such as the inability to afford shelter and buy food. The poor often lack the will and capacity to act, are psychologically disempowered, as they feel excluded from the greater society, and discouraged of becoming visible, participating and contributing.

Industry/business can help fight poverty by providing increased employment. It can create opportunities for vocational training to enable job seekers acquire skills in different trades thereby making them employable. Many organizations ha started such training centres where different trades are being taught.

One such organization is the GMR Foundation. At its Training Centre located near the new Hyderabad Airport the Foundation offers short term training facilities in various trades. Called the Empowerment/Livelihoods it is designed to make youth employable and facilitate livelihood. In addition to providing in house training the project offers Educational loans, scholarships to professional courses. Running courses with industry and academic partners like Voltas, NAC, VLCC, Jain Irrigation, etc. Facilitating direct employment by linkages to employers Facilitating direct job opportunities with airport concessionaires. More than 800 youth from around the area placed at airport including candidates trained at the Centre. In addition, 60 youth trained for driving for their own enterprise

Education: Education can play a very important role in the fight against poverty. It can empower those who are marginalized or excluded from participating in discussions and decision-making. Our literacy rate is about 61 percent. There are almost 50 million children still out of school. A majority of these are located in urban slums and our villages. All these children need to be given equal educational opportunity as well as an education of acceptable quality.

A majority of companies involved in CSR are investing in education. These interventions are mainly in the area of construction of school buildings or classrooms, providing teaching material, organizing sports and cultural activities etc. While these are necessary and welcome there is an urgent need to look into the real requirements of the village and poor children.

There is need to make education more interesting and closer to their needs. Some business houses, like the Azim Premji Foundation, have started thinking out of the box and are bringing in new ideas and systems. They have begun to look at education in its totality starting from the curriculum, the training of teachers to increase their motivation etc.
Child Friendly school, drawn up by the Azim Premji Foundation, as a concept fosters democratisation of education. It promotes classroom activities and behaviour which results in effective learning. It positively incorporates the involvement of children, families and communities in their children’s schooling CFS deals with issues both within the classroom and school, as well as the community. In-school intervention provides support to curriculum implementation, the teacher, teaching learning process and improvement of the school and classroom environment.
The programme also supports positive school-community interface to ensure effective involvement and participation of the community. This concept has resulted in a marked difference in the punctuality of the teachers. The teachers attend school regularly and come on time. This helps create an atmosphere of seriousness and helps in children being engaged right from the morning. Children attend school eagerly and get engaged in learning activities at home.
There are several similar interventions which are proving very successful and are helping rural and poor children to access education.
Health care available to a vast majority of people in India is still of a very poor quality. There is still a lack of quality healthcare services, inaccessibility, and affordability. 73% of population lives in rural India, whereas around 27% live in urban areas. 75% of health infrastructure, medical HR are concentrated in urban areas. Water borne & Tropical diseases are the commonest causes of morbidity and mortality in rural settings, mostly preventable and treatable.
One million newborns die within the first 28 days of life, of these 90% are preventable, 2.1 million children die annually before reaching their fifth birthday, One infant dies every 15 seconds., One woman dies every seven minutes due to pregnancy related complications, most of them preventable. All this is because for a vast majority of people particularly those living in the rural inaccessible areas and the urban poor quality health care is still not available.
Several corporates have started providing health care facilities. These are mainly in the area of sending mobile health units with the necessary medical staff to the villages. These provide medical care and medicines. In serious cases many offer to admit such patients in hospitals in the urban areas.
While curing diseases is essential and the health services offered by the corporates/business are noteworthy there is serious need to rethink these activities. More attention needs to be paid on the preventative aspects as well. Most of the medical problems faced by the rural population are the result of unsanitary living conditions and uncontaminated drinking water. There is need to take up projects which will tackle these issues.
The Nice Foundation, Hyderabad has take up a programme to ensure comprehensive healthcare for children accessing government schools, covering common cold to cardiac surgery. It is very effectively using health care as a tool to promote schooling. The objective of this programme which is in operation in Andhra Pradesh and 40 centres in Rajasthan is to reduce absenteeism and increase retention amongst government school going child due to health related reasons. Using the slogan Not well come to School the project offers preventive, promotive, curative services
Tribals: Today the section of the Indian population which feels most neglected are the tribals. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has conceded that the Indian state and establishment have abused and exploited the country’s more than 80 million tribal people.“There has been a systemic failure in giving the tribals a stake in the modern economic processes that inexorably intrude into their living spaces,” According to the 1991 Census about 68 million.
The present spate of violence and killing in most of the tribal populated states is an indication of the strong feeling of exclusiveness felt by the tribal population. Reservation in academic institutions and government jobs has not helped very much. It has made these communities more isolated from the mainstream.
One way to help tribal communities to shed their isolation would be by giving them necessary social and economic skills. This could be possible with the provision of special schools tailored to their needs where they could be taught not merely the three R’s but also vocational trades.
Many tribal schools are plagued by high dropout rates. Children attend for the first three to four years of primary school and gain a smattering of knowledge, only to lapse into illiteracy later. Few who enter continue up to the tenth grade; of those who do, few manage to finish high school. Therefore, very few are eligible to attend institutions of higher education, where the high rate of attrition continues.
The Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, Bhubaneswar, a sister concern of The Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, was set up in 1993 to provide a natural ambience for educating the tribal children. The school has adopted the mission “To build up KISS as a preferred centre of learning for the poorest of the poor tribal children of the society with a focus on formal and livelihood education and scope for all-round development”.
The school has been developed in a way similar to that of their own habitations to make them comfortable in the new environment and imbibe them with self confidence and dedication for the realization of larger goals in life. The school provides free and good quality education and accommodation to tribal children of Orissa. It covers 60 tribal groups from the 30 districts of Orissa which includes 13 primitive tribal groups. Tribal culture, heritage and tradition have been given precedence over the academic curriculum. Yet academic results have been very encouraging year after year. In the High School Certificate Examination the school has achieved 100% result, including 8 students in first division.
The students of KISS have also performed well in State Children Science Congress (SCSC). One of the +2 Science student from KISS stood first in project preparation competition of SCSC and participated in National Children Science Congress held in Maharastra in 2007. Another student bagged second prize in poster competition in the same SCSC programme. The students have done in sports as well. The Under -14 rugby team of KISS won the Rugby World Cup held in England beating South Africa in final.

Industry/business and particularly those operating in tribal areas should set up such institutions for the benefit of tribal children. Children educated in such institutions will not need the clutch of reservation to find their place in society and the employment market..
Inclusion is the realization that everyone has essential dignity and everyone has something to contribute. Social inclusion can be described as a “multidimensional process aimed at lowering economic, social and cultural boundaries between those who are included and excluded, and making these boundaries more permeable”
No one becomes included by receiving handouts, even if these handouts are given by public bodies and with public resources. No one becomes included by being treated by a program in which they are no more than a number or a statistic. Inclusion is connection to the network of community development, it is to become more than a speck of dust, to have a forename and surname, with one’s own distinctive features, skills and abilities, able to receive and give stimulus, to imitate and be imitated, to
participate in a process of changing one’s own life and collective life.
Presentation made at the Social Responsibility Summit organised by the Delhi Management Association at the Indian Habitat Centre, New Delhi July 16, 2010

Suresh Kr Pramar, is the Excutive Director, Centre for Training and Research in Responsible Business & Social Initiatives. A journalist by profession he has been actively involved in promoting Corporate Social Responsibility over the past five years.
Mr Pramar set up the Global Gandhian Trusteeship and Corporate Responsibility Foundation, a registered Trust, of which he is the Managing Trustee. The Centre, which is the educational wing of the Foundation, is involved in organizing workshop on CSR for CSR Pactitioners, NGOs and students. So far 8 such workshops have been held in different parts of the country. The 9th edition is to be held in Noida in August.
Suresh Pramar is also the Editor of a monthly publication on CSR called CRBiz. He has contributed to several international online CSR publication.


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