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September 2016

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 sep 2016

According to the first experts' poll conducted by Thomson Reuters Foundation (poll2016.trust.org), in partnership with Deutsche Bank, the Global Social Entrepreneurship Network (GSEN) and UnLtd, the top nations for social entrepreneurs are - (1) United States (2) Canada (3) United Kingdom (4) Singapore (5) Israel (6) Chile (7) South Korea (8) Hong Kong (9) Malaysia (10) France. The poll included survey of about 900 social enterprise experts (social entrepreneurs, academics, investors, policy-makers and support networks) in the world's 45 biggest economies. 85% of the experts said the number of social entrepreneurs finding ways of combining business with social purpose was growing although there is little data tracking the sector. According to Natalia Oberti Noguera, founder of Pipeline Angels (US), 'If someone's interested in financial return on investment, that's not a good fit. We're about so much more. We're about doing good, we're about doing well.' Nearly 60% of the experts surveyed cited three major challenges in the growing sector - people do not know what social entrepreneurs do, which makes raising funds difficult and selling to governments is an uphill struggle. Anne Katrine Heje Larsen, founder and CEO of KPH (Denmark), says, 'There are still too many people who view social entrepreneurs as a bunch of hash-fuming utopian people in knitted sweaters. They couldn't be more wrong.' According to Ayşe Sabuncu, co-founder of Impact Hub Istanbulin (Turkey), 'People do not understand social entrepreneurs create money making businesses like any other business, and they question the philosophy of it if the entrepreneur ends up making profit.' Andy Carnahan, a Swedish social entrepreneur, says, 'A greater understanding of how for-profit businesses can be a driving force for social good would help. We need this (awareness)...among the public who don't realize how much good can be done by a for-profit business that has a social good built into its business model.' Poll found that India, Philippines and South Korea are among those where social entrepreneurs were finding it easiest to access investment. According to Prashanth Venkataramana of Essmart Global, 'A lot of people see India as an opportunity overseas, especially in America.' Bank of America's 2016 survey found that 85% of millennials were interested in having a social impact through investment. It also found that women were more interested in impact investing than men. Peetachai 'Neil' Dejkraisak of Siam Organic (Thailand) says, 'World-class social enterprises are run by women in Asia. They do a really good job balancing the social and financial objectives.' Rosemary Addis, chair of Impact Investing Australia, says, 'Individual enterprises are finding a niche and finding they can engage the market and sell their products or services. But as a sector, the concept of social enterprise and purpose-driven business has not yet got mainstream awareness. That's a job ahead to educate the public.' Read on...

Huffington Post: U.S. Is Best Country For Social Entrepreneurs - Poll
Authors: Pietro Lombardi, Ellen Wulfhorst, Pauline Askin, Nita Bhalla, Alisa Tang, Belinda Goldsmith


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 sep 2016

According to the conditions set forth in the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Law in India, all companies with a net worth of Rs 500 crore or revenue of Rs 1000 cr or net profit of Rs 5 cr should spend 2% of last 3 years average profit on charity work. CSR management firm, NextGen, studied the annual reports of the top 100 firms by market capitalizations on NSE (National Stock Exchange) for 2014-15 & 91 firms for 2015-16. The total spend on CSR activities for 91 firms is Rs 6033 cr for FY16, while it was Rs 4760 cr by 100 companies in FY15. According to Abhishek Humbad, co-founder of NextGen, 'More and more companies are realizing that not meeting 2% makes them look bad, and for large companies, it can turn out be a reputational risk.' The energy sector accounted for nearly 26% of the total CSR spending. Reliance was the largest spender in FY16, using 2.3% of its profit (Rs 652 cr) on education, health and other social activities. Jagannatha Kumar at chairman's office of RIL says, 'The amount spent on each of the focus areas varies on an annual basis depending on the scope of work for the year.' In FY16 RIL spend on healthcare halved to Rs 314 cr while on education it increased to Rs 215 cr from Rs 18 cr in FY15. According to Parul Soni of Thinkthrough Consulting, a CSR consultancy, 'Manufacturing companies like automotive have been well poised to do CSR because they focus on communities around their plants and it helps build engagement with local communities. Also, many of them are working in skill development.' Some of the top causes that corporates spend on are healthcare, poverty eradication, education, skill development, rural development, and environment. Noshir Dadrawala, CEO of Centre for Advancement of Philanthropy, says, 'Skills have been trendy. These causes have seen an increase because many of the skilling initiatives instead of being classified as an education initiative is being put under providing employment and reducing poverty. Also when it comes to healthcare, conducting blood donation camps is a popular way of doing CSR as it is easy and effective.' Ravi Chellam, ED of Greenpeace, points out that environment is not a priority issue for most Indian corporates. He says, 'On environmental issues, companies seem to prefer to focus on either their own campuses or areas immediately surrounding their locations.' According to Loveleen Kacker, CEO of Tech Mahindra Foundation, '50% of all our CSR capital goes into empowering women and another 10% for the disabled. We believe that any development can happen in any of the areas - from nutrition to sanitation, only when women are empowered. And we feel only economic empowerment of women can bring about social empowerment.' The top geographical regions that were beneficiary of CSR funds for FY16 are Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka. Vinod Kulkarni, head of CSR at Tata Motors Ltd, says, 'It is part of our policy to invest CSR funds in geographies in close proximity to our area of operation. It amplifies the outcomes and impact.' Arun Nagpal, co-founder of Mrida Group, comments, 'The reasons for firms to select geographies close to manufacturing plants or areas of work are valid but this leads to an imbalance in the division of CSR funding.' Read on...

Livemint: Firms ramp up CSR focus on healthcare, poverty, hunger
Authors: Arundhati Ramanathan, Moyna Manku


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