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Krauss: Self-perpetuating nonprofit boards should change | Rutlant Herald, 13 apr 2019
What isolated and lonely social entrepreneurs of poorer countries need | Devdiscourse, 13 apr 2019
Successful, Sustainable Innovation: Using Drucker Philosophies To Achieve That Goal | International Business Times, 13 apr 2019
How to create a strong risk register | Third Sector, 12 apr 2019
The Achievements behind America's Great Philanthropist | Capital Research Center, 12 apr 2019
To spur rural development, China to send millions of students on 'volunteering' trips | Reuters, 12 apr 2019
How corporate social responsibility can boost your bottom line | Employee Benefit Advisor, 11 apr 2019
Cool but confused: Social entrepreneurs find it harder to explain their work | Thomson Reuters Foundation, 11 apr 2019
Is Diversification of Revenue Good for Nonprofit Financial Health? | Nonprofit Quarterly, 10 apr 2019
How Can I Teach My Great-Granddaughter to Be Charitable? | The New York Times, 09 apr 2019
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 feb 2019
Companies Act of 2014 made India the first country that made CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) mandatory for a section of corporates. The companies were expected to integrate social development programs into their business models and culture. KPMG's 2018-19 report that analyzed the CSR work of 100 companies found that corporates increased their prescribed amount for CSR expenditure from Rs 5779.7 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 7096.9 crore in 2017-18. Moreover, they were actually spending more than what was prescribed (Rs 4708 crore in 2014-15; Rs 7424 crore in 2017-18. But India's most backward districts remain deprived these CSR funds. According to the Ministry of Rural Development, 115 of the 718 districts in India are backward. NITI Aayog suggests that corporates can contribute to the development of these districts. Jharkhand (19 districts, 1% CSR funds received); Bihar (13, 2%); Chhattisgarh (10, 1%); Madhya Pradesh (8, 3%); Odisha (8, 11%). While Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, which account for only 15% of such districts, have received 60% of the CSR money. The most backward districts got only 13% of this year's funds and not more than 25% of the total projects. Companies have found convenient ways to direct their CSR funds and shrug off their social responsibility. In July 2018, 272 companies were served notices by the Registrar of Companies for non-compliance with CSR expenditure. Between July 2016 and March 2017, about 1018 companies were issued notices for non-compliance. KPMG has identified three principal areas of non-compliance - disclosure of direct and overhead expenditure on projects, details of overhead expenses, and keeping these overhead expenses below 5% of total CSR spends. Sujit Kumar Singh, senior program manager at Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), says, 'There is no data to know if companies are undertaking need-based assessment studies, a must since it prioritises the requirements of the impacted communities.' Mr. Singh adds, '...Often, professionals handling CSR are not trained to comprehend societal nuances. In most cases those heading the human resource department handle CSR activities. The need now is a policy which drive companies towards self-regulation, the key to CSR.' According to the reporting guidelines that CSE has prepared, 'Companies should self-regulate and be responsive to the disadvantaged, vulnerable and marginalised sections of society. They should respect and promote human rights, make efforts to protect and restore the environment, and support inclusive growth and equitable development. The guidelines show how to improve accountability and transparency in CSR spending, and make it an integral part of business.' Read on...
Indian firms' CSR spending needs more accountability and transparency
Author: Vikrant Wankhede
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 nov 2018
Corporations are encouraging their employees to volunteer as part of their corporate social responsibility efforts. Experts recently conducted a workshop to discuss different stages of volunteering, scaling up the volunteer programs and how companies can use volunteering for better employee engagement, learning and alignment. Aditya Nagpal, Director and BU Head at Goodera, said, 'Our goal is to use technology and data to simplify volunteering, so more people are able to do good at scale. We feel that employee volunteering lies at the perfect intersection of people, planet and profit.' According to him companies go through five stages of volunteering - (1) Informal volunteering (2) Support and encouragement by launching initiatives (3) Planning initiatives strategically (4) Volunteering becomes essential component (5) Volunteering programs attain brand status. Svetlana Pinto, Country Head Communications & CSR at Novartis India, said, 'There are many advantages of volunteering that we have seen in our journey so far. Interestingly, we have found a lot of enthusiasm in the younger lot that is joining the workforce. Other things being equal, they would look more favourably towards an organization with a soul that helps them give back to the community. Volunteering has also helped in building a greater team spirit.' Ester Martinez, CEO & Editor-in-Chief of People Matters Media, conducted a session on 'Designing volunteering experiences for your workforce: Is your organization volunteering ready?' He addressed four challenges - getting started; sustainability of employees; architecting a good experience; policymaking. To overcome them it is important to have clear communication of values, better engagement of employees and a good reward and recognition program. Read on...
Designing volunteering experiences for your workforce
Author: Sharon Lobo
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 oct 2018
Indian corporates that fulfil the conditions of Section 135 of the Companies Act 2013 relating to mandatory spending of 2% of last 3 years average profit on CSR are making a difference in vulnerable communities in India. According to the latest India CSR Outlook Report published by NGOBOX, Reliance Industries, HDFC Bank, Wipro, Tata Steel, NTPC, Indian Oil Corporation & ONGC spent more than their prescribed CSR budgets in FY 2017-18. The report analyzed CSR spends of 359 companies. The prescribed CSR budget of these 359 companies was Rs 9543.51 crore whereas the actual CSR spend was Rs 8875.93 crore (3/4th of total CSR spend in India). There is an increase in the prescribed CSR from 6% to 8% in the actual CSR spend from FY 16-17 and the number of projects have also increased by 25% from the previous year. REPORT HIGHLIGHTS: Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat together received over 1/4th of India's total CSR fund. North-eastern states of Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura have received least funds; Public sector contribution is over 1/4th of the total; Oil, refinery and petrochemicals account for alsmost 1/4th of the total while healthcare and pharma contributes the least with just Rs 294 crore; CSR funding on education and skill increased by 50% from last year and is 1/3rd of the total CSR spend; Over 1/4th is spend on WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) and healthcare projects. Read on...
Corporates spend 50% CSR funds in education, skill development: Report
Author: Sonal Khetarpal
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 jul 2018
In a developing country like India low-income groups often lack access to proper healthcare. But, mobile technology can provide ways to enable these groups have knowledge and resources to drive preventative healthcare. Lead researchers, Aakash Ganju (co-founder of Avegen), Sumiti Saharan (Neuroscientist, Team Lead of Design & Research at Avegen), Alice Lin (Global Director of social innovation at Johnson & Johnson), Lily W. Lee (President of Almata, a division of Avegen), explain the research conducted by their team on the digital usage patterns of underserved groups in two urban areas of India, and iteratively tested user interface and content design. Researchers generated primary research insights from more than 250 new mothers and fathers living in low-income communities, and achieve understanding of the core barriers and digital needs of this population. Researchers suggest, 'Embedding health care into digital tools requires that providers overcome contextual barriers and undertake deliberate design processes. To succeed, providers must develop a nuanced understanding of the obstacles to consuming information digitally, as well as glean insights from technology, interface design, and behavioral science.' Following are some insights from the research - (1) Cost is no longer the biggest barrier: In the last year, a strong government regulatory authority has promoted competition and consumer benefits that have rapidly driven down both smartphone and data costs. (2) Infrastructure can overcome any remaining cost barriers: Only 5% of people living in less-connected and less-developed localities owned smartphones, compared to a significant 56% of individuals with similar incomes living in neighborhoods with good mobile network and infrastructure. (3) Digital experiences are not often built for low-income, urban populations: The most pervasive barrier to digital adoption in India today is a lack of knowledge about how to use digital interfaces. Language is also a barrier. India has an overall literacy rate of 74%. However, only about 10% of Indians can communicate in English - the language of the Internet. Local language content is scarce. There are gaping holes in the understanding of early-stage user requirements and pain points, from both the digital interface and content experience perspectives. (4) There is a lack of trust in health-related digital information: Low-income, underserved communities who have not been exposed to authentic digital content often have extreme distrust in digital information pertaining to health. Only 12% of families thought information from digital sources was reliable, compared to more than 90% finding information from doctors and mothers to be most, very, or somewhat reliable. According to researchers, to truly meet the needs of underserved consumers, providers must focus on the following areas - (1) High-quality content: To engage users on digital platforms, providers must use differentiated content that connects with a user's specific journey. The form, tone, and continuity of content matters. Video formats optimized for small, low-quality displays are most effective in driving engagement. When visual formats are not feasible, audio formats are the next best alternative. Understand the environments in which users consume health. Include local elements in the content, like referring to local clinics etc. (2) Behavior change: Engaging users is vital to directing changes in consumer health behavior. It's important to be deliberate about the design of the user journey. Offering incentives for content consumption, sharing, and specific health-related behaviors can help nudge users toward desired health-related behaviors. (3) Technology: Mobile apps need to be light and fast, have low memory and data requirements, and be able to run on slow and patchy networks. Display data consumption frequently, enhanced ability to view offline content and share content within community is important for engagement. (4) Design team structure: Multidisciplinary teams that bring together expertise in technology, design, business and sustainability, end-user thinking, and behavioral sciences tend to create the most effective designs. To design for the end user, providers must design with the end user, particularly for populations who are not digitally fluent. Teams should develop a thinking environment and processes that allow for hypothesis development, application design, testing, analytics, and retesting in rapid, parallel, iterative cycles. Read on...
Stanford Social Innovation Review:
Expanding Access to Health Care in India Through Strong Mobile Design
Authors: Aakash Ganju, Sumiti Saharan, Alice Lin Fabiano, Lily W. Lee
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 may 2018
Traditionally, businesses have been using corporate social responsibility (CSR) to contribute to society and tackle social issues through philanthropy, charitable giving, offering employees volunteer time etc. Recently, a letter to shareholders by an influential investor, Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, rekindled the debate around purpose and effectivenesss of CSR. His messages was, 'To achieve their full potential, public and private companies need to do more than simply give of their time and money; they need to find more innovative and impactful ways to contribute to solving the broader challenges in society.' Katie Bouton, Founder and CEO of Koya Leadership Partners, explains the need to better integrate business goals with public purpose and balance financial obligations to shareholders. This can be achieved through 'Purposeful Engagement', a more impactful CSR strategy. Ms. Bouton suggests the key elements to integrate into this new operating strategy - (1) Articulate a Larger Purpose: Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, described their larger purpose as, 'Coffee is what we sell as a product, but it's not the business we're in. We're in the people business.' Steve Jobs, Founder of Apple, often talked about the company's larger mission of making high quality computers available to everyone. (2) Align Business Goals with Social Purpose: Larger purpose should be designed and implemented in a way that is integral to business success. Every employee should be engaged with larger mission. Measurements should be developed for every department and business line. (3) Integrate Resources to Maximize Impact: Lack of coordination and integration wastes resources. CSR efforts are often siloed in differenet departments. All departments should work together for a common purpose. (4) Build a Diverse and Inclusive Team: A McKinsey study showed companies with higher-diversity leadership teams and boards have 30% more success than those that don't. (5) Understand the Future Workforce: Millennials will make up over 50% of the workforce by 2020, according to PwC. Values and purpose are priorities for them. Purposeful Engagement becomes vital to attract and retain the talent for future. Read on...
Beyond CSR - Leading With More Purposeful Engagement
Author: Katie Bouton
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 mar 2018
Corporates often fund nonprofits to fulfil their commitments and responsibilities to the communities they operate in, and also to enhance their brand value and achieve a positive public relations. But, since the funds are limited and there are number of competiting nonprofits, corporates seek best value and return on their giving and investments. Nonprofits have to find ways to differentiate themselves and give an attractive proposition as part of their corporate fundraising effort whether they are considering cause sponsorship, 'pin-up' or point-of-purchase campaigns, corporate volunteering/employee engagement or cause marketing. Chris Baylis, president and CEO of The Sponsorship Collective in Ottawa (Canada), suggests ways to consider for successful corporate fundraising - (1) Corporate partnerships are not just philanthropy. Think beyond the good cause, clearly define your audience and understand the value of your brand. Determine the interest and buying power of your audience. (2) Use your cause to attract (and define) your audience and your audience to define and attract prospects. Use the cause as a valuable link to connect your audience and prospects. (3) Make your value known to the prospects and list every single asset you have to offer. Estimate the cost of similar exposure and services that prospects can avail elsewhere. Understand the value of your audience. (4) Logo placement, although more visible to the public, is just a small component of cause partnership. Think more of real value and outcomes. (5) Share fulfillment report with your partners and how it is tied to their goals. It explains the value they got in return, satisfies internal decision makers, helps in renewal of contract and build long-term partnerships. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 mar 2018
According to the recent report based on PRIME Database, listed Indian companies that total 1019 have spent Rs. 9034 crore in 2017-18 to fund their CSR (Corporate Social Resposibility) projects and activities. Nearly 37% of these funds were used for education and vocational skill training activities. This development area also witnessed the largest absolute increase in allocation of resources and funds. Moreover, the biggest increase was found in activities that support and benefit the armed forces veterans, war widows and their dependents. Other focus areas that saw increased in expenditure were community development, infrastructure, environment sustainability, social welfare, sports, and slum development. But, eradication of hunger and poverty, and promotion of healthcare and sanitation had expenditure decreased by 18.6%, from Rs. 2944 crore to Rs. 2394 crore. Report by KPMG, 'India CSR Reporting Survey 2017', showed that while education and healthcare have been in focus for the past three years, organizations have slowly begun diversifying their area and geography of development in the last one year. Another recent report found the total CSR expenditure figure at Rs. 7050 crores and said that out of India's top 100 firms, 59 met their CSR targets, while 33 companies had an expenditure of less than required 2%. This report also listed educational projects, rural development, and healthcare as the key focus areas of the companies. Read on...
India Inc.'s CSR spend highest on education and skilling - Report
Author: Manav Seth
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 dec 2017
Corporations and businesses are actively involving themselves in social and community development through corporate social responsibility (CSR), philanthropy, nonprofit partnerships, volunteering etc, to create social impact and a better world. Volunteering can play an important role in providing skills that help in building a solid foundation for a successful career. Ebony Frelix, SVP of philanthropy and engagement at Salesforce, says, 'Some of my most memorable character building experiences and important learning moments have come from volunteering. I really do feel that giving back deepens our connections, bringing companies, people and communities together.' During her early career at Salesforce she managed interns from a nonprofit and later on joined Salesforce.org to lead the company's volunteer programs in Americas. She adds, 'The role opened my eyes to the possibility that I could merge my passion for volunteering with my professional career.' Salesforce applies 1-1-1 model for CSR and philanthropic activities. Marc Benioff, founder and CEO of Salesforce, at the time of founding of the company in 1999, set aside 1% of employee time for volunteering, 1% of equity for philanthropic donations, and 1% of products or services to give away to nonprofits. As a result of applying this model, Salesforce has given more than US$ 184 million in grants, 2.5 million hours of community service and provided product donations for more than 33000 nonprofits and higher education institutions. Business, technology and social impact are interconnected. Businesses realize that to do well, they have to participate in doing good. Consumers are now sensitive to ethical aspects of businesses and expect them to align with their values. Cone reports that 87% of Americans will purchase a product because a company advocates for an issue they care about and 76% refuse to purchase a company's products upon learning it supported an issue contrary to their beliefs. Ms. Frelix says, 'I'm excited about the intersection of the nonprofit and technology industries, and seeing innovative systems and products now accessible to nonprofits after traditionally only being available to large corporations.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 nov 2017
Nonprofits have big ideas for social good but limited resources to accomplish them. Nonprofit-corporate partnerships can be a solution to match the vision and commitment of nonprofits with the resources and practices of corporates for making a better world. According to Danielle Silber, director of strategic partnerships at American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), 'Whether it's tackling the Muslim ban or protecting green spaces, nonprofits have products and services that many companies realize they need to create a healthy business environment, and to contribute to a world their stakeholders - employees, investors and customers - want to live in.' Jessica Scadron, founder of Social Harmony, explains ways to make nonprofit-corporate partnerships successful - (1) A Shared Vision: Although companies and nonprofits have different reasons for partnering, both should agree on the partnership's purpose and outcomes. (2) Define the Partnership: Make sure each organization knows who is responsible for what, how decisions will be made, and which organization will lead the project; Appoint individuals to fulfil commitments; Cheryl Damian, SVP of Ketchum Social Purpose, says, 'Partnership terms are negotiated like any other contract. Not only does it drive accountability, it provides a clear understanding of roles and expectations...' (3) Monitor and Evaluate: Measure progress and figure out how to align metrics with disparate entities; Measurement is critical to the success of the project in order to quickly build on what works, learn from what doesn't, and keep momentum. (4) Communicate: Open dialogue will strengthen your collaboration and lead to better outcomes; Establish processes for communicating with your partner, and your internal team; Create a project work plan, schedule weekly check-in calls, and use technology to communicate. (5) Flexibility: Organizations have their own culture and they evolve and grow, and so do partnerships. Be flexibile and accomodating in approach and resolve conflicts with patience and understanding. Read on...
5 Ingredients to Make Your Nonprofit-Corporate Partnership Succeed
Author: Jessica Scadron
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 oct 2017
Social enterprises are businesses driven by the purpose to do social good and work for the uplifment and betterment of society. Business corporations too are creating similar impact through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and often partner with social enterprises. The concept of doing good while making money is becoming mainstream. According to a survey by Rappler, '90% of millennials today value purpose as highly as salary and career progression in choosing their place of work. They prioritize impactful businesses that are sustainable and responsible in conducting their operations.' Thomas Graham, founder of MAD (Make A Difference) Travel and author of 'The Genius of the Poor', explains how a community of social entrepreneurs, 'Gawad Kalinga (GK) Enchanted Farm' in Bulacan (Near Manila, Philippines), is making a difference in the local community and market, what for-profit businesses can learn from their way of working, and provides an example of a growing social enterprise that is part of the system. Even Jean-Philippe Courtois, President of Microsoft International, visited the GK Enchanted Farm, a 42-hectare farm-village-university, not only to give back but also to meet the entrepreneurs there and learn more about how their values-driven approach has been able to make an impression in the market. Mr. Graham says, 'The greater goal of the farm, however, is not to convince everyone to become a social entrepreneur, but to demonstrate that doing business in the spirit of 'walang iwanan' (no one gets left behind) can be beneficial to everyone, no matter how big or small a business is.' Explaining the working model of a social enterprise in the GK farm, 'Plush and Play' (founded by a Frenchman Fabien Courteille), Mr. Graham says, 'Instead of conducting a more conventional business approach, which might involve extensive market research and a strict business model, followed by the importing of skills from elsewhere, Courteille instead spent his time living in the GK village, discovering the aspirations and talents of the community - in this case, sewing - and building a business plan out through unleashing the potential he saw before him.' Mr. Courteille comments, 'I did not choose an industry, but a beneficiary.' There are lessons that are to be learned from the working and progress of social enterprises. Mr. Graham says, 'Of course, 'Plush and Play' still has a long way to go before its volume of sales can compete with other mainstream brands in the Philippines, but there are lessons we can take from Courteille progress thus far. As consumers become increasingly patriotic and socially/environmentally conscious, having a great and authentic story to tell can set you apart, even in the most congested of markets. In this sense, doing good really does make good business sense.' He further explains, 'There are over 40 different social enterprises all at varying stages of growth and development, but what is to learn from them is valuable to any business: hard work, resilience, ingenuity, creativity, innovation, sustainability and taking care of one's employees and environment.' Read on...
Big businesses could learn from social enterprises
Author: Thomas Graham
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 sep 2017
Data can be gold for those who can mine and transform it into a valuable form. Mastercard is giving a new meaning to it and evolving a concept of 'data philanthropy.' Shamina Singh, president of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, explains the idea of data philanthropy and how data can be utilized for social good and social impact. She says, 'The initiative first came up through a partnership with DataKind in the United States. They were set up to galvanize data scientists from around the world and plug them into social impact work. And so a number of our Mastercard data scientists signed up to DataKind programs, and this gave us the opportunity to form a much more lasting and strategic partnership between the organizations. It opened a new conversation about data for good, what it could look like, and who was doing what in this space. It was also around this time that we had the United Nations opening up to data and data initiatives, and companies like Microsoft thinking about data for good.' Explaining some of the elements of data philanthropy Mastercard is focused on, she says, 'One is working with actual Mastercard data and trying to figure out if there are uses with anonymized and aggregated data that will not only respect the rules of the road around privacy, but can be used for research. We first opened our data for use by Harvard University, who approached us with a proposal to use the data to understand how economies grow, with a specific focus on tourism data and understanding how tourism dollars move in a country. Using Mastercard transaction data, we were able to provide new insights into this area...The other area of data philanthropy is around data analytics. What we have found is that many social impact organizations or NGOs do not need Mastercard data at all. Instead, they need to understand their own data, but often don't have the capacity or resources to help themselves. In those instances, we provide either a grant to hire a data scientist, fund an expert consultant, or provide our own data scientists to build their capacity and ability to learn. The inspiration for this element of data philanthropy came from our work with an organization called DoSomething...' Providing information on how Mastercard data scientists are internally looking for insights, she says, 'We started something called the charitable donations insight, and that is something that one of our colleagues is doing where she is using Mastercard data and drawing insights to help nonprofits understand charitable giving. We asked what a spending poll would look like for not-for-profits and social impact organizations, and insights is the first attempt at that...What she realized is that a lot of the not-for-profits have to raise their own funds, but there is not a lot of science behind potentially where and how they should be doing this. So she thought if she could unlock some of the data around the charitable contributions that we know of, she could offer insights to assist them. The other thing we did, which was very interesting, was we created a dataset that organizations could pull down if they want to, and mix it with your own data to self-regulate your own work.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 sep 2017
According to various studies corporate ethics and social responsibility (CSR) are becoming integral to the realm of businesses and corporations. Ethisphere Institute has been compiling list of 'World's Most Ethical Companies' since 2007. Robert Reiss, host of CEO TV Show and co-author of 'The Transformative CEO', interacted with business leaders to discuss the state of business ethics and CSR, particularly emphasizing on the concepts and their meaning, relationship between ethics and responsibility, best practices in building an ethical culture, and insights on measuring ethics. Here are their summarized responses - (1) Dan Amos (Chairman and CEO of Aflac): 'Ethics is a mindset, not an option.' Consumers respond to it in positive way; Ethics is a subset of CSR. Ethical companies will always display strong governance and compliance. Socially responsible companies are ethical but also understand their overall obligation to make the world a better place; Culture begins at the top. Communicate and celebrate responsibility regularly. Don't be partially ethical; Annual scientific CSR survey, work with Ethisphere and Reputation Institute to validate the direction of ethics and CSR programs. (2) Timothy Erblich (CEO of Ethisphere Institute): 'Good Ethics is Good Business.' Financial return of ethics is significant; CSR is a critical component of overall ethics quotient just like governance culture, transparency, customers, gender equality, philanthropy etc. Its all combined to build trust; Empower managers at the local level. Top leadership must be all in. Be committed and focus on integrity. Measure and communicate results. Incorporate culture at all levels and in all activites; Measure through peer-to-peer analysis and networking. Directly engage with employees. Routinely survey employees, customers and stakeholders. Join exclusive networks like the Ethisphere's Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA). (3) Rodney Martin (CEO of Voya Financial): 'Ethics is a reflection of our commitment to doing business the right way. We emphasize trust and transparency.'; CSR includes key aspects of company culture like ethics and transparency, diversity, inclusion and equality, environmental sustainability, governance, and volunteerism and philanthropy; Exemplary leadership is essential. It should be part of the core values. Building ethical culture must be centered on doing the right thing in a safe and open environment; Participate in Ethisphere Institute's annual World's Most Ethical Companies. It enables to benchmark the company with other industry leaders. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 mar 2017
According to the NASSCOM Foundation report, 'Catalysing Change Through CSR', about half of the IT and financial services companies (70) interviewed have spent more than 70% of their CSR in education and employable skills initiatives. Ganesh Natarajan, Chairman of NASSCOM Foundation, says, 'Education and employable skills are the key to most of India's social problems. An industry, which has grown solely by investing into knowledge and key skills, realises the difference a skilled knowledge society can make and therefore, a major chunk of the CSR funds has been dedicated to education and employable skills.' The report finds that companies are placing greater importance on monitoring outcomes by integrating technology. Among the roadblocks cited by most companies was identification, selection and due diligence on NGOs and the absence of robust tracking process. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jan 2017
Creating long-term and sustainable partnerships between businesses and nonprofits, can play a valuable role in tackling social challenges facing communities. Hussein Farah, founder and executive director of New Vision Foundation, explains how nonprofits can build partnerships with corporations and derive benefits from these meaningful relationships for the communities they serve - (1) Have a strong and relevant mission that provides distinctive value to the community and relates to the values of a corporate partner and identifies it as a significant contributor. (2) Leadership of nonprofits should effectively and compellingly communicate the mission to the corporate partner. Strong marketing effort is required that embodies the mission and displays business sense. (3) Nonprofits should create a solid board that assists in dissemination of its value proposition on a peer-to-peer basis. Boards that include corporate members would be more effective in negotiating the terms of partnerships. Moreover, nonprofits must be clear in their expectations from corporate partners, who should beforehand know their resource commitments. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 jan 2017
Building a successful CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) program requires commitment, consistency, continuity and culture within an organization. Claudia Schiepers, Chief Marketing Officer of Greystone and winner of The CMO Club's CSR Award'2016, helped promote a culture-centric curriculum for CSR and shares valuable insights to inspire marketing leaders to develop a successful CSR program in their organizations - (1) Start from the ground up: 'We try to engrain it in everything that we do. I would say start small, test and grow it from within the company...It's all about making suggestions, trying things out and then rolling them out across the organization.' (2) Assemble a top-notch toolbox: 'We gave them a lot of tools. We have employee engagement data that we share with managers, (teaching) them how to have difficult conversations and great conversations. So, it's all about empowering the managers in your company to use the system, having your employees feel like they are involved in it.' (3) Give instruction: Developed a culture book that outlines standards of behavior when it comes to being charitable. 'We say, at Greystone, (caring) means being interested in or concerned about the wellbeing of others. It means that you actively listen, keep an open mind, seek to understand, treat people with respect and kindness. We don't allow yelling. Mentor others, foster other's development, lead by example.' (4) Know that if you build it, they will come: Strikes a balance between good PR and sincerity by publicly commending their local offices' good deeds on social media platforms. 'I think that makes the story more powerful because it is not a corporate driven initiative. We don't do it to get a pat on the back afterwards. I think that's the key for our social responsibility. That is the biggest return on the investment, that we get people that care about other people to join our company.' Read on...
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...
Firms ramp up CSR focus on healthcare, poverty, hunger
Authors: Arundhati Ramanathan, Moyna Manku
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 04 aug 2016
According to Wikipedia, 'Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) became popular in 1960s and is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. CSR policy functions as a self-regulatory mechanism whereby a business monitors and ensures its active compliance with the spirit of the law, ethical standards, and national and international norms.' While BusinessDictionary.com defines CSR as 'A company's sense of responsibility towards the community and environment (both ecological and social) in which it operates. Companies express this citizenship - (1) Through their waste and pollution reduction processes. (2) By contributing educational and social programs. (3) By earning adequate returns on the employed resources.' According to a Global CSR Study conducted by Cone Communications/Ebiquity, 91% of global consumers expect companies to do more than make a profit but also operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues. From integrating a social mission into cross-departmental activities to engaging in sustainability practices, there are myriad ways in which organizations can adopt both a good business and commerce-driven model. A new report from PSFK Labs, 'Impact Debrief', explores how brands can innovate around this decades-old concept of CSR to elevate their social impact and influence. The study provides 5 key ingredients for creating social innovation - (1) Identify And Unite Around A Relevant Social Problem. (2) Promote Cross-Functional Integration. (3) Incentivize And Empower Employees. (4) Create Value By Maximizing Sustainability Efforts. (5) Deliver Transparency. Read on...
The 5 Fundamentals For Corporate Social Innovation
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 mar 2016
Food wastage is becoming a substantial cause of concern around the world. France recently passed laws to restrict throwing away or destroying food and UK's biggest retailer, Tesco, pledging to give all leftover food to charities. According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations website (fao.org) - Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year, approximately 1.3 billion tonnes, gets lost or wasted; Food losses and waste amounts to roughly US$ 680 billion in industrialized countries and US$ 310 billion in developing countries. Governments, food chains and retailers, charitable organizations and social enterprises, need to come together to find ways to restrict and minimize food waste and make substantial part of it available to where it is required most. Following are some valuable suggestions - (1) Logistics: Efficient coordination between supermarkets and charities is essential. Supermarkets shouldn't just dump food at charities. Elaine Montegriffo, CEO of SecondBite, says, 'It is not just having enough trucks and storerooms...Some organisation has to take responsibility for coordinating donations so the right food reaches people in useable condition.' (2) Education: Create awareness about food labels and other specifications among consumers. Ronni Kahn, CEO of OzHarvest, says, 'Consumers need to understand what date marks mean.' (3) Food consumed at home should have minimal losses and consumer buying and eating behaviors need to be transformed. (4) Growing less food: Ms. Montegriffo says it's counterintuitive but if producers and retailers were not throwing away 1/3 of the food produced, the cost of producing it would drop. If supermarkets did not over-order food, their costs would reduce. (5) UK's model of collaborative understanding and commitment, between environment ministry, sumpermarkets, manufacturers and packaging companies has been effective and can be emulated. (6) Denmark's model with an organization buying surplus food from other supermarkets and selling at discount can also be helpful to reduce food waste. (7) Legislative measures can be considered and that should evolve with deliberations among various stakeholders. A number of organizations in Australia, for example retailers like Woolworths and Coles, and charities like OzHarvest, SecondBite and Foodbank, are currently working towards achieving minimal food wastes through the following 6 methods - (1) Reasonable and achievable long-term targets through diverse strategies like food donations, commercial composting, fertiliser, electricity production and animal feed. (2) Using food charities. (3) Buying ugly fruit and selling at cheaper rates. (4) Supermarkets are ordering less by using supply chain technologies and ordering systems. (5) Good incentives: Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt introduced an incentive for businesses to reduce food or garden waste in landfill. (6) Talking about food waste and seeking collaborative solutions through participation from wide array of public and private organizations. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 07 mar 2016
In most organizations, CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) is not a clearly defined strategic activity at the senior executive and top internal stakeholder level, even though a number of them have CSR and sustainability departments. According to a research study by London-based economic and strategy consulting firm, Economic Policy Group (EPG), 71% of companies in the U.S define their CSR spending as in-kind donations and free product giveaways. Another 16% define it as cash donations, and the remaining 13% as employee volunteering and giving. Large organizations often consider investments in social programs as not providing direct returns. One of the most difficult challenge for sustainability teams is to sell embedded CSR and sustainability programs internally to the top executives and senior managers and advocating that isolated initiatives like philanthropy and volunteering are not enough for corporations to be socially responsible. Organizations have to effectively integrate CSR and sustainability into the overall strategy to drive long-term growth and success. Sustainable thinking should be imbibed into corporate culture and strategic thought processes. Jeff Sutton, Vice President of thinkPARALLAX, provides 7 benefits of integrating sustainability into overall business strategy - (1) Increase in sales. (2) Innovate and differentiate. (3) Enhance and build reputation. (4) Future-proofing. (5) Recruit and retain. (6) Cut costs. (7) Unify teams and align decision making. Read on...
Securing Buy-in From the Top - 7 Benefits of Integrated Thinking
Author: Jeff Sutton
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 03 mar 2016
Harvard University academics, Prof. Mark R. Kramer and Prof. Michael E. Porter, introduced the concept of 'Creating Shared Value (CSV)' in HBR (2011), as an approach that takes into account social problems which intersect with businesses and makes it a major part of the core business strategy of a company. In the context of India the approach is much more relevant as it is still struggling with numerous social issues like poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, health etc. The academics feel that Indian businesses are still missing something in their view of long-term sustainabile business models. While speaking at 'Shared Value Summit 2015' in India, Prof. Kramer said, 'You cannot have a successful business in a failing society...for the CSV model to become a part of corporate hygiene anywhere needs major mindset change where we embrace a problem solving approach that goes beyond thinking what we can do in our company alone to also what we can do for society that we operate in.' He further explains that, 'CSV doesn't replace CSR and philanthropy, but can be in addition to them, such that businesses can find new opportunities for competitive advantage by beginning to think about these social issues as part of their overall corporate strategy.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 feb 2016
According to a study by Prof. Sachin Modi of Iowa State University (USA) and Saurabh Mishra of McGill University (Canada), a strong marketing department is crucial to helping a firm leverage its efforts to be socially responsible. Study results show the combination of marketing and CSR can provide shareholders with a 3.5 percent gain in stock returns. Researchers defined CSR as discretionary firm activities aimed at enhancing societal well-being and analyzed six different types of CSR activities - environment, products, diversity, corporate governance, employees and community - to determine whether marketing of these efforts increased long-term firm value and stock price. Firms often consider CSR as a cost and have to make an investment and may not always see the benefits. Prof. Modi says, 'What we want to show is that if a firm is good and has some complimentary capabilities, it can gain a lot from CSR activities...The return is dependent upon the type of activity. Firms benefited from five of the six types of CSR efforts studied, with the exception of charitable giving and philanthropy...We're not saying firms shouldn't give to charity, because it is a very important component, all we're saying is we don't see a financial return.' Prof. Modi further suggests, 'Our hope is that firms see it is important to be socially responsible. It's not a choice of one versus the other. Firms have to do multiple aspects of being socially responsible.' Read on...
ISU News Service:
Marketing key to return on corporate social responsibility investment, ISU study shows
Author: Angie Hunt
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 12 jan 2016
According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics website (bls.gov), 1987 United Nations conference defined sustainable development as, 'Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.' A report from the National Association for Environmental Management describes sustainability as, 'Company's strategies for acting as a responsible corporate citizen, ensuring its operations are financially sustainable and minimizing its environmental footprint. Sustainability initiatives may include natural resource reduction, supply chain management, worker safety and health initiatives, stakeholder engagement and external reporting.' Sustainability professionals are often employed by companies to achieve their goals by ensuring that their business practices are economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable. Sustainability is a diverse field and to pursue right careers requires thorough search starting from CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) or sustainability departments of corporations, nonprofit or social startups, or social impact or social consulting firms. But apart from these usual approaches, Katie Kross (Managing Director of the Center for Energy, Development, and the Global Environment (EDGE) at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business), provides some other out of the box ideas for professionals seeking sustainability careers and want to make social impact - (1) Mission-driven brand manager (2) University sustainability director (3) ESG (Environmental-Social-Governance Investing) portfolio analyst (4) CSR account executive for a creative agency (5) Post-graduate intern at an environmental NGO (6) Foundation program officer. Read on...
6 Sustainability Careers That Haven't Occurred to You Yet
Author: Katie Kross
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 nov 2015
The fast-paced world of fashion and related consumption leads to generation of large amount of waste that leaves a substantial ecological footprint. According to the nonprofit GrowNYC, in the city of New York the average person throws out 46 pounds of clothings and textiles every year (totals 193000 tons for NY). While Council for Textile Recycling found that US generates 25 billion pounds of textile waste per year (82 pounds per person) and estimates that it will increase to 35.4 billion pounds by 2019. But only about 4 billion pounds (15%) gets donated and recycled and the remaining reaches landfills, contributing 5.2% to all trash generated in US. Elizabeth Cline, author of the book "Overdressed: The Shockingly High Price of Cheap Fashion", says 'There is so much waste being created and that has changed really dramatically in the last 15 years with the rise of fast fashion and disposable consumption.' Adam Baruchowitz, CEO of Wearable Collections, which coordinates textile recycling in partnership with GrowNYC, acknowledges the increasing rise in textile waste. While Nate Herman, VP of international trade at American Apparel and Footwear Association, have a contrarian view and explains 'People are actually buying less than they did 10 years. While there has been a lot of press about [wastefulness], the numbers don't bear that out.' But he acknowledges that the industry is trying to effectively handle the clothing's end-of-life issues. Some companies provide small credit to consumers who trade-in used garments, while others donate used clothings to charities. Some companies provide support and contribute to the recycle programs where used textiles end up in producing materials used in other industries like insulation in buildings. Moreover, there are a number of startups that are working to give a second life to used clothings. A small number of fashion companies are also incorporating recycled materials in their new line of clothings. Eco-friendly strategies are considered costly by the industry. According to Jill Dumain, director of environmental strategy at Patagonia, 'It's an industry-wide dilemma, for sure, on how do we do something at scale that the industry can participate in...The end result is that you have smaller-scale production that ends up to be more expensive.' She suggests that awareness about recycling is necessary and at the same time there need to be a thinking among consumers not to treat clothes like a cheap disposable item. Slow fashion might be the way forward. She further explains, 'I do think consumption is a big part. People need to learn how to buy less and companies need to learn how to be profitable in selling less.' Read on...
Is the fast fashion industry ready to change its wasteful ways?
Author: Michael Casey
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 14 oct 2015
According to a recent report by Commonwealth Fund, 'U.S. Health Care from a Global Perspective: Spending, Use of Services, Prices, and Health in 13 Countries', based on data by OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) and other cross-national analyses, the US spent US$ 9086 per person on healthcare in 2013, which corresponds to 17.1% of GDP. This was about 50% more than the second highest spender (France-11.6% of GDP) and almost twice of what UK (8.8%) spent. In US if the patients are unable to pay their healthcare bills, it either becomes a bad debt for the patient or is written off as 'charity-care', adding up to US$ 57 billion in uncompensated care. To study and analyse this aspect of healthcare, researchers from Northwestern University - David Dranove, Craig Garthwaite, and Christopher Ody - as part of The Hamilton Project by Brookings Institution, argue that there is room for efficiency improvement in the charity-care system and the supply and demand for charity care are not geographically inclined. This means that hospitals that have more resources available for charity-care, ones mostly located in high-income areas, are not located in the places where people most need it, i.e. the low-income areas. To rectify this situation, researchers propose a 'floor-and-trade' system, in which all hospitals are required to provide some charity-care to low income patients. One of the researcher, Craig Garthwaite, comments 'As the Affordable Care Act has rearranged the flows of patients to hospitals and decreased the number of uninsured Americans, it's a good time to reconsider how hospitals commit themselves to serving their surrounding communities.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 15 jul 2015
There seems to be lack of commitment by companies regarding the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) rules, that came into effect from 01 April 2014, and were introduced in the new Companies Act of 2013. Only 1/3rd of the top listed companies, from the half of the BSE-30 that have disclosed their CSR spending figures for 2014-15, were able to spend the required, minimum 2% of the profits, on CSR activities in the first year. Those taking their CSR with the proactive approach include RIL, Wipro, ITC, Hindustan Unilever and Mahindra & Mahindra. And the corporates that missed the 2% spending mark include Infosys (marginally), HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, SBI, Dr. Reddy's and Bajaj Auto. The total amount spent by the 15 companies was a little more than Rs 2100 crore. The government in its efforts to improve monitoring of social welfare activities of companies under the companies law has set up a six-member panel and asked it to provide suggestions. According to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs website, members of the panel include - Anil Baijal, Former Secretary of Govt. of India; Prof. Deepak Nayyar, Jawaharlal Nehru University; Onkar S. Kanwar, Chairman & MD of Appollo Tyres; Kiran Karnik, Former President of NASSCOM; Secretary, Department of Public Enterprises; Additional Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Read on...
The Economic Times:
CSR regime begins on disappointing note; two-third companies miss target
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 02 mar 2015
Indian society is facing multiple challenges like high poverty rates, child labor, female foeticide, illiteracy, malnutrition etc. To overcome these issues, considering the substantial population size, requires mobilization of large amount of resources, social innovations, entrepreneurial spirit and commitment from government, private sector and civil society. Philanthropists, alongwith NGOs and local level community and grassroots organizations, are trying to tackle old problems in innovative ways. And there is still large untapped potential that is waiting to be harnessed to make required changes for the betterment of Indian society particularly in the rural and tribal areas. Santanu Mishra, co-founder and executive trustee of Smile Foundation, explains how an initiative by Rajasthan government 'Padharo Mahari Lado' to protect the girl child is bearing fruit due to the collaborative efforts of Department of Health, Barmer, National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), Cairns India Limited and Smile Foundation. According to him, 'When a social innovation is intended through collaboration, it is very necessary that it features a common agenda, unbroken communication, effective measurement systems, and the presence of a core organization.' Read on...
How Indian NGOs are marrying Philanthropy with Social Innovations?
Author: Santanu Mishra
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 jan 2015
Last year India became the first country to pass CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) as a law that requires corporates (Net Worth of Rs 500 crore or more; or Turnover of Rs 1000 crore or more; or Net Profit of Rs 5 crore or more) to compulsorily spend 2% of their net profits on social development annually. Recently PM Narendra Modi made 'Make in India' concept as part of government's policy and program to encourage and boost local manufacturing industry and make it a global hub. There are steps that are expected to be taken by the government to promote skill development among the youth to fulfil this mission. According to National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) the growing skill gap in India is estimated to be more than 250 million workers across various sectors by 2022. NSDC is a public-private partnership (PPP) initiated for skill development. Corporates can support the skill development programs and projects as part of their CSR activities. This collaborative approach will be a win-win for government, businesses and public, as it develops skilled workforce for companies, jobs for the unemployed and thriving economy for the nation. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 dec 2013
CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) phenomenon is finding relevance around the world. In a recently held 'CSR Saudi Arabia 2013 Conference' the main focus was to encourage Saudi business leaders to participate in initiatives to provide youths with employment skills and promote their civic engagement. Saudi Arabia's 65% population is below the age of 25 years and holds the potential to lead the country for a better socio-economic future. The main themes of the conference included job creation, community-based initiatives, gender diversity, and growing a knowledge-based economy. According to Huda Hakki, Programs & Projects Department Director of the King Khalid Foundation, although Saudi Arabia is one of the highest in philanthropy but partnerships and collaborations among various stakeholders ensure effective use of resources to build a vibrant civil society and thriving business and entrepreneurial community. Read on...
Corporate Social Responsibility Takes Center Stage in Saudi Arabia
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 dec 2013
Organizations develop and implement CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) policies and programs based on their own specific approaches. It may include philanthropy, community engagement, environmental sustainability, social sector collaborations etc. Deloitte, a global consulting firm, has Humanitarian Innovation Program that collaborates with social organizations to develop better solutions for the problems they face. The program intends to have a more client-centered approach to CSR and engages these organizations, considering them as their important clients, through an application and consultation process. In this process Deloitte utilizes its private expertise to co-create innovative solutions. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 dec 2013
According to a study by Margaret Ormiston of London Business School and Elaine Wong of University of California at Riverside, for every five cases of good CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) that Fortune 500 CEOs undertake they commit one act of CSiR (Corporate Social Irresponsibility). For their study they considered the 2002 list of Fortune 500 CEOs, obtained detailed background information available through various media, conducted assessment tests like California Adult Q-sort (a forced distributed methodology) and narrowed the list to 49 CEOs for the study. Then they used KDL (Kinder, Lydenberg, Domini) scale to assess CSiR. KDL rates companies in seven qualitative areas from a scale of -2 to +2 on aspects like environmental behavior, community relations, employee relations, corporate governance, diversity, human rights, and product. Researchers suggest that CEOs should always be aware and vigilant of their organization's activities from all aspects and companies should have CSR board or an oversight committee to check on their CEO more frequently. Read on...
Study - How CSR Leads to Corporate Social Irresponsibility
Author: Michael Lewis
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