Sterling 25 “CSR leaders of India | 2017

 CSRTree.in & CSR Times Magazine

 “Sterling 25 CSR leaders of India”

 

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley found time in the middle of a packed trip to Punjab recently, to reiterate the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR). “There are villages which have seen a bulb and a toilet for the first time,” he said at a function in Ludhiana on 15 July 2017. “We target to electrify all the villages by 2018. I appeal to all the corporate house, industries and businessmen to spare 2 per cent of their profits for social work and help us in making India developed.” CSR Rules came into effect three years ago on 1 April 2014.

According to Section 135 of the new Companies Act, 2013, companies that had annual revenue exceeding Rs1,000 crore, or market capitalisation of Rs500 crore, or profit of Rs5 crore or more per annum had to contribute at least 2% of their profit as CSR. The Rules also clearly outline fields where companies could make their CSR contributions. In October 2014, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) expanded the list to include contributions to Swachch Bharat Kosh and Clean Ganga Fund under CSR. The uptake of CSR programmes by corporates over the last three years has been encouraging. Data show that expenditure on CSR has been growing consistently since 2014.According to an assessment on the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) website, the cumulative spend on CSR by 5,097 companies exceeded Rs9,800 crore in 2015-16, the latest period for which data are available on the MCA website, compared with Rs8,803 crore in the previous year. To put this in perspective, Rs9,800 crore exceeds the money that the Unique Identification Authority of India has spent over eight years to issue 116 crore Aadhaar numbers. What is new, and even more encouraging, is that increasingly CSR leaders are talking about ways to devise CSR strategy that is aligned with their core business. Not just contributing to CSR as a matter of compliance.

This list of 25 is not a ranking of CSR leaders, but an attempt to recognise leading thinkers of  CSR Community in India.

Mamta Saikia

Mamta Saikia

COO, Bharti Foundation

“The Companies Act is well crafted; the CSR clause urges corporates to go beyond the spirit of the Act and I believe corporate houses and NGOs will find the space within the Act to support projects to bring about a substantial social change. Corporates today can play a huge role in strengthening the capacity of the NGOs, governance through knowledge sharing, technical partnerships much like business incubators that we see today”

 

 


Deepak Arora

 Deepak Arora

Chief Executive Officer, Essar Foundation

“CSR in India is in a welcome phase of transition, where gradually but surely, the need for greater strategic planning and deployment of CSR professionals from the non-profit sector is being felt. In the coming times, we would see more CSR entities working on initiatives with consultative design, measurable results and significant room for experimentation. Future development in the sector requires treating CSR as a social investment, instead of a cost centre. Substantial change requires focus on the process and long-term targets while ensuring delivery is in the intended direction.”


Shubha Sekhar

Shubha Sekhar 

Director & Head CSR & Sustainability Coca-Cola India & South West Asia

“When business managers make business related investments, there is a rigor around the returns and a KPI focus, which is lacking in CSR spends. It is imperative for companies to come forward for cross-sector collaboration and progress towards a shared goal. It is desirable that companies and stakeholders collectively find appropriate local solutions that are equitable, scalable and sustainable. The ecosystem of CSR in India should evolve from a mere individual corporate responsibility and mandate to collectively creating sustainable social impact and shared value.”

 

 


Kumar Anurag Pratap

Kumar Anurag Pratap

CSR Leader,  Capgemini Technology Sevices India Limited,

“The key for all corporates to maximize return from their CSR investment would be in drastic transformation from “sporadically investing resources here or there, leaving no significant impact behind” to formulating projects with identified outcomes and systems for measuring progress and results. While embarking on this journey, we must recognize that we do not just bring resources but also capacities and skills that enable all the stakeholders to spearhead social change in ways that are beyond the reach of both governmental and social sector organizations alone.”


Juhi Gupta

Juhi Gupta 

Head Sustainability,  PepsiCo India.

“The corporates bring in much more than just funds, to the evolving space of CSR – they bring in expertise, experience and commitment from their most senior leadership, with the Board of Directors involved intrinsically with the CSR project execution and implementation. The strategic involvement ensures tighter monitoring and execution of the CSR programmes with more measurable an impactful outcomes for the communities. The corporates want to channelize the money in a more responsible and sustainable manner than just pure philanthropy.”

 

 


 

Mohini Daljeet Singh

Mohini Daljeet Singh 

 Founder CEO,  Max India Foundation

“CSR in India today is like a young, healthy child who has found its feet, taking small baby steps and exploring in different directions. Much has been achieved: some companies have realized the crying need of inclusive development and have experienced success and made improvement through their CSR initiatives. However, this is the tip of the iceberg; much has to be done.”

 

 


Dr. Loveleen Kacker

Dr. Loveleen Kacker

CEO -Tech Mahindra Foundation

“ The legislation on CSR has brought together different stakeholders like the government, corporates and civil society on a common platform to deal with some issues that India is struggling with. Areas where efforts are beginning to show results are skilling and Swachh Bharat Mission. The government has resources on a very large scale, while corporates excel at creating models and processes that are efficient, scalable and deliver results. This partnership between government, corporates and NGOs is helping shape a better society.”

 


Col Prakash Tewari ( Retd)

Col Prakash Tewari ( Retd)

Executive Director, CSR DLF Ltd

“I feel most of the corporates do responsive CSR from branding/ protection/ sustainability/ reputation perspective. All these approaches address only the conflict between the business and the community. In future, the CSR will be done from an impact perspective which would be intersection between the expectations of the community from the businesses and vice versa and thus CSR will move from a responsive to a strategic/ competitive phase.”

 


 

Navdeep Singh Mehram

Navdeep Singh Mehram

Head Sustainability,  Diageo India

“In India, we have seen CSR evolving rapidly and progressive companies adopting strategic CSR policies and practices which also contribute to the larger purpose of nation building. CSR has also gained legitimacy in its new avatar of being a mandate from a voluntary activity. The future of CSR in India holds lots of opportunities to make definite contribution both in nation building and reputation building. India also offers an opportunity to pilot test few concepts and models which can be replicated to other emerging markets globally.”

 


Ashish Sahay

Ashish Sahay

Head CSR (India), HP

“CSR by the virtue of its coined appellation has been accepted as mere an over-the-above obligation by the corporates since the time it was finally enforced with the rules on April 2014. Companies today are turning their attention away from looking at CSR as mainly a public relations opportunity, and thinking about how CSR can contribute to transformative innovations for not just the company but also the sector. CSR is becoming a route through which businesses can help solve pressing societal problems, and we are re-imagining business as mission-driven.”


Rinika Grover

Rinika Grover

Head – Corporate Social Responsibility – Apollo Tyres

“With India ratifying the Paris accord in 2016, the role of CSR gains more relevance. The CSR arm of the business will no longer be a silo operation whose remit is to ensure mandatory spend. With increasing emphasis on monitoring, CSR initiatives or projects will need to have a more sustainable life cycle. The law is still at a nascent stage. Some more concrete reforms will ensure that CSR is not just about a tick box exercise but is fully integrated in the system.”

 


Akansha Pradhan

Akansha Pradhan

Head Corporate Communications and Responsibility,  DHL Express India (part of Deutsche Post DHL)

“Great CSR is not measured by budgets. Today, companies have a brilliant opportunity to build business strategies on the principles of shared value and integrate CSR. We need leaders across the board to showcase that authentic effort to work with communities helps to build scalable, profitable and sustainable businesses. I expect that as awareness grows, CSR will keep evolving and hopefully we will see more open dialogues within the sector, specialists and governing bodies, raising the bar for all of us.”

 


 

PV, NARAYANAN

PV, NARAYANAN 

CSR Leader – South Asia,  GE India

“Reports show that there has been substantial growth in CSR spending since the Companies Act came into force. However, at a strategic level, issues such as fair trade, supply chain, human rights, regulations on land acquisition and rehabilitation, environment and energy related issues have also played a pivotal role, building a strong business case for CSR. There are several CSR initiatives that are directly in convergence with government policies. There is no doubt that business both through their CSR initiatives as well as the corporate strategy will remain a key stakeholder in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals or in making a success of the Paris Agreement.”


 

Brigadier (Retd) Rajiv Williams

Brigadier (Retd) Rajiv Williams

CSR Head, Jindal Stainless Limited Group of companies

“CSR in India as understood by a large number of corporations is all about ‘numbers and spend’ rather than on ‘quality and investment’. CSR must be strategic and contribute toward a ‘just society’, where quality should replace quantity. Such CSR initiatives after assessing community needs, will lend toward impacting communities in a ‘positive and responsible’ manner with philanthropic models being replaced by sustainable models. It is in ‘beyond business’ activities built on the pillars of mutual ‘respect’ and ‘trust’ that will directly impact the third ‘P’ of CSR ‘Profit’.”

 


Dr Lopamudra Priyadarshini

Dr Lopamudra Priyadarshini

 Head CSR Sonalika Group -International Tractors Limited

“Since the act came into place in 2014, most of the corporates have streamlined their CSR activities and made it more structural while focusing on sustainable practices. With few more efforts from corporate as well as from every individual there is a lot which we can do for the betterment of the society. Everyone has to be sensitized with the social issues and should take stronger steps to empower the society in order to build a stronger and a sustainable ecosystem everywhere.”


Nishant Pandey

Nishant Pandey

Country Director, American India Foundation

“In the history of humanity, the corporate sector has never had so much resources, influence and promise to make a positive difference to the society. If channeled properly, these attributes can make a sustainable and long-term impact in the lives of ordinary people, nations and the global community at large.”

 

 


Dr. Y. Suresh Reddy

Dr. Y. Suresh Reddy

Director, SRF Foundation

“CSR is a good move for companies to go beyond their regular businesses. It has helped the businesses and the society to grow together. CSR should not be seen as expenditure or money flow from the company’s end but as an investment for developing innovative solutions to address critical human development issues. After the Companies Act, 2013, it has significantly evolved with more companies coming forward with innovative, sustainable, scalable and effective initiatives by applying thought, expertise and the best technology that they can offer.”

 


Aditya Patwardhan

Aditya Patwardhan

Head – Sustainability and CSR,  HCC Ltd

“Amendment in the Companies Act has shifted the CSR from philanthropy to compliance. The step ahead is the need to understand that corporate social responsibility is not a cost centre but a development tool by way of including the stakeholders. Strategically responding to the social calls will enhance the brand image and will create an enabling environment among the industry and the stakeholders. The outcome will certainly be elevated profits.”

 

 


Upendra Sontakke

Upendra Sontakke

Head-CSR, (KMCT)

“Many companies are moving towards creating sustainable growth models in different ways. Companies are taking longterm projects and not just charity. The future will see more and more companies building deeper CSR strategies which will seek to external impact and not just mitigate internal impacts. Companies will be able to prioritise the issue or problem they want to work on through CSR. In coming days, CSR and sustainability will have greater impact on social and economic development of rural India.”

 


 

Vishal Bhardwaj

Vishal Bhardwaj 

Deputy Executive Director and Group Head, CSR,  Dalmia Bharat Limited.

“I have had the privilege to witness the transformation of CSR from being philanthropic to more of being strategic to businesses. To my mind that’s a very welcome shift. Before 2014, there weren’t many Boardrooms where CSR was listed amongst other business agendas, except for a few where it was passionately driven from the top. This now happens in a very large number of companies. With CSR roadmaps being integrated into the strategic blueprints of the companies, we are surely going to see some serious, innovative and impactful CSR initiatives in future.”

 


Dr Meenu Bhambhani 

Head – Corporate Social Responsibility -Mphasis

“There is a momentum both in terms of the quantum of amount spent and the number of companies spending on CSR. While the focus of a large number of companies continues to remain on education and healthcare, there also seems to be a focus on innovative practices and visibility of efforts. In the future, I see a trend moving towards creating impact at scale through incubation of social enterprises. A significant effort will also be invested in measuring and assessing impact of the money spent.”


 

Dr K.K. Updhyay

Dr K.K. Updhyay

Advisor,  National Skills Foundation of India

“The new CSR law has made a big change, companies are integrating and internalizing CSR into their core business operations. A number of companies have done exemplary work in the area of CSR. The seed for undertaking socially-responsible initiatives have already been sown amongst the business enterprises.”

 

 


 

VIVEK PRAKASH

VIVEK PRAKASH

Corporate Social Responsibility, Jubilant Life Sciences

“The CSR sector is still in the nascent stage, and most of the companies are just managing CSR while actual spirit of the Act was to ingrain the CSR into the DNA of the company so that the companies should consider society/community as an important stakeholder of the business and adopt CSR as part of the regular business activities. Many new companies have started reporting on CSR. Within next couple of years more companies will come into the purview of CSR and will start implementing CSR.”

 


Praveen Karn 

Head Group CSR at Spark Minda

“The journey so far looks credible. Education and skill development is the choice for approximately 50 per cent companies, which is a national agenda of drive also. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Projects in line to supplement SDGs and government programmes should be implemented as per the need of the geography and community. Networking, partnership, pooling of resources, application of good practices, joining hands for innovation and scale, leveraging strength and attaining sustainability are the keys of success in CSR.”

 


Meenakshi Shahi

Meenakshi Shahi 

Chief Project Manager of National Super 100

“The Corporate Social Responsibility in India is yet to mature. Barring a big public sector enterprises that too big ones and a few private sector middle level organisations, companies are yet to make it part of the organisation. For many, largely private companies, it is a show business.”

 

 

 


In the process of putting this list together,  the editors have also tried to show the pulse of the CSR landscape today. Each profile contains an insight by the featured CSR leader on some of the most pressing issues facing CSR today. From identifying a strategy that marries CSR to the core business, to finding the right implementation partners.

You can also write to us content@csrtree.in