CSRidentity
 
2% issue : Are Corporates Ready ?
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Are Corporates ready for the 2% CSR Budget
CSRidentity.com has analysed CSR in top 500 companies in India and is further looking at 500 more companies. Our teams have often entered into dialogue with companies and feel that corporates need to look at several issues at the same time, quickly.

1 Corporates need to get out of the mentality of equating CSR with philanthropy.

2 Corporates must look at CSR in Business processes, People & Planet policies, Regulations & compliances etc.
Not many of Indian companies have capacity to thing 360 Degree CSR.

3 CSR Reporting. While corporates take great pride in their ability to communicate, Indian companies need to report their CSR to key stakeholders. e.g. From 2001 to 2013, our teams have hardly seen CSR heads talking about CSR reporting to investors or engaging investors in CSR.

4 Transparency : While corporates expect NGOs to share their funding sources and want them to give the funds utilisation, corporates themselves have failed to share the numbers, not to NGOs but even to investors. e.g. even some companies which think they have the most talented pool, or those who take pride in their transparency and governance policies fail to share their CSR spends to invstors - and the weaker argument is the fact that the government has not made it mandatory.

5 CSR teams dont usually have understanding of the overall Social, Environmental & Economic canvas of India.
This means the CSR investments are usually decided by the headquarter feelings and not the need of the community locally.
For larger companies, these issues of community will of course be the national issues or even nation building issues.

6 While companies talk about thinking global and acting local, most of the MNCs follow the issues supported by global head quarters and not local issues.

7 Ability to enter into a dialogue with the communities first hand. Infact, most of the CSR meet communities as donors or guests. And most of the times, they meet the brighter lot rather than meeting the community person or the last person (very very needful person) in the community!!!!

8 Inability of corporates to partner with the government and funding agencies.
Corporates must understand that governments have a much larger role (think & implement) and it is not right to just do PR with the government. Its important to support government's positive thinking to help communities which are citizens of that country.
Manytimes, corporates do not partner with funding agencies which have substantial financial outlays.
Instead of just money, corporates must bring management skills, soft skills and professional monitoring, do audit and MIS in the partnership, so that the value of the intervention and the impact on the community will be enhanced. CSRidentity.com will help corporates in this aspect. (See core competency based volunteering)

9 Corporates have themselves not measured the impact of work. Most often it is left to the NGOs to share the numbers. And in some other cases, external evaluators - who usually have NGO background do the job. Part of the problem also lies in the fact that if corporates hire professionals from consulting companies, then the cost of impact analysis is much higher and it almost becomes a burden on the cost of the project.

10 Corporates usually spread their budgets too thin to ensure that they have some presence in all the geographies where they have employees or customers.

11 CSR departments have little knowledge of local canvas - be it at branch level or factory level. And the brand heads / factory heads have no knowledge of CSR decision making. This often results in CSR as donations rather than CSR as societal investments.

13 Ability to focus attention on difficult districts - most of the corporates want their philanthropic initiatives in areas where they have employee presence, indicating that their employees would volunteer.
The first point against this argument is that our research indicates that hardly do employees volunteer. And some employees are regular volunteers and the activities may not be same as the activities company suggests.
The second point is that this will always mean that difficult districts like those in Orissa, Bihar, UP, Jammu & Kashmir, North East will hardly get the benefit of additional CSR budgets.

14 Ability to inspire volunteers to build capacity of partner NGOs, as well as donate to partner NGOs through Pay Roll Giving, thus living corporates to invest in difficult areas.

15 The limited team size makes corporates more of cheque book philanthropists and not social investors, where the investments are tracked and there is constant value addition

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