Importance of CSR Initiatives and Ways to Ideate Them

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Anju Kanodia

We are familiar with the saying, “Every little bit helps”. Any contribution to a cause, collection or undertaking can be useful. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) gives Corporations the ideal platform to initiate that on a larger scale. But I digress. The goal here is not to define CSR but to dive into what it could do and why we (Corporations) should be at the forefront of improving people’s lives, not as a publicity stunt, but because it is the right thing to do.

Successful businesses are not just ones that grow their revenues annually and boast large profits; instead, what they do with it matters. Reinvesting in society and finding solutions to everyday problems thoughtfully and practically have more impact in the long run.

Some people believe that businesses and corporations are all about the bottom line, but kindness is the key element of any good business plan. If anything, companies in 2022 should emphasise trust, honesty, integrity, and respect as part of their core business platform. These are principles expected from individuals, but we expect the same from companies in the greater scheme of things. 

In my opinion, successful businesses are not just ones that grow their revenues annually and boast large profits; instead, what they do with it matters. Reinvesting in society and finding solutions to everyday problems thoughtfully and practically have more impact in the long run.

Some businesses do not believe kindness should be at the core of what they do, nor do they get involved in their communities by giving back. They are dead wrong. It is no longer an option for them but a requirement. It should be prioritised across multiple projects if possible. I believe that human beings have a moral obligation to help their fellow men. Corporations should have the same moral code and create an impact wherever they can.

Millennials demand more in 2022, and one would be amiss to believe that employees do not expect the same of Corporations. In a survey by the Harvard Business School in 2021, 41 per cent of millennial investors put a significant amount of effort into understanding a company’s CSR practices, compared to just 27 per cent of Gen X and 16 per cent of Baby Boomers. In another survey, a further 88 per cent believe it is no longer acceptable for companies to make money at the expense of society. 

Before 2013, there were no specific provisions of Corporate Social Responsibility under the Companies Act. But now, more and more companies realise that CSR could benefit their business in more ways than one. According to The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, “Corporate Social Responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families and the local community and society at large.” With that in mind, companies have begun to make giving the centrepiece of their business policies instead of it being an addition. 

Here at Lumina Datamatics, we realised what that impact could be. Our activities focus on employability, education and training, health, and the environment. The policy of the company aims to accomplish the following: 

  • To promote employment-enhancing vocational and skill training to make the unprivileged job-ready 
  • To promote and encourage education and gaining of knowledge 
  • To work on solving the hunger problem and ensuring basic access to hygiene, sanitation, and healthcare facilities for all 
  • To provide financial assistance to the economically weaker sections to access good-quality healthcare 
  • To work on solving environmental issues and promote sustainability and ecological balance 

What do corporations gain by going down the CSR route? 

The answers are multiple and infinite, and there is no shortage of reasons why corporations should do it, besides it being the most humane thing to do. For the most part, corporations can foster a sense of community, which translates into employees believing they are a part of a thing more significant than themselves. Another fascinating point is that companies that become heavily involved in CSR show another side to themselves with their displays of compassion towards the public. It demonstrates to possible future employees that this company could be a good fit for them. In a sense, the hope is that its employees pay it forward. Moreover, a positive work environment is another highlight that arises from such actions. 

Millennials demand more in 2022, and one would be amiss to believe that employees do not expect the same of Corporations. In a survey by the Harvard Business School in 2021, 41 per cent of millennial investors put a significant amount of effort into understanding a company’s CSR practices, compared to just 27 per cent of Gen X and 16 per cent of Baby Boomers. In another survey, a further 88 per cent believe it is no longer acceptable for companies to make money at the expense of society. 

So, it is safe to say that youth today, and probably, future generations, expect more from companies to help society instead of just making a profit. 

It is an opportunity to give back in the best possible way and show quantifiable results. Speaking of results, future investors will see the fruits of these endeavours as reasons to invest in your business. According to a 2016 report by Aflac, investors do not view investments in CSR as a waste of money but rather as an indicator of a corporate culture less likely to produce expensive missteps like financial fraud. The study said 61 per cent of investors consider CSR a sign of “ethical corporate behaviour, which reduces investment risk.”

Organisations can no longer function only on incurring profits. Service is key to long-term growth – the growth of not one but many. Mahatma Gandhi observed said that the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. I believe that human beings have an obligation to that premise in more ways than one.

We at Lumina Datamatics invest heavily in giving back wherever we can. Here is a look at recent successful CSR activities undertaken by us.  

The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most significant events in recent times. The Wockhardt Hospital was at the frontline of Mumbai’s fight against the deadly virus. The COVID-19 Care Centre saw many patients from economically weaker sections having difficulties even accessing the basic protection needed against the disease. Realising this, our Committee at Lumina Datamatics decided to donate masks and PPE kits to the needy and the healthcare workers at the hospital. Accordingly, we donated about 5000 N95 masks and 3,500 DRDO-approved complete PPE kits.

In another initiative, we went one step further. Along with the Aaruthal Foundation, we provided General Duty Assistants (GDAs) training to women from economically weaker sections of society in Tamil Nadu. This rendered them qualified to support nurses and patients with primary care at healthcare institutions. It aimed to provide sustainable employment and improve the living standards of the participants.  

In conclusion, organisations can no longer function only on incurring profits. Service is key to long-term growth in the growth of not one but many. Mahatma Gandhi observed, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” I believe that human beings have an obligation to that premise in more ways than one.

We can do more, and we should do more. Corporations are not always going to get it right, but every effort yields rewards, and that is worth striving for.  

Anju Kanodia is the Executive Director of Lumina Datamatics Limited, one of the largest service providers and trusted partners for global publishers and eCommerce companies. She is currently the Business Head at Wakency, India’s first on-demand platform for flexible work opportunities, a venture by the Datamatics Group. She is a finance management professional and is skilled in Business Planning. Her entrepreneurship skills, management strategies, and in-depth knowledge about IPO and financial management make her the pillar of Lumina Datamatics.