Over the course of post-Independence India’s corporate life span, the contribution of corporate firms’ to societal improvement has had tremendous change in its form. It has grown from being corporate philanthropy or donation and charity, to strategic corporate social responsibility (CSR) that benefits the firms as well. CSR has gained even greater momentum since India’s ratification of the Paris Accord in 2016 giving sustainable development a large amount of significance in the country’s international standing in terms of fulfilling Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations.
Firms have become very pro-active in aversion of risks associated with being scrutinized for environmental negligence, wastage, etc. and so are consciously taking efforts not just in taking up environmental-friendly operational methods, but allow CSR in high capacity. Increased awareness about their duty towards society has encouraged firms to seriously take up sustainable projects aligned with their business. This is not only to meet the now legalized requirements of CSR for firms, but also to use these programs in order to build a sense of association amongst employees and an increased goodwill within the market. Firms have realized how, in the long run, striving towards sustainable development is beneficial to their continuous operation and contributing towards sustainable development is beneficial to their market standing. Specialized departments are being made and budgets out of profits are being allotted by firms in order to optimize their profits by taking up impactful and well-thought out projects for the betterment of society. CSR in India has become integral in undertaking social upliftment programs in areas where the government might be falling short.
Certain trends are flowing throughout the social issues radar. With Prime Minister Modi’s campaign of “Swachh Bharat” emphasizing the importance of cleanliness and hygiene, firms are swiftly taking this up as one of the centerpieces of their CSR projects, conducting cleanliness drives, hygiene camps and sanitation awareness camps. They are also incorporating waste minimization and resource efficiency in their functioning in order to ensure sustainability. Given that India is a nation where access to resources like water is not absolute in all areas, firms are also working on creating this access through building of irrigation facilities, improving access by building hand-pumps and educating people on the judicious use and conservation of water. Switching to renewable energy is also a probable focus in the near future. These trends highlight the idea that CSR has evolved from mere philanthropy to well-strategized, mutually beneficial projects by the firms for the society.
SEED has also grown with these changing trends in CSR. Conceived in 2006, we have been in the social responsibility field much before it was a mandated corporate requirement. Working towards sustainable development and betterment of standards of living in rural and urban backward areas, we have a strong grass-root presence and a wide geographical presence in the country, in 17 states. Our work involves taking up CSR initiatives after a detailed baseline studies, etc. on behalf of firms, ensuring an end-to-end service where developmental projects are followed-up to ensure their effectiveness. Striving to tackle challenges such as bringing quality healthcare, education, skill-development, environmental sustainability, women empowerment, sanitation and hygiene, family planning, access to water, etc., SEED has a number of committed individuals planning the activities to be undertaken for the implementation of well-rounded projects. We are working with major companies like ACC, Sony, DHFL, TechnipFMC, Endopharma, etc. amongst many others. In agreement of the need of programs like Swachh Bharat and Skill India, we run regular cleanliness drives and organize skill enhancement programs in our project villages since the effectiveness of CSR thrives on the ever-evolving need trends of society.
We aim to sensitize people about betterment in their quality of life, educate them about the developmental projects conducted for them and how to use them. We believe those only continuous, informed, collaborative efforts by firms, the people and the government can lead India to the status of being sustainably developed nation with an excellent standard of living.