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January 23, 2011 / subramanyam

Changing face of CSR


it's about measuring as well          When Narsing Rao (the coordinator of Mahindra Satyam Foundation) invited me as a special invitee to a volunteer meet, I thought I would be sharing some of my experiences as a volunteer with the new joinees, but as it turned out, I ended up learning new things about the CSR activities we do.

          Our Foundation head told that we would have metrics in CSR activities from here on. I was pleasantly surprised when I heard it. The companies have now begun to realize that distributing ,books ,chocolates ,shoes  and asking volunteers to visit orphanages is having impact but that is not making a tangible impact on society . The call now is for a more coherent and planned activity. Almost all companies have invested in CSR and now they are interested in getting tangible results.                     

          “Metrics” in community service seem strange to me but they are here to stay, the companies have realized that sending volunteers once a week distributing food, chocolates, gifts etc… is making an impact but that is not really driving the social transformation. Now they want to channelize the energies and build structures that help the society in the long run. This change needs to be appreciated and the new outlook should be welcomed.

           In the days to come , the corporate companies are going to do filed research , identify problems in the society, draw up plans, set goals (with time limit) , come out with mission and vision statements , share these targets with the volunteers and get the work done. Not that they were not  doing all these things till now , but now on there will be third parties to assess the work done.Now ,isn’t this interesting??

          The very definition of Corporate Social Responsibility is changing these days, the focus has shifted from “social/society/community” to an all-encompassing big word called “Sustainability” the companies which used to publish their CSR reports all these days are now being asked to publish their “Sustainability reports”. ”. Sustainability reports can be used to demonstrate organizational commitment to sustainable development, to compare organizational performance over time, and to measure organizational performance with respect to laws, norms, standards and voluntary initiatives. The current international norm they are using here is the GRI –G3. 

          You can get more details on GRI  here . http://www.globalreporting.org/Home 

          So we‘ll be seeing a new social transformation in the days to come. I’m happy as I am going to be a  part of it.

the pic is from http://www.csrideaz.com

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