Industry captains, government officials, representatives from self-help groups (SHGs) and NGOs got together as the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Uttar Pradesh organised the Conference on CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Compliance & Way Forward to create synergies and partnerships between NGOs, corporate houses and government for proper execution of CSR projects and also to help the stakeholder understand the new CSR rules as per the Companies Act 2013. UNICEF was the knowledge partner for the conference.
The Companies Act 2013, which came into effect on 12th September 2013 mandates that all profitable companies with a sizeable business would have to spend every year at least 2 per cent of three-year average profit on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and submit the details of expenditure to the government. While the Companies Act, 2013 has made CSR mandatory for companies, there is a need to look at CSR beyond compliance. CSR is not delineated from business but rather an integral component of responsible business.
To achieve the above, a shift from conventional collaborations to more innovative ones is required. Fostering, creating and supporting institutions linked to health, education and skills development will be the future of teaming society and business towards sustainable value creation.
It is against this, CII Uttar Pradesh organised Conference on CSR Compliance & Way Forward on Wednesday, 21 May 2014 in Lucknow.
The Chief Guest, Padmashree Dr Mansoor Hasan in his address said “Profits are legitimate, profiteering is not. CSR encompasses the fundamental values of life; with the awareness and enthusiasm that I see today I must congratulate corporates for taking this stride”. He further lauded CII for the initiative and hoped that CII will play a larger role in forging a sustainable bond between industry and society.
“The conference today aims to bring out diverse stakeholder viewpoints on CSR in practice and the possible strategies to make CSR effective and oriented towards creating impact in a systematic manner. This will drive the next wave of innovation and productivity growth in the global economy. It will also rejuvenate businesses and its relationship to society. Perhaps most important to all is the learning on how to create shared value in business” said Mr Sachin Agarwal, Chairman, CII UP State Council & MD, PTC Industries Ltd.
Mr Igor Podgurschi, OIC UP, UNICEF said that CSR can have far reaching consequences in the state of UP, as the social parameters in UP need substantial focus, the CSR funds could play a catalytic role in improving these parameters.
Earlier in his keynote address, Mr Sachin Joshi, Director, CII – ITC Center for Sustainable Development, explained how Corporate Sustainability practices are evolving fast, both as a concept and as a business strategy.
Ms Gayatri Subramanian, Convener & Chief Programme Executive, National Foundation for Corporate Social Responsibility (NFCSR), Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, New Delhi explaining the Clause 135 or popularly known as CSR Law of the new Companies Act 2013 said that one of the most revolutionary changes induced by Clause 135 is making CSR the accountability of the board of directors. The structure that the law prescribes would make CSR a serious business operation, CSR is no longer the responsibility of noble professionals in the CSR or sustainability or communication department of companies. The CSR law has interfaces with accounts, compliance, and audit functions of companies.
Ms Subramaniam further shared that 16,358 companies fall within the preview of section 135, involving funds amounting to nearly Rs. 20,000 crores.
“To achieve social equilibrium in the society, it is highly imperative that Industry comes forward and collaborates with government in the key areas of health, education, skills upgradation, Aid / employment opportunities to Persons with Disabilities (PwD) and participates actively in various social welfare schemes and urban development measures as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)”, emphasized Mr Chhitiz Kumar, Senior Director (Country Head), Philips Healthcare.
“While the Companies Act, 2013 has made CSR mandatory for companies, there is a need to look at CSR beyond compliance also. CSR is not delineated from business but rather an integral component of responsible business.” said Mr Sameer Gupta, Vice Chairman, CII UP State Council and MD, Jackson Power Solutions.
The conference included focused panel discussion on ‘How to align CSR activities to business ideology’, ‘Understanding CSR as per the Companies Act 2013’ and ‘The way forward - Government and Private sector partnerships across sectors’.
The panel discussions were addressed by some prominent experts including Mr Manpreet Singh, Associate Director, KPMG; Mr Atul Kumar, Communication Specialist, UNICEF; Prof K K Bhagat, Xavier Institute of Social Service; Mr Rajesh Waghmare, CEO, GVK EMRI (UP); Ms Kimberly Mcarthur, CSR Head, Yash Papers Ltd; Dr Arvind Mohan, Consultant, World Bank; Mr Vimal Srivastava, Manager – CSR, Tata Motors Ltd amongst others.
The conference was an effort by CII to help businesses develop a common perspective and approaches on undertaking CSR initiatives within this broader context of corporate governance. The sessions focused on the necessary elements of CSR and help corporates understand, adopt, implement and measure their programs so that better connect can be created between the businesses and communities.
For more information, please visit event website www.cii.in