Pitney Bowes is a US-based e-Commerce solutions company listed on Nasdaq. The company works towards facilitating data and digital/physical transactions for its client. Manish Chaudhary, Senior VP Global R&D and Managing Director India, Pitney Bowes talks to The CSR Journal about the CSR mandate and its implications.
What are the different Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities of Pitney Bowes?
We primarily run five strategic CSR programs in India.
- Employee Volunteering Programs:a)JORAD (Just One Rupee A Day) – This is an ongoing collection drive by and for employees who donate a rupee every day towards food and items for orphanages and elderly homes.b)We partner with NGOs who work towards empowerment and education by hosting events, exhibitions that would drive their cause forward. These included NGOs such as Parichay, Manthan, Antarkranti and Antardrishti.
- Project Dhaarna – A program aimed at identifying specific development paths for women while simultaneously engaging men in gender conversations.
- Pitney Bowes Code Inspire – A national software coding challenge attracted participation from more than 3,000 women engineering graduates from 180 universities. Upon conclusion, five women were offered positions at Pitney Bowes.
- Association with ETASHA India– We partner with ETASHA for supporting employability and vocational skills to disadvantaged Indian youth.
- PB Start-up Accelerator Program: This program is dedicated to providing mentorship, access to venture funds and networking opportunities to innovative start-ups.
- We run an annual Employee Giving campaign where employees, including those in India, donate funds/leaves voluntarily. The Pitney Bowes Foundation matches the collected donations, doubling the total amount that is sent for charity.
What is your opinion on the CSR mandate compelling companies to spend 2% of their profits on social activities?
CSR is not a new concept for Indian corporations. However, it has come a long way with the new law playing an important role in increasing CSR spends. CSR strategies are now evolving to become core to business models and company values in India Inc. Companies are now coming up with planned initiatives of partnering with local communities to create shared value for community, business and society.
When executing social initiatives how different are the challenges in India compared to the global counterparts?
Many local NGOs have a dearth of trained and efficient staff that can effectively contribute to ongoing CSR activities initiated by companies. This sometimes causes programs to fizzle out, and employees to lose interest.
Are you able to spend 2% of profits for CSR activities? How many people are benefited through your programmes?
In 2015-16, Pitney Bowes’ social responsibility initiatives impacted 20,000 lives across India. Yes, we spend the mandated funds annually.
PB was recently named one of the best IT companies to work in India. Do you think there is any relation between being socially active and employee satisfaction?
Yes, I think our employees take pride in the fact that as a company we help improving the well-being of our communities.
What is your view on the current CSR landscape in India?
Corporate Social Responsibility should be a part of the DNA of any organisation. CSR priorities, however, need to tilt towards quality rather than quantity. There also needs to be more strategic partnerships between the government, corporate houses and NGOs on issues like ensuring employability, women empowerment and product innovation.
Thank you for reading the interview until the very end. We appreciate the time you have given us. In addition, your thoughts and inputs will genuinely make a difference to us. Please do drop in a line and help us do better.
The CSR Journal Team