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Reconnoitring The Interface of CSR and The SDGs, Building A Sustainable Society

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CSR and SDG
 
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are intertwined, just like two strands of the DNA. CSR was mainly understood to be a philanthropic social engagement by organizations, encompassing a company’s charitable contributions whereas sustainable development is an effective way of building a resilient society, making technology to the best use of social welfare aimed at enhancing the environmental and economic values of citizens.
With our planet facing considerable economic, social, and environmental challenges, companies can’t compromise the future without addressing the issues to protect the business milieu in which they operate. Sustainability plays an integral role in offering a comprehensive approach to the management of organizations that is focused on creating and maximizing long-term social, environmental, and economic values. Thus, this has paved the way for efficaciously integrating CSR with sustainable development, and now includes sustainability and responsibility as two complementary and key elements of CSR.
CSR and SDGs approaches have become an integral part of the economic concepts used by businesses, to ensure harmony between social progress, natural resource reserves, and economic growth. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) define global priorities for 2030 and represent an opportunity to put the world on a progressive sustainable path. Whereas CSR is a methodology that seeks to systematically integrate the economic, environmental, and social impact of business into the management of the business, with the vision to create a better future. While CSR is more skewed towards the betterment of society and involves a contributory process, SDGs are consistent and evolving, helping, and supporting stakeholders envision a business environment where technology becomes the catalyst to bridge the gap between need and demand. Therefore, SDGs bear a more farsighted approach and will eventually over pace CSR in the future.
The SDGs provide a new and comprehensive vision for sustainable development. Companies are now discovering new growth opportunities by developing and delivering solutions with an aim to address SDG milestones. In the current capricious business environment, the private sector has been actively shaping a global sustainable development agenda and is explicitly recognized as both an addressee and an important partner in its achievement. At present, companies are becoming aware that responsible behavior leads to long-lasting business success. Sustainable development is “development that addresses the present needs without undermining the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
The 17 goals include the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic growth, social inclusion, and protection of the environment. The government, the business sector, as well as civil society, and the public, all have an important role to play in achieving the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 17 SDGs are integrated—they recognize that action in one area will affect outcomes in others and that development must balance social, economic, and environmental sustainability.
One of the largest and the fastest emerging economies in the world, India has significantly contributed to Sustainable Development Goals globally. Echoing the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India’s vision of inclusive growth and development reaching to the weakest sections of the society, the multifaceted government of India policies is working towards the nation’s long-term growth, thereby enhancing the people’s quality of life.
In a fast-changing and dynamic global business environment, corporate sectors are seen to be increasingly engaging in social and environmental responsibility projects within and outside their company’s (firm) jurisdictions. The ultimate aim of business is to serve society without eroding our environmental and community life-support systems by providing safe, high-quality products and services that improve our well-being.
Today, we are all still looking for transparency, authenticity, and truthfulness from companies and their leaders, and many companies continue to support their employees by protecting their health and safety and allowing them a greater voice in corporate decision-making. Organizations are also bellicosely pushing for carbon neutrality through amalgamating technological prowess thereby contributing towards reducing carbon footprints, and the concept of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategies took greater hold in the CSR zeitgeist.
Taking cognizance of the role of technology in realizing the objective, Digital India and e-Governance have become the prime drivers to the nation’s sustainable development by promoting transparency, accessibility, and accountability in the system. This rapid make-over is positively impacting the day-to-day life of the citizens. Recognized as a global leader in advanced IT and OT, Hitachi is fully supporting the government’s digitalization initiatives and its contribution towards realizing Sustainable Development Goals. Hitachi is helping embrace the new era of agility and smarter working in India.
Hitachi considers SDGs an integral part of its business ethics. Our ingrained values and culture rest on the solid pillars of offering technology that is sustainable and can help lay solid foundations for building a self-reliant India.  We have significantly contributed to achieving the SDGs through our Social Innovation Business, which is the driving success of sustainable growth for us, Globally and in India.
India is heavily investing in infrastructure and transport to transform its cities by adopting a revolutionary approach that promises the citizens affordable, multiple modes of transportation, including rapid mass transit systems, on-demand mobility solutions, ridesharing, vehicle-sharing, electric vehicles, biking, walking, and even more. Marked by high flexibility, convenience, and clean and green technologies, Hitachi’s mobility solutions are designed with the aim of tackling the challenges of climate change and to provide a safe and reliable transport option to support growing urbanization thus enabling the fulfilment of (SDG 11).
Education serves as the bedrock for a good quality of life. The digital transformation of India’s education system will nurture the holistic development of a child, fortify Digital India initiatives, and transform the country into a “knowledge economy”. Empowering children around the world by making learning encouraging and meaningful, Hitachi is also contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals of Quality Education (SDG 4) and Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8).
Through its integrated IoT-enabled solution platform, Hitachi is all set to bring Social Innovation in education through the rich legacy of data research spanning decades and Big Data Analytics. Thus, helping the nation build an inexhaustible pool of talent and skill while enabling millions of people to ensure an improved Quality of Life.
India shows promising potential to transform into a Smart Manufacturing Hub and position itself as a leader in the global ecosystem. There is a critical need for adopting Industry 4.0 technologies to ensure undeterred economic success and a safe working environment.
Hitachi is Powering Good using its Social Innovation Business model to help the manufacturers address critical challenges posed by the uncertain business environment, promise safe and secure working environments that enhance the Quality of Life, and support the Sustainable Development Goals of Good Health & Well-Being, Decent Work & Economic Growth, and sustainable Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure.
Hitachi is committed to contributing to achieving Sustainable Development Goals. We have set stringent milestones, strategies, and a robust business framework that would help in reducing environmental impact along with fueling the augmentation of a conducive business environment.
The evolution of a resurgent India requires, skilling today’s youth and preparing them for tomorrow’s workforce. Hitachi is committed to Powering Good through its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives set in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Let’s build a Coherent SUSTAINABLE WORLD, TOGETHER.

Views of the author are personal and do not necessarily represent the website’s views.

Bharat Kaushal, Managing Director, Hitachi IndiaMr Bharat Kaushal is the Managing Director of Hitachi India. He is the first Indian to spearhead Hitachi India’s operations. His focus is on promoting Hitachi’s Social Innovation Business in India. Hitachi’s Social Innovation Business resolves issues faced by society and customers by combining advanced IT with operational technology (OT) and products/systems, allowing the company to provide total solutions.