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Harnessing The Power Of Collaboration In CSR- Making The Most Of 2017

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The CSR Bill has established the role of corporate sector in the CSR domain. It is now crucial for them to join hands to create a larger footprint.

Gone are the days when companies were debating the advantages and disadvantages of two percent mandate on CSR spend. The reality has finally sunk in and it is encouraging to witness the vigour with which several companies (big and small) have taken up social responsibility, rather strategically.

Since the advent of The Companies Act 2013, the CSR process is now more streamlined and corporations are striving to achieve compliance with reference to section 135 of the Act. As more and more companies now fall within the ambit of schedule VII of the Act, it is very likely that the norms will become more stringent in coming times.

Speaking of partnerships, we have seen numerous collaborations between corporate and NGOs. In most cases, NGOs at the grassroots level have successfully leveraged government schemes to extend its benefits to larger masses. While this model has been working quite well, perhaps companies would also like to explore the immense potential existing for corporate to corporate collaborations to create larger synergies.

In a time when majority of India Inc. is devising their own, local intervention with a focus on their agenda and working in isolation, there has also been a push by Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) to encourage companies to collaborate. This could be seen as a huge prospect for companies to build on each other’s strengths to expand their outreach and create a multi-fold impact.

Currently, corporate and corporate foundations are still conservative towards collaborative CSR – the reasons could be many. However, parking aside all apprehensions, wouldn’t it be a missed opportunity for companies not to harness innumerable strengths of their counterparts to create a win-win situation for all?

Why Collaborate?

To quote Bhaskar Chatterjee, Director General and Chief Executive, IICA, “Different companies bring different expertise to the table and when resources are clubbed together, the scale and impact of the CSR projects increases.”

Well, even in the absence of too many good examples, it is difficult to rule out the benefits of two or more corporate (or corporate foundations) working together to fulfil their social responsibilities. Imagine the magnitude of impact that could be created when different companies with different expertise are working as a team – where one has a massive outreach, the other has strong technical expertise while yet another might have a range of products that would make the CSR project complete and comprehensive!

Collaboration is not about giving up ones individuality, but to help better serve the communities in which you work.

Here are some major benefits that a strong corporate partnership can generate:

  1. Pooling of Resources (both financial and human)
  2. Harness Different Skill Sets and Strengths
  3. Expand reach and impact
  4. Promote Innovation
  5. Develop Replicable Models
  6. Foster Learning
  7. Better focus on Social Returns on Investment

With CSR growing into a more strategic function that directly impacts business sustainability, organisations cannot afford to take any decision hastily. It is important for companies to synchronise their expectations that are likely to arise out of a possible partnership. Besides getting clarity on roles, responsibilities and review mechanism, it would also be beneficial for corporate to anticipate and clarify the possible concerns arising out of various reputed brands sharing the same space.

A wonderful opportunity presents itself for organisations to think bigger, pool resources, learn from one another and work together to achieve common goals. It’s time to gear up, collaborate more and create a lasting impact. Collaboration is not about giving up ones individuality, but to help better serve the communities in which you work.

 

 

Pearl Tiwari is the Director and Chief Executive of Ambuja Cement Foundation, the CSR wing of Ambuja Cements Limited. In a professional career spanning over 30 years, Pearl has been associated with the not-for-profit, educational and corporate sectors. Pearl joined Ambuja in 2000 and ever since has been at the helm of nurturing the Ambuja Cement Foundation that has expanded from a fledging team to nearly 400 development professionals, with a pan-India presence active in 21 locations across 11 states.

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

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Regards,
The CSR Journal Team