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Strengthening the CSR Ecosystem: Role of the Media


In India, Corporate Social Responsibility is an extension of achieving sustainable development goals in a more structured way. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has the potential to address the socio-economic and political inequalities. CSR is a wonderful platform to bring social justice in ensuring basic rights for a dignified life for all. Given the scope and scale of social development, CSR as a development tool becomes even more effective with the coming together of various entities in the ecosystem.

The simplest definition of an ecosystem is a network of complex or interconnected system. There are largely three key players in the context of Corporate Social Responsibility in India – private companies or Corporates, Government and Government Support Organisations (popularly known as Non-Government Organisation, NGO) and the media. In the context of the above, the current article sheds light on how media could play a vital role in building a vibrant CSR ecosystem that fosters and fuels collaboration, growth of innovation, and exchange of best practices.

It is important to note that creating a vibrant CSR revolves around the tripod of transparency, integrity and reporting. It is applicable for all players in CSR ecosystem. These play a critical role in ensuring openness among stakeholders in project implementation, tracking and course correction. Some of the best practices of corporate processes could be exchanged through these mediums for mutual trust.

Communication helps in disseminating the success stories for other companies and implementing partners to imbibe such practices. Given the advancement in communication, it is critical to capture processes, anecdotes and success stories through audio-visual, print and online media platforms. These are some of the best of ways of sharing the commitment through appropriate creative and branding opportunities for building Public Relations.

It is important to have platforms and forums to showcase CSR success stories. Some would argue that it is too early to have such avenues to disseminate success stories. However, building such matured platforms is a time consuming and hence starting early makes a great deal. It is important to note that CSR as an Act is new, but there are large conglomerates and multinationals continuing with their past of doing good and would continue to add to the common good. CSR forums act as platforms to acknowledge, recognise and reward the good work and provide required impetus and encouragement. These platforms build opportunities to connect, network and collaborate for mutual success.

Appreciation in any form is good as long it is evaluated appropriately and institutionalised. It adds a status of celebration to the good work. These platforms coupled with positive media coverage would help support CSR achieve the mega milestones in bringing about change in lives of the downtrodden. It is important that the mainstream media picks up stories and brings out series of publications for people to know, read and understand efforts towards improving social development indicators.

It is time that all stakeholders in the CSR space believe that vibrant ecosystem is critical for strengthening and success of CSR. The need of the hour is to get the entire ecosystem together and focus on making CSR ecosystem a more vibrant place. A robust CSR ecosystem gives level playing field for everyone and every size of the enterprise. Media has huge responsibility to bring all relevant stakeholders under one roof, be it government, public and private enterprises, and academic institutions, in strengthening the CSR ecosystem. The media has wherewithal to build, nurture and elevate such platforms and forums to keep momentum in CSR space.

About the Author: Nirbhay K is a CSR professional and an IIT alumnus. Author can be reached @NirbhayK2.

The views and opinions expressed in the article are solely of the author in personal capacity and do not in any way represent views of any institution, entity or organization that the author may have been associated with.

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The CSR Journal Team