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The Environmental Aspects of CSR

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Concern for the environment has become a vital global issue for the most part of the early 21st century in view of major shifts in the weather conditions and its impact on the environment. In the context of the environment, the focus areas of CSR in India include environmental sustainability, ecological balance, conservation of natural resources, protection of flora and fauna and maintenance of air, water and soil quality.

Here is the scope of the environment in the CSR mandate:

  1. Organizing programmes on environmental management
  2. Pollution control
  3. Green belt development
  4. Animal care
  5. Land Restoration
  6. Job development related to agro products
  7. Afforestation

Moreover, Rule 8 of the CSR mandate states that the annual report should include a summary of the projects and programmes proposed to be undertaken as a CSR initiative. Furthermore, the committee will have to state the roles, responsibilities and monitoring mechanisms in the committee report.

Guidelines for industries

The government of India initiated the corporate social responsibility for environmental protection (CREP) by setting strict guidelines for 17 polluting industries. The new generation of entrepreneurs has recognized that environmental stability is one of the essential prerequisites for achieving long term growth and sustainability in the market. For this purpose, the corporates should value the strategies that ensure sustainability for their businesses.

Corporate initiatives

The good news is that corporates have started taking initiatives for the protection and conservation of the environment. This is being done by adopting changes in the production process, use of green technology, optimal use of raw materials, sustainable harvesting and recycling. For example, many companies like New York Life, HSBC India have initiated a green movement by application of renewable energy technologies. These companies have also asked their customers to shift to e-statements and e-receipts.

Many leading Indian banks including State Bank of India stopped issuing paper receipts of transactions done in ATM and started sending messages to the mobile phones of the customers instead. This has created a benchmark for other growing companies who have to implement CSR activities in their business practices.

Compliance and risk

To address the environmental concern through CSR initiatives, the intentions of corporates need to be translated into actions. Environmental risks are part of social risks. However, mitigations of social risks in India are driven by complying with Government legislation rather than considering a broader set of issues.

In order to increase awareness and to promote environmental education, governments across the world are now making environmental studies a mandatory part of early education for children. As global citizens of tomorrow, it’s important for children to develop a sense of urgency regarding the environment, so they can be better equipped to safeguard planet Earth. All-round exposure will allow them to understand the problem of high carbon emissions that lead to global warming and climate change.

To support this education drive, a technical society called ISHRAE (Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers) organizes K-12 Environment Programs in various schools. Taking up the challenge to educate the children, ISHRAE employs co-scholastic activities to teach sustainable living in regard to energy and environment. The K-12 initiative covers schools across different cities and towns from classes: KG to 12. In higher classes, emphasis shifts to Energy Efficiency, use of Greener Technologies and preservation of Bio Diversity.

TikTok, a leading short video platform, has partnered with Conservation International, to launch the #SaveOurOceans challenge. Conservation International works around the world to protect oceans and marine ecosystems – and the people whose lives and livelihoods depend on them. The challenge spotlights the critical role of the world’s oceans and what we can do to protect them for future generations. As a platform for creativity, TikTok users can show their support for ocean conservation through their short videos and raise awareness to protect our oceans for a better future.

Marg ERP, a leading software company and a trusted technology partner for MSMEs, is running a Green Cover initiative which aims to prepare 1 Million Seed Bombers for a greener planet. A social and environment responsible company, Marg will educate, encourage and reach out to its 1 million users from the MSME segment with innovative seed bomb packages.

Seed bombs are little nuggets of clay, compost, and seeds that you throw at the ground. Seed bombs are an easy and sustainable way to grow plants and ensure a much larger green cover. The company has created innovative seed bomb boxes
for its users and aims to distribute to the target seed bombers in next 4 months.

Marg’s Green Cover campaign will also engage with MSMEs in India and other geographies with unique seed bomb making sessions from environment experts. This will help the large employee and partner base of these MSMEs to spread high decibel awareness along with seed bombs.

Says Thakur Anup Singh, Chairman & Managing Director of Marg ERP Ltd., “As the World’s biggest forest Amazon is burning, we feel this initiative is need of the hour. We are confident that the way MSMEs have restored country’s economic and social growth in tough times, our Green Cover drive will encourage them to restore the diminishing green cover of our Life giving planet. Trending across the globe, Seed Bombs are the most effective green weapons against the fight for climate change and ensure green cover on our planet.”

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, preserving biodiversity and natural resources, and designing green products to minimize waste; companies are doing all this and much more as part of their CSR today.

This article appears in the current edition of our magazine which focuses on CSR in the context of the environment. To grab a copy or subscribe, click here