COVID-19 has taken up the lion’s share of CSR funding. We were keen to know what the companies adjudged for Best Practices in 2019 have achieved more recently. Tata Chemicals Ltd. was ranked the number one company third year in a row for Sustainability & CSR practice in Responsible Business Ranking 2019, a study conducted by Futurescape. It is number 1 on the list of top 20 Indian companies for CSR in 2019.
The study follows the environment, social and governance (ESG) framework to examine corporate performance. Besides reviewing the spending patterns on CSR, the study also combined performance and spending into the responsibility matrix of the companies.
While the study examines the ESG performance of companies, the research also indicates that companies are gradually incorporating Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into their responsible business actions.
Top Indian Companies for CSR in 2019
What follows is an analytical examination of sustainability reports, annual reports and business responsibility reports of India Inc. It covers industries as diverse as automobiles, banks, FMCG, infrastructure, information technology, metals and mining, oil, power, steel, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and others. Here are the Top 20 Indian companies for CSR in 2019.
1. Tata Chemicals tops list of Indian companies for CSR
Although the prescribed CSR for 2019-2020 was 21.39 Crores, the company went on to spend 37.81 crores on community development projects. Improving the quality of life and fostering sustainable and integrated development in the communities where it operates is central to Tata Chemicals’ corporate philosophy.
In order to do so, Tata Chemicals established Tata Chemicals Society for Rural Development (TCSRD) in 1980 as a society and trust. It lays emphasis on the spirit of participatory development by involving the beneficiaries at each stage of the development process which ensures viability and sustainability of the programmes. Since the lockdown began, TCSRD has been actively supporting the government by distributing disinfectants, stitching masks, ensuring food security and providing medical help to the communities it works with.
Said Alka Talwar, Chief of CSR and Sustainability, Tata Chemicals, “Following the Tata Group’s philosophy of putting the community ahead of business, we are extending our full support to the government and the local people. It’s a fight and we are #InItTogether. Tata Chemicals is committed to supporting the society through science-led intervention with a human touch.”
Tata Chemicals spends INR 12 crores on CSR annually, and wildlife conservation accounts for 30% of the budget of the TCSRD. The spend is distributed over the three places the company has operations — Mithapur in Gujarat, Haldia in West Bengal and Babrala, Uttar Pradesh.
2. Infosys Ltd.
Digital services and consulting conglomerate Infosys Limited spent INR 359.94 crores (near 360 crore rupees) as against its prescribed CSR expenditure of INR 359.56 crores (2% of the net profit of INR 17,978 Cr) towards various schemes of Corporate Social Responsibility.
Of course, COVID relief projects dominated the activities, with education and health-related programmes following after. Among the main initiatives in the financial year 2019-20 were a 100-bed quarantine setup in Bengaluru in partnership with Narayana Health City, and another one which had 182 beds for COVID-19 patients for Bowring and Lady Curzon Medical College & Research Institute.
The company implements social development projects primarily through its CSR trust, the Infosys Foundation established in 1996. The Foundation primarily works with non-governmental organizations as the nodal agency for implementing projects.
The foundation’s programmes extended to most of the states, with an emphasis on expanding reach to create deeper impact. Earlier, highlights of the Infosys Foundation’s interventions in the past include the introduction of Aarohan Social Innovation Awards, restoration of water bodies in Karnataka, enabling the pursuit of access and excellence in sports through the GoSports Foundation, and disaster relief efforts in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.
3. Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd.
Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) is a Government of India controlled Maharatna oil and gas company headquartered in Mumbai.
BPCL employees stood strong in the fight against the virus. They made a collective contribution of INR 4.27 Crores from their salaries. As part of its corporate social responsibility for COVID-19 relief, the PSU organised ‘Swachhata Pakhwada 2020’ from July 1 to 15, 2020. This special initiative was in support of the Indian government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. BPCL also tied up with an NGO named Bisnouli Sarvodaya Gramodyog Sewa Sansthan (BSGSS) for a cleanliness and awareness drive in Nuh district of Haryana. The CSR team also went around villages with a medical team and distributed special kits comprising dustbins, face masks and a hand sanitizer to 400 families. The medical team informed them of precautionary measures.
Under the umbrella of “enabling quality education”, the focus of BPCL CSR is on imparting holistic education, preferably through technology apart from catering to adequate infrastructural facilities, access to education and improvement of education systems. BPCL’s CSR philosophy also includes involving the creation and maintenance of toilets, associated sanitation facilities, Waste Management initiatives leading to overall health and hygiene for the communities.
4. Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.
Anand Mahindra, Chairman of the Mahindra Group, declared a series of interventions after the pandemic hit the nation, from manufacturing ventilators to using Mahindra Holidays resorts for COVID-19 patient care. Project teams have assisted the Government and the defence forces to build quarantine facilities. The company has set up a special fund through the Mahindra Foundation to assist small businesses and professionals who have been affected financially. The chairman donated 100% of his salary to the fund, and urged his colleagues to volunteer their contributions.
Mahindra & Mahindra spent INR 93.50 crores on CSR initiatives during the financial year 2018-19, according to the annual report published by the company. The company spent INR 8.36 crore on Project Nanhi Kali which provides educational support to underprivileged girls in India through an afterschool support programme. M&M also supported a pilot project for Project Nanhi Kali 2.0 which will help aspiring girls to complete their graduation as well as achieve proficiency in spoken English and digital literacy.
Through Mahindra Hariyali 0.95 million trees were planted which contributed to improving green cover and protecting bio-diversity in the country. Of these, 0.83 million trees were planted in the Araku valley, which besides greening the environment also provided livelihood support to tribal farmers growing coffee in this region.
5. ITC Ltd.
ITC Limited is an Indian multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Kolkata, West Bengal. The Company has spent more than the prescribed CSR budget in the last three financial years. In FY 2018-19, ITC Limited spent INR 306.95 Crores.
CSR of ITC set up a COVID Contingency Fund of INR 215 crores for those affected. Together with local authorities, they distributed cooked meals, food and hygiene products across 25 States and Union Territories.
Responding to the needs arising out of the unprecedented lockdown, ITC has spearheaded a CSR initiative to enable the creation of an eco-system that would lead to significant livelihood generation for farmers and daily wage earners under the ambit of the Government’s MGNREG Scheme. As soon as restrictions on agricultural activities were eased during the pandemic, ITC swung into action. CSR of ITC galvanized its NGO partners to mobilise farmers and wage earners in the catchment areas of its operations to enable them access work opportunities.
ITC is among the top Indian companies for CSR because it believes that in the strategic context of business, enterprises possess, beyond mere financial resources, the transformational capacity to create game-changing development models. In line with this belief, ITC crafts unique models to generate livelihoods and environmental capital. Such corporate citizenship interventions are far more replicable, scalable and sustainable.
Among its implementation partners for CSR are BAIF Development Research Foundation, Pratham Education Foundation, Ramakrishna Mission, Bandhan Konnagar, SEWA Bharat, Foundation for Ecological Security, ITC Sangeet Research Academy (ITC SRA), ITC Rural Development Trust and CII–ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development to implement CSR programmes.
6. Ambuja Cement Ltd.
Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF) – the corporate social responsibility arm of Ambuja Cement – has been pivotal in advancing the company’s objective to be a socially responsible corporate citizen.
Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF) aims to ‘Energise, Involve and Enable Communities to Realise their Potential’ through its initiatives. These development initiatives address the needs of the people by working with the beneficiaries, NGOs and the government. ACF is functional across 12 states covering 22 locations in India and has succeeded in bringing about change in the lives of 1.5 million people.
A full-fledged Research and Monitoring Unit, along with numerous external, independent studies show significant change – in income levels, health indicators and overall harmony and happiness. Ambuja Cement Foundation plans to spend Rs 125 crore, including Rs 40 crore in Rajasthan, towards corporate social responsibility in the current fiscal. Pearl Tiwari, Director and CEO, ACF also informed that the annual increase in the CSR budget was around 10-15 per cent!
7. Tata Motors Ltd.
Auto brand Tata Motors Limited went beyond compliance and spent INR 22 crores (standalone) towards various schemes of CSR. The CSR spend amount excludes INR 2.99 crore donated to Tata Community Initiative Trust (TCIT) for repair of infrastructure which was affected during the flood in Kerala (August 2018), company said in its Integrated Annual Report for the FY 2018-19.
Health, Education Employability and Environment are major area of works where most of CSR amount has been invested.
8. Vedanta Ltd.
Vedanta Limited on a consolidated basis spent INR 309 crores on social investments and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activities. This is 26% more than the previous year’s INR 244 crores. This money is spent across 1,169 villages, benefiting nearly 3.1 million people.
Vedanta has a large and complex CSR portfolio with multiple and diverse projects running across various locations. There are 10 broad thematic areas under which, it undertakes community development projects. The Nandghar Project is among the flagship initiatives, which aims to re-build Anganwadis for ensuring the health and learning of children in rural areas, and also for becoming a platform of women’s empowerment and skilling.
9. Hindalco Industries Ltd.
Hindalco Industries Limited is the metals flagship company of the Aditya Birla Group. With a consolidated turnover of US$18.7 billion, Hindalco is the world’s largest aluminium rolling company and one of Asia’s biggest producers of primary aluminium.
Hindalco Industries went beyond compliance and spent INR 34.14 Cr, which is a higher figure than the prescribed INR 29.97 Cr. The Company supports education, healthcare, sustainable livelihood, infrastructure development and social reformation under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) with 12 Lakh beneficiaries in more than 730 villages across 11 states in India. Hindalco has spent the highest amount of INR 10.99 crore on education sector among all its CSR initiatives.
10. Toyota Kirloskar Motor India
As a socially committed corporate, Toyota Kirloskar Motor India has actively contributed towards the “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan”. The company has constructed more than 650 units of sanitation facilities in 206 government schools across India, of which 125 units are located in Varanasi, 426 units in Ramanagara district in Karnataka and 125 units in Vaishali in Bihar.