Representatives of Corporate India gathered on March 7, 2012 to learn, share and discuss how Corporate Responsibility is a key contributor in bringing about social change at the CRY Corporate Social Responsibility Summit. The event brought together key international figures in CSR as well as stalwarts of CSR in India who discussed how the magnitude of human rights issues in
India requires a convergence of efforts from all sectors – the government, civil society and corporates.
The CRY Corporate Responsibility Summit is a step towards defining a clearer CSR strategy for corporates in India as CRY’s own experiences, as well as several industry reports indicate that a majority of companies in India are still to clearly define a CSR strategy.
The opening plenary session was led by John Elkington – one of the world’s greatest influencers on sustainability and author of the term ‘Triple Bottom Line’, who spoke about the criticality of corporate responsibility in the context of India’s socio–economic situation. “It’s time to look at that kind of sustainability which goes beyond corporate responsibility, where business is at the forefront of change.” He added, “Children and young people are the future. Business has a key role in creating shared values, encouraging young people to be entrepreneurs and celebrating their successes and failures.”
Addressing the plenary session, Puja Marwaha, CEO, CRY – Child Rights and You said, “When there are sections of society left out of growth and are consequently displaced, it is the children who suffer the most. Now is the time for corporate India to come together and take action, and ensure a lasting change in the lives of children in India.”
The summit was attended by some of India’s most experienced CR players. Those who shared their experiences included, amongst others, Kishor Chaukar (MD Tata Industries), Nitin Paranjpe (Chairman HUL), B.S. Nagesh (Founder TRRAIN) and C.K. Venkataraman (COO Tanishq).
Participating in a panel discussion, Nitin Paranjpe, Chairman, HUL said, “For businesses, ‘Doing well by Doing good’ is the mantra.” While speaking about hiring people for businesses, C.K. Vekantraman, COO, Tanishq said, “Let’s not go to ITIs, let us go to villages.” He said this approach brings benefit to the local communities as well as businesses.
Addressing the closing session, Ola Lohman – an expert on CSR associated with the Swedish Institute spoke about the future of CSR in India. ”For the next 20 years the CSR movement will change. The way companies approach CSR will change. It’s a question of efficiency, cost and profits for companies,” said Lohman.
Earlier during the day, some of the key speakers– Rama Iyer (Founder and Director – White Kettle Consulting), Gaurav Rajput( Director Marketing, Aviva) and R. Balakrishnan (Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, Lowe Lintas India) participated in a panel discussion headed by Jean–Michel Dumont (Chairman Ruder Finn, Asia) on the Impact of Corporate Responsibility on Brands. The summit saw participation from representatives of key corporate houses in India, including Barclays Bank, ANZ, Marico, HPCL, IDBI Bank and eClerx Services Ltd.