By Katie Kenney / Periclean 2012
PUNE: In the first plenary panel discussion of the CSR-Nonprofit Summit, corporate participants highlighted success in current CSR initiatives and discussed what they look for when forming partnerships with non-profit organizations.
Two days CSR summit is being held in Maratha Chamber of Commerce, Industries, and Agriculture (MCCIA trade Tower on Senapati Bapat Road, Pune.
Summit is hosted by Elon University USA.
Participants were so engaged discussing the role of corporations in giving to the public sector that the session was extended after a break for lunch.
Corporations represented on the panel included Praj Foundation, DEEP Foundation, JSW Foundation, UPS Foundation, Hindustan Petroleum, and Bajaj Auto Ltd., showcasing breadth in the strategies businesses employ to give back to their communities.
Praj Foundation, the CSR branch established by Praj Industries in 2004, focuses primarily on the environment, especially on the mitigation of global warming. Praj implements its CSR activities largely through partnerships with nonprofit organizations. Working with INORA, for example, the foundation operates decentralized solid waste management centers.
Ms. Leela Karkaria as Asst Professor and Manager – Corporate Social Responsibility, Alliance University, Bangalore also participated the panel discussion.
Established in 1951, the UPS Foundation takes a different approach. Its CSR efforts place strong emphasis on promoting volunteerism among its employees. The foundation also runs a large grant making initiative to support local NGOs.
In addition to giving corporations the opportunity to present their CSR initiatives, the summit’s first plenary panel promoted conversation on corporate interests in forming partnerships with nonprofit organizations.
The government’s role in making CSR compulsory constituted a key point of interest for both corporations and nonprofit organizations represented at the panel. The Companies Bill 2011 recently introduced in India’s Parliament sought to mandate that corporations devote at least two percent of their net profits to public spending.
“The law should be such that it should encourage CSR but not put a cap on it,” stated Noshir Dadrawala, chief executive for the Centre for Advancement of Philanthropy.
Discussion during the panel also centered on what corporations look for in partnerships with nonprofit organizations. Key considerations for corporations include an organization’s validity, mission and approach to sustainability.
“Selecting an NGO is selecting a business partner because we have to work together to make the projects work,” said Yogita Milind Apte of Assistant Manager (CSR) Passenger Car Business Unit, Tata Motors, Pune.
Apte and other corporate representatives stressed the importance of using funds efficiently. Ultimately, they reiterated, a corporation’s primary stakeholders are its shareholders.
“NGOs have to have that input-output ratio,” Apte said. “If an NGO has that mindset, it can work with any corporation.”
By focusing on corporate successes in implementing CSR initiatives as well as on what they want from partnerships, the Summit’s first plenary panel oriented nonprofits to corporate interests.
Sessions will continue this afternoon with one-on-one meetings between corporate and nonprofit representatives. These meetings will build on the lessons of the first plenary panel, providing for both parties a jumping-off point for initiating the formation of sustainable partnerships for the future.
With reporting by Annie Huth.