INDIACSR News Network
MUMBAI: INDIACSR (www.indiacsr.in), the largest web portal on CSR in India, organized the International Conference on CSR & Competitiveness (www.conference.indiacsr.in) in Hotel Ramada Plaza Grove, Juhu Beach, Mumbai on 9th May 2012. Conference was inaugurated by the Chief Guest, Manoj Somasundaram, CEO Choice International & MD Challenge Life Ltd (UK); Guest of Honor Rajeev Goyal, Vice President & Chief Construction Manager, Abhijeet Group, Chandwa (Jharkhand); Specail Guest Dr. Yudhbir Singh (IAS) , National President , ISBTI, Haryana ; Rusen Kumar, Founder- INDIACSR and Ms. Enakshi Senguta, Executive Director, Kohana CSR.
Madhu Singh Sirohi, Country Head , CSR at Uninor India participated in the conference as speaker. She shared his views that how can corporate houses look at CR as an inclusive arm of its business strategy and how a company can build a competitive edge through its social initiatives is something that we seek to discuss today. She presented a case study on CSR of Uninor in India. She said, the telecom industry has the power to transform society, which is why corporate responsibility is an important part of how Telenor operates. Our strategic direction was well defined in that we needed to maximize the impact of telecommunications, create shared value for society and shape a sustainable future.
Here is the edited transcript of her speech:
“Corporate Responsibility (CR) is a term interpreted in many different ways by both the practicing party and allied stakeholders. How can corporate houses look at CR as an inclusive arm of its business strategy and how a company can build a competitive edge through its social initiatives is something that we seek to discuss today. Uninor, along with its partners GSMA m Women (http://www.mwomen.org/) and Hand in Hand(HIH) http://www.hihindia.org/ , spearheads the Uninor HIH Project in Chennai, India. The film detailing the project and its components can be found on (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhZAxD2gM-I) .
The project is a much awarded and recognized effort that has undoubtedly helped Uninor gain a competitive edge in the region. The selection of the initiative, the planning and implementation were governed by certain elements which I will highlight today. I believe these are common guidelines that can help organizations choose and pursue CR initiatives that can align with their business goals.
Operate in the sphere of your core competence – While the appeal of an eye donation initiative or the reach of immunization campaign is undeniable, they are best left to agencies where the ends are secured by the fact that they operate in that space. For success in any CR initiative, I would strongly recommend that an organization build on its core strengths and leverage its core competence. Much of Uninor’s definition of CR comes from the legacy of being a part of the Telenor Group. The shift over the last few decades has been to move from
The telecom industry has the power to transform society, which is why corporate responsibility is an important part of how Telenor operates. Our strategic direction was well defined in that we needed to maximize the impact of telecommunications, create shared value for society and shape a sustainable future.
Asses the need – The starting point of the Uninor initiative was the chance encounter with the GSMA mWomen team. Various research efforts and reports by GSMA mWomen and its other partners like the Cherie Blair Foundation had highlighted the gender gap in phone ownership. GSMA’s report, Women & Mobile: A global opportunity (http://www.mwomen.org/wiki/Women_-amp-_Mobile_Report ), was the first global report of its kind. It endeavours to understand mobile usage by women subscribers in low and middle income countries and highlights the barriers facing women’s adoption of mobile technologies. It also shows that by extending the benefits of mobile phone ownership to women, a host of social and economic goals can be advanced. Based on the statistics thrown up by the report and the possible impacts of the gender gap that existed, Uninor was encouraged to implement a project that seeks to build capacity in BOP women and empower them with entrepreneurial skills to set up a point of sales to retail activations and recharges for women customers. GSMA’s report (http://www.mwomen.org/Research/full-report-realsiing-the-mwomen-opportunity-a-framework-for-designing-the-mwomen-business-case) further highlighted that there are 300 million fewer female subscribers than male subscribers in low and middle-income countries and this gender gap represents $13B in unrealized, incremental mobile phone service revenues per year (ARPU). It was therefore an initiative aligned with a larger organizational business goal.
Partner selection – it is critical to partner with NGO’s and organizations that are also building on their core competencies. The selection of HIH was based on their strong presence in the region and their extensive women network. They also specialized in livelihood training and computer literacy for women which complemented the entrepreneurial effort well. The government is a strong partner for any initiative as it lends credibility and support to corporate projects. The Uninor HIH Project was fortunate to get support from the USOF for additional mHealth VAS to the women entrepreneurs.
Clear Vision and Mission – The vision when establishing a social project has to be very well spelled out for stakeholders to identify with it. It has to be compelling and motivating. For Uninor the vision was “to use the enabling effects of telecom for inclusive growth of all while creating shared value in communities where we do business”. This was well aligned with the vision of GSMA mWomen which was that base of the pyramid women will feel and report a greater sense of security, independence, economic opportunity and a sense of connectivity with the world outside their home, on account of owning a mobile phone and using its full services.
Strategy and implementation – to ensure that the goal of creating a competitive edge is met, the strategy should be coherent and integrated with implementation plans that are visionary yet pragmatic. They should align with the business goals and organizational structure to prevent additional strain on resources both human and financial.”
For the complete report please visit www.conference.indiacsr.in
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