Beyond CSR to ISR

concept of social engagement by Indian business has had a historical
background, directed towards ‘doing good and giving back to
society’. Most of these thoughts and initiatives had their roots in
the value of re-distributing wealth in different forms. Practiced
since the 1900’s, a few industrial houses, through charitable
trusts, set aside a portion of their profits for philanthropy. From our last newsmag by guest contributor Chandni
Lamba who has 25 years work experience in the corporate sector, has a passion for CSR & Sustainability.

Evolution of
CSR has seen an increased allocation of profits towards
sustainability through integration with and of businesses. Over the
last few years, CSR has become a commitment towards a community;
either directly associated with the business or because of a
responsible management practise, without there being a directive for
such behaviour. 

Because of
the recently formulated Policy under the Companies Act, 2013, CSR
expenditure has been mandated for companies qualifying as per a set
of parameters. While India may lead the world in passing such
legislation, many other countries have been doing it as a voluntary
social initiative. For India Inc., this is an ideal opportunity to
join the CSR movement towards a sustainable and long term impact for
the communities they are surrounded by. Corporate India should try to
expand its participation in social and human development and
internalize the Triple Bottom Line of measuring gains for People,
Planet and Profit, as against only the profit line. 

is a need for companies to engage with NPO’s, NGO’s, academics
and entrepreneurs to launch effective, scalable development
strategies and plans. It is equally
important to empower rural & urban youth and women to make them
agents of change for the community. Locally relevant sustainable
models directed to benefit the socio-economic environment of the
communities has to come from those who are a part of it – through a
‘bottom up’ approach. For instance, through healthcare projects,
if we can measure the basic health factor in, say the women, we can
direct health services to bridge the gap that shows up during such
measurements. Recently I volunteered for a Health camp for women, in
a ‘slum’. While doing basic blood tests, we were shocked to see
that 90% of the participants had an iron deficiency and low
haemoglobin and were preparing for motherhood! Can then the future
generation of the nation be healthy and strong to withstand the
battle for resources?

So, some of
us decide to make that difference through a contribution or donation.
While it is also important, it is not only about writing a donation
cheque to provide financial resources. It is more about optimising
resources to create an ecosystem for developmental change. Ethical
practises and responsible behaviour within companies can build a
perspective that can improve systems that can be best used involving
skilled employee volunteers, to upskill and upscale those, most in
need of it – economically and socially. There is a dire need to
cascade the tools that will benefit. One critical aspect of sharing
tools is the teaching of a common business language, such as English
and the expeditious use of simple technology, to the underprivileged
in order to create a model and environment of mainstream

is therefore time to look beyond doing mere‘CSR’ activities.
Doing ISR – Individual Social Responsibility
— collectively, working on the gaps that exist on the ground and
creating a positive ecosystem of development, growth and
self-reliance, for those who have no means or knowledge, to access.

In brief, it
is about scalable development programs – creating livelihood, through
sustainable enterprises using innovation, support and mentoring.

know more about CAP’s assistance for CSR Compliance Advisory write
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