Purnima Menon - CSS Corp Pvt. Ltd , Chief Marketing Officer & Chief Sustainability Officer
Your views on CSR and Sustainability
Every human being has a duty to protect and sustain the environment that they are a part of . Therefore ingraining it in our DNA is very important. There are a lot of cultures that place a huge value on “giving back” and in no time in the history of mankind has it become so critical, as it is today. We are living in an ecosystem that is rapidly depleting and our only chance for survival (without sounding over dramatic) or leaving behind a legacy for future generation is now. This is a critical time for us to engage in the protection of the environment through CSR and Sustainability initiatives
Activities carried on by you on this front
In my own small way in Bangalore, I am associated with an organisation called AkshayaPatra that works towards giving under privileged children a better chance to get educated, have access to proper food and drinking water etc. I am also associated with the Cottolengo convent an institution that works extensively in Bangalore with children with physical and mental challenges. I am also planning to be associated with a not for profit online initiative focused on philanthropy, to curate and be an advisory board member on their initiatives. In addition I am also the Trustee for the CSS Corp Foundation, the CSR arm of the organisation I represent.
Activities carried on by your firm on this front.
CSS Corp is focused on 3 areas and the philosophy behind that is very simple. At the core we are an IT services company , so we naturally consume a lot of IT and electronic equipment. Today the hazards of irresponsible disposal of electronic waste is a huge health hazard for organisations that are trying to segregate using traditional methods. We have tied up with leading NGOs in Bangalore and Chennai to ensure safe and responsible disposal of all electronic waste generated by our employees and organisations. This is at the Coporate Level
In addition to the above, CSS Corp believes it is responsible to create a sustainable environment in the areas we operate i.e. In and around our office campuses in India. We work with an educational NGO to identify 500 children every year from areas around our offices, to educate them on IT and Business Applications, that they can start using in their education. Since these are high school students from under priveleged sections of our society, we continue to engage with them in the hope that they will be gainfully employed . This is at the Societal Level
CSS Corp strongly believes that a sustainable environment is the responsibility of every corporate citizenship endeavor. In this regard, we started working with the state forest department of the Indian state of Karnataka to install camera traps for scientific tiger census. Over the past 2.5 years we have given over 800 camera traps procured from ScoutGuard Australia to the state forest departments. These have been installed in the forests of Nagarahole, Bandipur and now Kali Tiger reserves. Today the state boasts of the largest number of tigers anywhere in India and we are extremely proud of having played a part in this initiative. The camera traps help capture tiger and other cat movements, besides identifying poaching and other illegal activities that sometimes may occur in the forest. This is at the Environment Level.
So as you can see the cornerstone of our CSR and Sustainability policies straddle the 3 key areas that we believe are extremely critical for creating a robust and sustainable organisation.
Your views on Employees acting as volunteers
As I mentioned earlier each one us can play a unique role in our special way to help create a sustainable environment. I strongly believe the sum of parts will always be less than the whole, in this case. Organisations need to encourage , nurture and sustain individual endeavor by providing corporate platforms for employees to gainfully contribute. At CSS Corp we strongly encourage employees to participate in corporate endeavors like the Care for Paws Campaign and the children’s education initiatives. In addition, our corporate allows employees paid man days off for them to engage in CSR and Sustainability activities of their choice.
Why should students study CSR as a part of their syllabus
Actions are shaped young. At a very early children begin to imprint actions and associate feelings with them . Like I said before many cultures actively promote the cause of CSR and that is a great way for children to imbibe the value of “giving back” to the society. In many schools too there are a lot of CSR initiatives that are actively promoted. I remember in my school we had engaged with several children’s initiatives and this was way back in the 80s! So I am sure the awareness and the propensity to include this in curriculum is a lot more stronger today.
I strongly believe CSR initiatives keeps children grounded. The ability to understand and empathize with situations ensures strong ethics and value systems that only deepen with age and understanding. A socially conscious organisation can achieve a lot. Imagine what a socially conscious country could achieve!
CSR allows children to understand various facets of the concept of “being under privileged”. These could be many in the areas of education, sanitisation, physical or mental challenges etc and that opens a whole world of possibilities with children. They also understand what it takes to remain healthy , educated and appreciate the value of what they have.
I believe it is an extremely integral part of character and nation building.
Purnima is the Executive VP & the Chief Marketing Officer at CSS Corp. She is also the CSR & Sustainability Leader and Trustee at the CSS Corp CSR Foundation. She is associated with CSS Corp since December 2012. Prior to CSS Corp, she has held marketing leadership roles at Infosys and Avaya. Her recent accolades include winning the Stevie award for leadership in 2014, CMO Asia Brand & Marketing Leader 2015 as well CMO Asia’s Top 100 Marketing leaders. Under her leadership, CSS Corp was also a finalist in the CSR and Sustainability in the PR awards at New York 2015.
In addition Purnima is an amateur Kathakali performer (from the Indian state of Kerala) , besides being an avid blogger.