Swapan Kumar, Group Head-Environment & Sustainability at Dr. Reddy's Laboratories

1. Comments on the Mandatory 2% contribution to CSR.

CSR is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. CSR policy functions a self-regulatory mechanism whereby a business monitors and ensures its active compliance with the spirit of the law, ethical standards and international norms. Laws only set minimum standards, they do not create any impetus for positive action. The proposed law can be attacked on the basis of pragmatism as ineffective. It does not even discuss, let alone define, an enforcement mechanism or penalties for non-compliance. The proposal would be an enforcement nightmare, exacerbating an already bad situation where many laws are poorly enforced in India and further undermining respect for law. Curiously, the proposal even includes a loophole. If the 2 percent allocation is not made in a given fiscal year, the CSR committee has to submit an explanation to avoid being penalized. There is no discussion of what explanations would be legally valid, opening up much room for corruption and extortion.

2. Sustainable Development the concept and practice.

The term Sustainable development began popping up prominently in public policy and especially environmental debates, beginning with the publication in 1987 of the report “’Our common future’, by the world commission on Environment &Development. It means to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This has led many to see sustainable development as having a major focus on intergenerational equity. Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

3. The next generation of leaders will be more socially concerned and committed as employers, consumers and investors.

For concepts, ideas and movements to take hold, they must have deeper resonance other than just advocacy or a loud voice carried over the media. They must also have institutional embeddedness. They must have a tie to the teaching that goes on in classrooms where the next generation of leaders is trained. In business school classrooms, students are offered courses on CSR, social accountability, leadership and corporate accountability, and authentic leadership. In extracurricular activities, we see the prominence of organizations such as Net Impact, the nonprofit looking to use the talents of business students to support social and environmental causes. This next generation of students is going to see the stewardship of organizations – as employers, consumers and investors – in a much different way than today’s leaders.

4. “Companies that create employee-driven CSR programs, help emp l o y e e s feel a sense of greater purpose; helps attract and retain top talent; and provide strong platforms for employee leadership and development. 

CSR is titled to aid an organisation’s mission as well as a guide to what the company stands for its consumers. CSR is being used today as a “tool” to recruit, retain, and engage employees. Why? Increasing numbers of young people in the U.S. (and worldwide) aspire for “something more” from a job. Surveys by Cone Inc. find that three out of four of the Millennial Generation (born 1978-1998) want to work for a company that “cares about how it impacts and contributes to society.” Cone also finds that among those already in the workforce, nearly seven in ten say that they are aware of their employer’s commitment to social/environmental causes and 65 percent say that their employer’s social/environmental activities make them feel loyal to their company.

5. Any word of advice for Management Students (especially on why should students across all fields should have an understanding of CSR / Sustainability)

You will benefit from cutting-edge teaching across the two subject areas.  The course brings together two perspectives and will develop your understanding of how business and sustainability work together.  You will benefit from innovative teaching including real-life case studies, mock debates, field work and volunteering units.  You will have the opportunity to attend lectures by a wide-range of highly respected guest speakers on current sustainability and business issues. The course is truly multi-cultural with students from all over the world studying and working together.