Jyotsna Belliappa, Director, Bluesky Sustainable Business LLP talked to India CSR‘ Rusen Kumar on Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). She says that a Corporate’s CSR Strategy is its plan for addressing significant and relevant social issues. Excerpts:
What are your views on Strategic CSR being the need of the hour?
Strategic CSR is an urgent need of the hour. COVID-19 has disrupted the world, and we need a new strategy to address the pressing issues of social development – be it poverty, health, or discrimination.
According to you, what is the difference between CSR strategy and strategic CSR?
A Corporate’s CSR Strategy is its plan for addressing significant and relevant social issues. Strategic CSR is the management process the corporate develops for implementing the CSR Strategy so that the impact of the CSR Strategy is optimized.
For example, a Corporate CSR strategy addresses the social issue of hunger by providing free meals to all the school children in the village.
The Strategic CSR for this issue will involve formulating the means of identifying how to deliver food to 5000 children in the village, where it is most needed, what type of food to be provided for sustained impact, and what technology can be use for quick delivery.
What kind of role can technology play in implementing CSR strategy?
Technology contributes to agile decision-making and hence plays a very critical role in CSR Strategy. As seen during the covid times- adapting technology to aggregate data on the high incidence and spread of covid rates, the logistics of supply of medical help, was critical in stopping the spread of Covid in many instances. Technology helped corporates decide what type of oxygen concentrators are needed where and again, technology helped smoothen the supply chain to reach the equipment most efficiently.
What are the key social responsibility challenges organizations are facing today?
Today’s most prominent challenge for organizations is recalibrating their operational experience to the new normal – people, consumers, environment, or community issues. The social responsibility goal post has shifted, and the organizations need to develop new strategies to continue to be relevant. Covid-19 upended the confidence we had about our knowledge- and laid bare the cracks in our society, our inequalities, and health infrastructure- we need to relearn how to rebuild.
What is your advice to have an effective strategic CSR?
We work with many organizations on assessing impact. The trend we are seeing for effective strategic CSR is the need for more frequent and deeper stakeholder engagement to determine the impact – positive or negative, intended and unintended. The regular feedback helps navigate the quick changes required for strategic CSR.