Community involvement or engagement is a key pillar of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), wherein companies incorporate social and environmental goals in their business decisions and operations.
While CSR today has become a business imperative in the community engagement aspect of CSR, the focus overwhelmingly lies on communities and their betterment. This, in turn, brings enormous benefits to businesses and results in happier employees and loyal customers. Thus, community engagement has become an important dimension of achieving business growth and excellence.
Giving back as a part of the business plan can take several forms, from investing in the local community to supporting local charities to organizing and volunteering in community projects. Businesses by way of greater community engagement can support and contribute across diverse sectors, including education, healthcare, job creation, skilling and training, and women empowerment, to name a few.
It is important for organizations to align their business practices with their community engagement goals. Socially conscious investors screen potential investments with the help of the ESG (Environmental, social and governance) criteria and set their priorities in line with these concerns, instead of just considering the potential profitability and/or the risk of the investment. ESG minded businesses also gain more traction and have more chances of becoming more valuable and viable in the long run.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is one of the regulators on the forefront of ESG and has mandated more than 1,000 listed companies by market capitalization to report Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR) from FY 2022-23. This is expected to enhance transparency and accountability, while attracting positive contributions towards sustainable growth and development efforts.
A strong foundation of corporate citizenship by companies has become increasingly important over the years, which outlines companies’ responsibilities towards the society and improves the lives of communities. Corporate citizenship today goes beyond the simple aspects of philanthropy and superficial ways of promoting sustainable efforts. It involves comprehensive strategies and sustained efforts that lead to the real impact.
Businesses aspiring to become successful leaders, thus, must adhere to the highest standards of corporate governance, as an efficient structure of rules, processes and practices can positively impact how a company is managed, while balancing its interests and that of the community. As elements of accountability, transparency, fairness and responsibility lie at the core of corporate governance principles, this in turn positively influences a company’s business integrity and helps in building trust with investors and the community.
The Covid-19 pandemic brought to the forefront the impact that community engagement can have on the society and people. Communities and organizations worked together to combat the adverse impacts of the pandemic and addressed the many challenges posed by it, particularly related to healthcare and well-being. Many companies took the lead and joined forces with the Government during the pandemic to provide relief to the impacted communities and the vulnerable groups.
The role of businesses in supporting social developments cannot be underscored further, especially in the current times, with the world facing tremendous uncertainties in the face of several major global events and developments. At the same time, there is a growing consensus, as well as a realization towards the role of business as responsible stakeholders of society, contributing positively to social aspects and emerging issues such as inclusive development and growth, climate change, addressing gender gaps, as well as poverty and income inequality challenges.
Effective leadership is a critical element for a company’s successful participation in delivering societal goals. Talented and responsible CSR leaders can create social impact while building a successful brand.
Greater and effective community engagement should ultimately align with the national priorities. Socially responsible businesses can drive positive change by effectively evaluating their community goals and aligning these goals with their business practices.
The 1st CII Being Future Ready Business Summit 2022, organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry is being held during 11-12 May 2022. The Summit will bring together subject matter experts, strategists, and business leaders, who will share their perspectives and views on critical areas shaping the worlds’ growth trajectory such as geoeconomics, healthcare, technology, sustainability and community etc.
Join the Summit to know more about how businesses can cause real impact by taking corporate citizenship to the next level.
Be a part of the deliberations at CIi.in/ciiannualsummit2022