With the changes in the global environment, unlike earlier, companies have been required to look beyond their financial performances and incorporate social activities as part of their operation. Ever since CSR was introduced, it has drastically changed the business landscape as well as the society for the better. However, the pandemic has engendered a new normal in every aspect of our society and businesses one of which is the idea of CSR activities.
In India, CSR has traditionally been viewed as a philanthropic activity under the Companies Act 2013. But amid the pandemic, the idea of CSR is no more only centred on making material or financial contributions to vulnerable communities. Today, it is also about promoting social awareness whether it is on field or through advertisements. If we take auto-giant Volkswagen into consideration, the company has presented their new logo by creating a gap between V and W. Similarly, many companies have changed their advertisement slogans as well.
While these are short term changes, CSR companies can take the current pandemic as an opportunity to restart and rework their approach to social responsibilities to remain on par with the actual needs of common men. Moreover, NGOs and non-profits that are not self-sustaining will most likely cease to exist as corporates are facing shrink in revenues. This is also one of the reasons why businesses should tweak their CSR activities.
Given the economic slump the country is going through, the best way for CSR companies is to strive for employment generation and entrepreneurship instead of merely giving away funds. Donations do not bring ROI nor do they help the recipients for a long run. With that said, instilling a sense of ownership within communities where the CSR projects are implemented in, is what is more important. The ultimate purpose of CSR is to uplift the vulnerable communities and bring them opportunities. Thus undertaking skill development projects at grassroots level can also help CSR companies to make a bigger impact than never before.