Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives ..

Today 'Corporate Social Responsibility' is a concept which is in vogue in the corporate world and it is not because it is suddenly that the corporate world has realized it's responsibility towards the society or that the current government is working towards a more “inclusive” growth. Most corporate houses have their own CSR initiatives and many of them are very well received and appreciated by the community, but today what I will talk about is how the concept is being mis-used by many corporate. The first company is Hindustan UniLever Limited (HUL).The FMCG major is a company known for its marketing prowess and brands in the country, but if one were to read the latest AGM speech given by the chairman Harish Manwani, on would get a feeling as if we are reading the activities done by an NGO not a corporate. I for one believe that the corporate world has to come forward and take the burden off the government in promoting social issues in the country and that is being done by many companies in India and abroad, but saying that they are selling soaps to sell hygiene or to promote women empowerment they have launched project Shakti initiative is stretching the idea a little too far. The case seems to be one of claiming more than their fair share in terms of media attention and credit than they deserve. Similarly Coca Cola has come has entered into a tie-up with WWF to support freshwater conservation and freshwater bio-diversity around the world. And they have announced a $2.05 million fund for the same, which according to analysts is pocket money compared to the turnover of the company and the expenses it would incur on normal product launches and promotions. The publicity and benefits that company would like to draw out of it would be much much higher, which in itself is not a bad thing but if done with the right intentions. I also had an opportunity to listen to one of the senior executives of coke in India making a presentation on the various rural initiatives like Jalsa, Chaufaulla, ‘Thums Up Rural Games’ in villages across the country. It was as if each of these initiatives was directed at promoting the local culture and events and it was only incidental that the entry to events was only to people who purchased Thums Up....



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