Corporate Social responsibility is a self-adjusting business line that helps a company to be socially liable to itself, its stakeholders and the public. Yes, in my opinion the corporates can turn out to be more socially responsible towards the environment. Companies while making monetary gain should also be cognizant that they can undertake sustainable development by directing their operations in such a way that it augments both economic and societal growth. Being socially sentient not only helps establishing reputation of the entrepreneurs, but it also helps establish an indelible alliance with the society.
Briefly, establishing constructive connections, keeping social responsibility approach intact, can bring escalated sales and leap up gains. Under Paris Agreement, India has agreed to reduce carbon of its economy by 33-35% by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. With India being fourth largest emitter of Carbon dioxide in the world, it becomes the duty of everyone to conserve and protect environment. One of the important aspect which Corporate Social responsibility also touches is the environment. Companies are going beyond plastic-free or paper-free workplaces to foster environment protection.In order to eliminate this problem Green India Movement (GIM) was established, which is one of the eight Missions traced under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). It pursues at safeguarding, reinstating and intensifying India’s declining forest cowling and retorting to climatic change by a blend of assimilation and alleviating measures. It foresees a comprehensive view of rejuvenating and emphasize on manifold ecosystem amenities, especially, biodiversity, water, biomass, preserving mangroves, wetlands, critical habitats etc. accompanied with carbon segregation as a co-benefit. This mission has embraced a unified cross-sectoral perspective as it will be executed on both public furthermore private lands with a pivotal role of the local communities in planning, decision making, implementation and observing..
- To expand forest/tree cover to the stretch of 5 million hectares (mha) and enhance calibre of forest/tree cover on another 5 mha of forest/non-forest lands.
- To enhance ecosystem amenities like carbon segregation and storage hydrological amenities and biodiversity; in addition with provisioning amenities like fuel, fodder, and timber and non-timber forest produces (NTFPs).
- To expand forest based living pay of about 3 million families.
Till few years back, tree-plantation was the most popular environment saving activity that corporates used to undertake, but now the trend has changed, corporates are now focusing on renewable energy solutions like solar energy, biogas etc. Companies are tying-up with NGOs to protect and promote environment conservation. There are many notable initiatives which have been taken up by companies to protect environment and also reduce the emission of carbon dioxide into the environment:
- Distribution of solar lanterns and unitary solar systems by Coca-Cola India, to non-electrified households in remote areas of the country.
- HPCL has joined “Lighting a Billion Lives” campaign of TERI that aids in setting up solar charging stations in villages.
- IDBI Bank has also joined hands with TERI in “Lighting a Billion Lives” to spread clean lighting and cooking solutions in non-electrified villages.
- BHEL has taken up the installation of street lights, solar water heating system and solar lighting system.
Environmental corporate social responsibility objects at decreasing harmful effects on the nature that are caused from the company’s operations. Green CSR, a lesser known term, talks of the environmental aspect of CSR. Companies are contributing towards Green CSR by one of the following ways to become all the more socially responsible towards environment:
- Eco friendly offices and travelling policies
- Waste management
- Energy use and Water use
- Creating recyclable products
- Reduce packaging
- Going Local to save fuel cost
- Choosing to work with environmentally responsible partners
- Using less paper
Companies are introducing certification standards in the above mentioned areas, to reduce the level of pollution, thereby contributing towards Green CSR. The most popular is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, which is green building rating system in the world. It ensures healthier and more efficient workplace, reduced burden on environment by fostering resource and energy efficient buildings, thereby benefiting people, planet and profit. It addresses development across four areas in hierarchy:
- Building Design and Construction
- Interior Design and Construction
- Building Operations and Maintenance
- Neighborhood Development
Green CSR is increasingly being adopted by the companies as it gives the opportunities to save cost, generate revenues, and improve overall goodwill of the brand by building positive reputation. There are many companies who are committed to the cause of saving the environment and are working hard towards making India and world a healthy place to live in.
Bhawana Munet & Shubhi Mehta