Monday, 8 May 2017

Workshop on ‘Effective CSR Management and Governance

Nine speakers present ideas that can aid both corporates and NGOs in the implementation of their CSR activities. Find here a synopsis of the topics plus the complete presentations..

BSE Sammaan hosted an invigorating 2-day long CSR workshop in Chennai in collaboration with the TISS NCSR Hub on 23rd and 24th of February 2017. The objective of the workshop was to provide comprehensive learning on CSR Management, Governance and Compliance.

This workshop was organized as part of BSE Sammaan’s mandate - to foster much-needed awareness and knowledge support to member organizations, and help them strategize CSR programs and implement them successfully. The faculty comprised of diverse industry leaders, CSR practitioners and academicians, while the participants were an equal mix of NGOs and corporates.

At the workshop, great deals of insights were shared on topics ranging from CSR law, its evolution, implications, and compliance among others. The sessions were interactive and had spirited discussion between the participants and faculty. The idea was to create dynamic classroom setting, where each one learns from other’s experiences.

The key takeaways of the event were clarity on the nitty gritties of the CSR law, and a different perspective on the real meaning of CSR. Other important topics covered were: How companies can create meaningful, measurable and impactful CSR strategies through their programs.

Overall, the workshop provided rich and in-depth expertise on social projects corroborated with case studies. Several tools were also given to assist companies on how to charter an implementable action plan.

BSE Sammaan is looking forward to hosting similar events in Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Bangalore in the future. But till it reaches your city, here’s a synopsis of the topics covered…

1.  Development Paradigm in India and its Challenges
     by Mr. Prashant Sude, National CSR Hub, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)

The age-old adage, ‘The business of business is to do business,’ is no longer entirely true. Businesses have to be profitable, but they also have to make a social impact.

This presentation by Prashant Sude set the tone for the day. It asked the most pertinent question: What does CSR mean or entail? The rationale behind it could be many: from corporate compliance to pure philanthropy, to sustainability, both for the business and the environment.

But at the heart of CSR, is the attempt by the government and private enterprise, to bridge the gap between rural and urban India, between the unemployed and the employed, the under-privileged and the privileged.

Even as the rest of India makes rapid progress, several segments continue to remain malnourished and below the poverty line.CSR can therefore, be the tool, where industries, civil society, and the state work together to reduce the deprivation in society, and make it a more peaceful and prosperous place to live in.

2.  Interpretation of the Legal Framework of CSR in India
     by Mr. Chinnaswamy Ganesan, Senior Advisor and Head, Financial Reporting and Accounting Agency

The CSR law interpretation included a comprehensive framework analysis, and its various modalities were discussed in a presentation by Mr. Ganesan. Concepts that were covered were - CSR compliance rules, profit before tax is taken into account while computing 2% as CSR budget, companies with turnover of Rs. 1000 crore falling in the category – irrespective of their profit or loss etc.

The other topics were: legal implications of CSR, analysis of the criteria for companies falling under CSR, liability concept clarity, other terminologies related to CSR, and the contents of Schedule VII –amendments, rules, and penalties.

The session gave clarity on: the permissible and non-permissible matters under CSR, accounting treatment for CSR activities, how to calculate the net profit for CSR, as well as the taxation involved in CSR. The disclosures and penalties for non-compliance by a company were also stated.

3.  Basic Principles of Engaging in Social Interventions
    by Mr. Prashant Sude, National CSR Hub, TISS

As a company, before you engage in CSR, there’s a lot of homework to be done. This research, if done in a systematic way, can help you identify and create social intervention that is compatible with the local communities, and at the same time it aligns with company’s values and ethos.

There are various steps before you undertake social intervention. The first step isto be people-centric, reaching out to the local community you plan to support (the beneficiaries), and understand what they need. One must also assess the context in which they live their environments, income levels, and cultural practices to understand their socio-cultural background better.

This session covered how CSR programs could complement the existing programs of NGOs, substitute an existing program (fill a gap), or invent a new program. A program also needs to be driven by vision, sustainable processes and measurable outcomes. 

4. Assessment of NGO Partners and CSR Project Proposals
    by Mr. Prashant Sude, National CSR Hub, TISS

When a corporate decides to partner with an NGO to implement a CSR activity, then an NGO is also referred to as an Implementation Agency (IA). Success of a partnership with an NGO depends on several factors.

Firstly, if the partners’ in-principles are on the same page and want similar outcomes from the partnership. Secondly, the NGOs should be able to demonstrate some impact in their chosen sector. 
Also, flexibility of the NGOs to be able to engage employees in the program, and/or incorporate a business connects wherever possible.

Just like a business partnership, partnering with an NGO requires prior due diligence too. Corporates should research an NGO’s legal documentation and financial reports. Once the program is agreed upon, a strategic approach should be followed with systematic reporting and accounting processes in place.

The association between a corporate and an NGO starts with intent and the proposal. Mr. Sude in this presentation tells you what factors to keep in mind while writing proposals (in the case of the NGO) and assessing one (in the case of the corporate).

5.  CSR Program Management and Governance
     by Professor Meena Galliara, School of Business Management, NMIMS, Mumbai

In a comprehensive presentation by Professor Galliara, a wide range of issues under CSR program management were covered. Chief among them were the basic concept of CSR and what it includes. For example: it should be rupee measurable, it should help the disadvantaged, marginalized and deprived sections of society, and it cannot not be limited to employees of an organization and their families.

She also gave perspective on how the approach towards CSR can be different for different management: It can be an authoritarian one, where one solves problems alone and dictates decisions; or it could be a consultative one, where more people are involved in the problem-solving and decision-making, or it could be completely democratic where stakeholder engagement is sought.

Additionally, Professor Galliara stated that organizations can start by assessing their existing CSR policies, and thereafter create a new CSR policy and strategy in accordance with the Act. The next steps are to decide on program implementation and how the funds will be utilized, followed by monitoring and evaluation of the program once it’s up and running.

6. Monitoring and Evaluating CSR
    by Ms. Rama Kashyap, Head CSR, the India Cements Ltd.

Monitoring and evaluation is an important component of all CSR activities. But first, what is the difference between the two terms: ‘monitoring’ and ‘evaluation’. Ms. Kashyap explained this well in her presentation, saying: Monitoring is done by seeking information on a daily basis, while evaluation happens periodically, within a specific timeframe.

Ms. Kashyap also stated the various criteria when monitoring a project – You should check if it has pre-set goals, if it is directed toward the stakeholders, if the activities are coherent and well-coordinated with each other, if the resources are being used efficiently, and if the programs are sustainable.

Ms. Kashyap also stated why evaluating is important, mainly because it provides indicators that show if the program needs improvement, if the limited resources are being maximized, if the processes and group dynamics need working on, or if the corporate needs to provide any further support to the program.

7.  Measuring Social Impact
 by Professor Meena Galliara, Jassani Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainability Management, NMIMS

Social impact, social audits, and social return on investments (SROI), are currently buzzwords in the NGO sector. Mostly because most founders or corporate partners are feeling an increasing need to monitor and evaluate the overall impact of the programs they fund.

In a detailed presentation, Professor Galliara outlines the necessary definitions and tools you need to understand and implement these concepts in your CSR activities. She starts by stating that evaluation can happen internally, by the organization, or externally by an independent body. Also, it could focus on the particular theme like gender, or on the methodologies used in the program, or on the final outcomes achieved.

However one chooses to evaluate it, the broad guidelines of impact remain the same: They should - measure the long-term effects of an intervention; check if they have had the desired impact on individuals, communities and societies; and if that impact has, in fact, been the result of the programs conducted or through other external factors.
Professor Galliara clarified several concepts, and gives useful tools to measure social impact.

8. Education and Empowerment of Persons with Special Needs
    by V-Excel Education Trust

V-Excel Education Trust partners with a number of corporates to further their cause for educating and empowering persons with special needs. These special needs largely include Autism, Spectrum Disorder, mental retardation, Down’s syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD/ADHD), and specific learning disabilities, like Dyslexia and Dyscalculia.

This Trust is focused on building vocational skill centers, creating pre-vocational development programs, awareness drives, counseling and therapy.

The organization spoke about their various challenges of working with the corporate world. There is a growing need to synergize company needs with their own social initiatives. The social sector also needs to incorporate business discipline, and standardize due diligence. And, ofcourse, the need for monetary support to sustain.

9. Addressing the Mental Health–Homelessness–Poverty Nexus
          by The Banyan

The Banyan is an NGO that focuses on one of the most delicate issues in society - mental illnesses. The organization has programs that are focused particularly on transit care ­- rehabilitating patients who have been in hospitals for a long time, and are unable to cope on their own once they are discharged.

The Banyan provides education, employment and habitation of these patients, providing them the complete support structure they need to rebuild their lives. Once they are re-educated and skilled, they can lead a normal life and can in fact be beneficial to both society and industry.

The organization’s efforts are largely directed toward giving people with mental illnesses – a transit care center, housing – to avoid homelessness, equipping housing societies in supporting persons with disabilities, and creating outreach programs to build greater awareness and sensitivity in society.  

For more details on BSE Sammaan and its activities, contact us at


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