Thursday, March 8, 2012


CRY – Child Rights and You and Corporate Social Responsibility Summit

CRY is an Indian NGO that has worked to ensure the rights of Indian children for over 33 years. Over the last 20 years, CRY has also partnered more than 100 corporations in engaging in social issues. CRY’s mission statement compels it to partner individuals and organisations in changing children’s lives. Ensuring that companies are responsible and concerned about children and communities is therefore part of CRY’s DNA.

Mumbai, 6th March, 2012 : 
Zuhaib Khan
CRY’s own experience mirrors that of industry reports - that a majority of companies in India are still to clearly define a CSR strategy for themselves. CRY seeks to actively partner the corporate sector in defining a way forward for CSR in India. We also hope to bring the criticality of child rights to the fore since children are really the most vulnerable stakeholder in the county’s future. Any human activity like environmental pollution, reduced capacity of families to earn or displacement of communities hits them the hardest and impacts generations.

The CRY Corporate Responsibility Summit

CRY has organised the CRY Corporate Responsibility Summit with a view to pave the way for greater commitment to corporate responsibility in India. The aims of the summit are threefold:

  1. To bring the corporate responsibility debate to the mainstream by inviting some of India’s most experienced CR players to share their experiences
  2. To build a strong business case for corporate responsibility by illustrating current benefits seen by players
  3. To help companies with nascent CR strategies to learn the tools of how to create, implement and measure the effectiveness and impact of their programmes such that corporate responsibility becomes integral to all aspects of their business.

The sessions featured in the day’s programme are designed to offer opportunities for learning from some of the defining voices of Corporate Responsibility in India and overseas.

John Elkington – one of the world’s greatest influencers on sustainability and author of the term ‘Triple Bottom Line’ will lead the opening plenary session with a discussion on the criticality of corporate responsibility in the context of India’s socio economic situation.

In the mid-day’s session key industry stalwarts like Kishor Chaukhar (MD Tata Industries), Nitin Paranjpe (Chairman HUL), BS Nagesh (Founder - TRRAIN) and Mr. Venkataraman (COO Tanishq) will join Mr. Elkington in a panel discussion on The Business Case for CSR.
The afternoon session offers a Master class on Measuring CSR Impact by Ola Lohman – an expert on CSR associated with the Swedish Institute. There will also be a panel discussion on the Impact of Corporate Responsibility on Brands with Jean-Michel Dumont (Chairman Ruder Finn, Asia), Rama Iyer (Founder and Director - White Kettle Consulting), Gaurav Rajput( Director Marketing, Aviva) and R. Balakrishnan (Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, Lowe Lintas India).

The afternoon session ends with a sharing of findings from an independent research commissioned by CRY on Consumer impressions of CSR and responsible brands, as well as Current corporate practices, expectations and beliefs on CSR.

The closing plenary session will focus on Corporate and civil society role in building a more sustainable future, with Mr. Jon Elkington, Mr. Ola Lohman, Ms. Puja Marwaha (CEO – CRY – Child Rights and You) and representatives from CRY projects. 

Nitin Paranjpe - Managing Director  & Chief Executive Officer of Hindustan Unilever Ltd

Ola Löhman - Country Representative (Sweden), AccountAbility

Kreeanne Rabadi - Regional Director (West) CRY - Child Rights and You

Puja Marwaha - CEO CRY - Child Rights and You

Rohini Nilekani - Chairperson Arghyam and Pratham Books

CSR in India

India has traditionally had a long-standing heritage of “giving back” to society. Some of India’s oldest corporate houses and business families have had a legacy of investing in social development.  Yet these initiatives were largely philanthropic in nature; corporate social investment across the world have since evolved from purely philanthropic spending into a strategy-based approach designed to bring about holistic change that impacts stakeholders, the environment and the business itself.  

This shift in the nature of corporate social responsibility however, is yet to manifest itself within the corporate sector in India. The KPMG India Corporate Responsibility Survey 2011 shows that:
  • Only 16 per cent of the top 100 listed firms have a corporate responsibility strategy in place as compared to 73 per cent of their 250 global counterparts.
  • Only 31% of these top 100 companies do any sort of responsibility reporting.

Furthermore, the key drivers of corporate responsibility in Indian companies tend to revolve around ethical considerations and aim to strengthen the brand, as opposed to economic considerations, which drive corporate responsibility investments globally.

As inequalities rise and resources like water, land, minerals and trained manpower become increasingly scarce in India, it is imperative for companies to participate in environmental, ethical and social investment to safeguard the future of the country and their businesses.

The few companies that have realised this are already seeing near term economic benefit in the form of more efficient use of resources – thereby lower costs, higher brand value, greater employee motivation and higher shareholder value leading to lower cost of capital. 

Into the Future

CRY hopes to bring about a uniformed understanding of Corporate Responsibility in India. We hope to be an active participant in creating a more sustainable future for our children, our country and businesses in India. We believe that by engaging with the corporate sector we can support them in creating a belief in the concept of ‘shared value’.

We also hope that we can together create a society that nurtures its children – one in which violation of children’s rights is unacceptable to all.

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