CSR and Organisation Culture

CSR and Organisation Culture

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J.S. Kaushal
Director (Personnel), CWC

CWC has a great sense of responsibility and sensitivity towards Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and is conscious of meeting its social obligation. The Corporation is undertaking various activities under CSR since so many years before introduction of guidelines on CSR by Department of Public Enterprises (DPE). With the approval of Board of Directors, the Corporation has approved the scheme for meeting its social obligation by earmarking 1% of Post Tax Profit of the previous financial year commencing from the year 2000-01. The Corporation has also framed the activities under which the funds under CSR are to be utilized. The various areas in which the CSR activities undertaken i.e. construction of health centres/school buildings/roads/community centres/rain water harvesting structures, provision of ambulances/medical equipments/drinking water facility/course books, training of farmers/skill development trainings etc.

CWC has also adopted the 10 principles of United Nation’s Global Compact to operate its business with a sense of responsibility towards the society & taken membership of UNGC in 2001. As a business organization, CWC supports and respects the 10 universal principles of UNGC related to protection of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. CWC has been regularly submitting its Communication on Progress (CoP) to the United Nations which is posted on the UNGC/CWC websites. CWC is also a founder member of Global Compact Network (GCN), New Delhi, with the Corporation joining the GCP, these core lues have been institutionalized within the Corporation. CWC actively participates in the GCN activities and we have organized a monthly meeting in the year 2009 at our Corporate Office on the subject “Bridging the gap between Corporate Philanthropy and Corporate Sustainability”. The MD, CWC was also elected as Vice President for the Northern region GCN’s governing council 2009-2011.


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The Corporation has also adopted the DPE guidelines issued vide dated 9.4.2010, duly approved by its Board of Directors ( BOD ) for its commitment towards the society beyond statutory requirement to operate in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable manner while recognizing the interest of the stakeholders. These guidelines were followed for the year 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13.

The Corporation has also adopted the DPE guidelines on Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability for CPSEs effective from 1.4.2013 issued vide DPE OM dated 12.4.2013, duly approved by its BOD. As per these guidelines, the Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable development, which were treated as two separate subjects were clubbed together in one set of guidelines for CSR and sustainability. There is infusion of policy content in these guidelines, and the expectations of key stakeholders including the Government expressed in general and specific terms, constitute the policy statement on CSR and sustainability. Whereas the earlier guidelines focused mainly on CSR activities for external stakeholders i.e. how social causes and environmental concerns can be addressed to CSR purpose, the revised guidelines is perceived to be equally applicable to internal stakeholders and a company’s CSR is expected to cover even its routine business operations and activities. The revised guidelines suggested for a two tier structure – one Board level committees and another senior officers committee for coordination work in all the CSR and sustainable activities undertaken by the Corporation. These guidelines are strictly adhered in the Corporation.

The Corporation undertakes the CSR activities in a two tier structure – one which is a parameter under CSR in the MoU signed with Govt. of India and another is the activities which are undertaken as per its CSR scheme. Some of the important activities which are undertaken under CSR are creation of rain water harvesting structures/rural based community marketing infrastructures/bus shelters, farmers training on post harvest technology and distribution of metallic bins to the farmers, infrastructural assistance for setting up of computer centre/library, scholarship to budding and talented sports persons etc.
The other activities undertaken are in the fields of promotion of culture, education, skill development progammes, community development activities etc.

CSR is actually based on the values of the company and the organizational culture is significant determinant of employee behaviour, team work, honesty and sincerity of the employees and in general, the overall success of the business. The overall success of business is a mix blend of corporate culture and CSR. CSR in simple terms is the commitment for social welfare of staff, stakeholders and the community. A company’s view on CSR depends on various factors such as size of the company, profit of the company and most importantly, the organizational culture of the company. CSR is basically the commitment of organization to contribute to sustainable economic development by working with employees, their families, stakeholders, local community and society at large to improve their lives in a way that are good for the business and for development. However, there are views against this where some companies believe that CSR is only maximizing profit. However, in socio-economic view, the companies have to go beyond making profits and involve in improving social welfare.
Organizational culture is a system of shared meaning and belief held by organizational member that determines how they act. It is imperative for success of the organization and controls the way employees behave amounts themselves as well as to pull outside the organization, it has been confirmed that strong organizational culture characterizes higher CSR performers. There are several dimensions of organizational culture such as team orientation, people orientation, and attention to detail innovation and so on. When an organization’s culture is strong, it affects the thinking of the employees towards internal as well as external stakeholders and it helps in better response for achievement of CSR activities/goals. The correlation between organizational culture and CSR goes in the same direction.

There is a debate as whether CSR is a culture or a practice. There is no practical answer to the question but the best approach the middle path i.e. a combination of culture and practice. Based on the importance of organizational culture/CSR, the need for integrating such culture throughout the organization to get the maximum value is very important. The organization should first establish a culture of CSR and then to integrate such culture throughout the organization.

In order to create an effective and aligned culture of CSR in an organization, it is important to ascertain the unique business case of CSR and to build an awareness and understanding towards CSR in general and then to identify the potential added value of CSR for such an organization. Some of the key practices that can instill CSR as a work culture may be prioritizing CSR issues in decision making, demonstrating CSR commitments through leadership, making it easier and providing support for employees to make CSR decisions, engaging employees by work life balance, working environment etc.

The task of integrating and embedding a culture of CSR into the workplace falls under the responsibility of HR department and internal communication is done through the HR department as HR leadership plays a critical role in coordination with upper/middle management to adopt CSR into their core business strategy. In Central Warehousing Corporation, though the activities of CSR and sustainability are undertaken by various divisions like HR, Engineering, Technical etc. but the control and responsibility of CSR lies with the HR department only and HR department only frames the policy/guidelines various CSR activities. The periodical reviews are also done by HR department only.

The activities initiated by the Corporation under its CSR scheme are considered as discharging its responsibility towards the society. The CSR activities are seen as those which would in the long run help secure a sustainable environment. CSR, therefore is closely linked with the practice of sustainable development and extends beyond the philanthropic activities and reaches out to the integration of social and business goals.

These core values have been institutionalized within the Corporation. CSR is viewed as a way of conducting business which is for the betterment of its stakeholders through the implementation and integration of ethical systems and sustainable management practices. CSR in CWC is thinking and evolving relationship with stakeholders for the common cause and commitment in this regard by adoption of appropriate business processes and strategies. CSR not only comes directly from external demands but from our organization’s embedded process.

In the current scenario, the corporate firms should emphasize on CSR also a part from economic goals and profit maximization. The changes in stakeholders and community’s expectation from the corporate organizations have drifted a portion of their attention towards CSR.

About the author

CSR VISION is India's (probably World's) first monthly magazine in print devoted to CSR and Sustainable Development for bringing together all stakeholders of SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT at a global and local levels and act as a platform for promoting strategic CSR and sustainable development practices through dissemination of information and knowledge.