Blog: Corporate Social Responsibility in COVID-19 Era

Blog: Corporate Social Responsibility in COVID-19 Era
Friday 3 July 2020
By Amrit Rai, Deputy Director - Corporate Partnerships, Save the Children

“Businesses must reconnect company success with social progress. Shared value is not social responsibility, philanthropy, or even sustainability, but a new way to achieve economic success. It is not on the margin of what companies do but at the centre. We believe that it can give rise to the next major transformation of business thinking.” - Michael Porter
 
If COVID-19 has taught us anything is that nothing is ever constant, and how interdependent we are on each other as global residents. Michael Porter’s quote on shared value resonates deeper than ever today on how the need to transform nimbly in the way we act and behave, and bring to the centre of all business conversations a strong culture of meaningful partnerships.
 
Meaningful partnership is possible when every partner comes to the table as an equal and demonstrates mutual respect to push ahead common goals, and foster true partnerships to stimulate positive change. Across the globe people have been affected, and in countries where access to proper health eco systems, food and livelihood is a challenge, the need for purposeful partnerships is even greater than ever.
 
Corporate India has risen to the occasion and generously contributed to help the most affected. In a report published by indiaspend[1] on 20th May, corporate India has contributed nearly INR 10000+ crores towards COVID in cash and kind as immediate relief and response funds. This indicates the magnitude of generosity that corporates can demonstrate in times when their profit margins will show a decline and step up to protect their next generation.

What we also learn from a disruption of this magnitude is, that we can solve any complex challenge when we unite as one force across the three sectors of social, private, public, and push through the boundaries of individual thinking to create a shared value through innovation.
 
While the funds are reflective of the good intent of corporates, without the partnership of civil society and the government relief work will be patchy and impossible to carry out. World over, non-profits have rapidly mobilized themselves in the frontlines and engaged selflessly in providing food, assistance, protection and rehabilitation to the most marginalized people. Organizations like Save the Children have tirelessly been there shoulder to shoulder in the frontlines across 20 states to provide relief, recovery, and rehabilitation to protect the next generation of children, their families and the communities.
 
At the more granular organizational front there are new virtual ways of working and have set a path for revolutionary professional efficiencies, behaviours and sensibilities. More than ever before safe personal spaces are making way for work-related conversations, and disrupting our work-life balance with Zoom, Skype and Teams calls invading our living rooms. We have our family members humorously joining in these conversations, children and pets running past screens and our partners and children judgingly shaking their heads with disbelief at our priorities in the background. To say that all are affected uniformly, would be an elementary deduction. 
 
We get to witness as the new normal, our colleagues struggling with infants, toddlers, pets, old parents, cooking, cleaning, 8 to 16- hour works days. COVID forces us to collaborate, depend, empathize, understand the dichotomy of simple yet complex challenges that have no easy answers. We need to exhibit corporate social responsibility both towards society and our colleagues.
 
I conclude my thought with one constant and that is ‘change’. I am certain COVID will leave us leaner and more resilient than ever, frontward facing and collaborative.

[1] https://www.indiaspend.com/pm-cares-received-at-least-1-27-bn-in-donations-enough-to-fund-over-21-5-mn-covid-19-tests/

 

Join LIVE webinar: INDIA INC UNITES TO PROTECT A GENERATION. 
Register here: bit.ly/indiaincunites - 3rd July, 6 pm