Engagement for Purpose

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is now playing a key role going beyond the mandatory formality, as in the age of hyper-connected and hyper-transparency, organisations are re-evaluating their “Purpose in Society” and the narratives are now reinforced in the same. The digitally-connected age has provided organisations the opportunity as well as the challenge to cut through the noise with credibility and stand out in the crowd to be seen as authentic.

The Cannes Lion award winning Savlon – Healthy Hands Chalk Sticks Campaign is a simple innovation designed to encourage behavioural change towards washing hands amongst children and adults through various engaging and entertaining educational initiatives. The campaign is a great example of social purpose delivered in a way that is socially impactful and clearly consistent with the brand.

The corporate citizenship initiatives are being integrated with new ideas and voices to showcase organisations committed as long term partners in supporting a more inclusive economy and sustainable environment. From CSR heads now there are Chief Purpose Officers. The stakeholders are now wanting more transparency and are also wanting to learn more about organisations’ business practices.

Various award and recognition platforms now honor organisations for Impactful, outstanding, innovative CSR programmes being implemented. Last November 2018, saw the launch of SABERA (Social and Business Enterprise Responsible awards) a platform to acknowledge Good and Reputation Today was one of the partners.

Organisations are not only collaborating with subject experts and development sector bodies but citizen volunteering bodies for high impact campaigns. Working on the issue of diversity and inclusion, Firefox bikes has partnered with Volunteer4India and Adventures Beyond Barriers Foundation to dispell misconceptions surrounding #PersonsWithDisability (PwDs), proving that #disability is not an impediment to adventure. This campaign today partners with multiple corporates & organisations across the country through various events to spark larger social change, one that mainstreams conversations about disability.

While there is a CSR pressure to take up an issue and stand for something, for organisations of today, the basic ethics / purpose of the business is the key business driver. Issues related to sustainability, globalisation, advocacy on social issues are being taken up, echoing the collective economic, political and social interests of the society.

The plastic pollution is one big issue, PepsiCo’s has initiated ‘Change the Game’ campus challenge inviting youth to share innovative business ideas for sustainable plastic packaging and recycling, in line with the company’s Performance with Purpose vision. The initiative has already witnessed more than 11,000 students from top B-schools in India putting their minds to make the world a better place by presenting solutions for sustainability. Similarly Volunteer4India is also working on the campaign like #WhereIsMyPETGoing with multiple stakeholders and MBA colleges students across India who will trace the journey of the plastic waste generated in their localities and will chalk out plans to manage the waste through effective coordination with different stake holders.

Godrej Group adopted an overarching CSR strategy called `Good and Green’ to promote a greener and more inclusive India through a ‘shared value’ approach. The idea being that companies can help solve critical environmental issues while strengthening their competitive advantage by putting the planet alongside profits.

Now the PR & Digital campaigns are also integrating new ideas and voices to showcase organisations committed as long term partners in supporting a more inclusive economy and sustainable environment.

The views expressed here are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of Reputation Today.

Anup Sharma
Anup Sharma is a full-time student of life and part-time Story Teller with two decades of experience in Public Relations, Public Policy, Political Campaign Management, Digital and Social Media Outreach.

He is a Mentor and Senior Fellow at The Lentils Institute, a democratic sustainability think-tank and Senior Director at Public Relations Consultants Association of India (PRCAI).

You can reach him on Twitter @TweetsAnup.

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