Corporate Social Responsibility, till now a form of corporate self-regulation guided by “corporate conscience”, will no longer be the prerogative of the responsible or ethical few. The recently imposed obligations would require companies with net worth of Rs 500 crore or more, or a turnover of Rs 1,000 crore or more, or a net profit of Rs 5 crore or more to spend 2% of the average of the last 3 years profits, towards CSR activity. The stipulation that such funds cannot be used for the benefit of employees and their families poses crucial questions: how would companies decide what activities to put their money in, what projects would be considered “social” enough to meet the criteria of CSR and will the projects being fostered by them be able to utilise their funds satisfactorily?
Concerned companies need the assistance of expert agencies that can screen social projects and ascertain their eligibility for CSR funding and their fit with the CSR ideology of individual donor companies. The Centre for Sustainable Business at the Indian Institute of Management Lucknow, which has longstanding experience in CSR research, teaching, training and project execution, can help companies in identifying appropriate projects and their implementation through renowned no-profit organizations. IIM Lucknow has been working with many such organizations: SPARC, Study Hall Foundation, Bachon Ki Duniya and many others.