With a CSR-focussed Conclave, KMA Charts Future Course

Kochi: The first-ever ‘All-Kerala CSR Conclave 2018’ organised by Kerala Management Association (KMA) was held in Kochi on July 6. The one-day event, held at Le Meridien Convention Centre, was meant to be a platform for corporates and NGOs to showcase their CSR initiatives.

With the ‘All-Kerala CSR Conclave 2018′, KMA intends to create a platform for various stakeholders such as corporate entities, business houses and NGOs

The inaugural session saw the coming together of business honchos and other eminent dignitaries. Venu Rajamony IFS, Indian Ambassador to the Netherlands, was the Chief Guest. Kochouseph Chittilappilly, Founder and Chairman, V-Guard Industries Limited and Navas Meeran, Chairman, Eastern Group were the ‘Guests of Honour.’

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Vivek Krishna Govind, President, KMA explained how the idea of organising such an event developed. “Unlike many other KMA events held before, this is very close to our hearts. KMA is in its 60th year and we have been active all over Kerala in various professional spheres all these years. The idea of organising such an event was the outcome of an advice given by ‘Metro Man’ Dr. E Sreedharan who wanted us to think about the future of KMA and the direction we wanted to take it. It prompted us to think and, during a casual conversation, we thought why not we create a platform to connect NGOs and corporates. Today, almost all well-known NGOs are run in a very professional manner and corporates are looking out for avenues to spend as part of their CSR initiatives.”

Venu Rajamony, in his speech, said that the CSR legislation passed by the government is one of the biggest stories that India has had in terms of socially-relevant legislations. “Recently, a NGO came out with a report on the compliance of CSR law adopted in 2014. According to the report, which assessed the performance of 500 top companies, India is set to attain a CSR contribution of Rs. 50,000 crore by March 2019, which means 97 to 98 per cent compliance. Equally important is the fact that this is a very unique piece of legislation because there are very few countries in the world where the parliaments have mandated companies to provide two per cent of their profits over three years to CSR activities.

An average of Rs. 12,000 crore is being spent every year on CSR since the law has come into force and the top beneficiary sectors are education, healthcare and rural development. The top 20 corporations contribute about 45 per cent of the total CSR allocation and Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Gujarat are the principal recipients of these contributions.”

Speaking on the occasion, Kochouseph Chittilappilly said, “According to me, it has to be ISR or rather Individual Social Responsibility. I tell my managers that whatever we do, we have to apply both our brain and heart in it. In business I make no compromises but as far as CSR is concerned, I think one has to put one’s heart in it.”
Navas Meeran, in his speech, said, “If we look at the way in which the corporates spend the money on CSR, we can understand that it was being forced on them,” said Navas.

With the new rule of two per cent CSR contribution coming into effect, corporates have been putting some money into social initiatives but the problem is in identifying high-impact projects. We need to look at high-impact initiatives which have to be taken up keeping a timeline in mind,” he added.

The inaugural session came to a close with a vote of thanks proposed by R Madhav Chandran, Honorary Secretary, KMA.

Setting Standards in Kerala’s CSR Initiatives

The CSR Conclave, a first-of-its-kind event in Kerala, was designed to help both corporates and NGOs understand the nuances of CSR implementation and the opportunities available. With the Conclave, KMA intends to create a platform for various stakeholders such as corporate entities, business houses and NGOs to present the best practices they adopted during the year based on jury selection.

The Conclave commenced with a plenary session on ‘CSR Policy Planning and Execution.’ The session saw Ashok Pavadia, Former Additional Secretary, Govt. of India-CSR Policy, speak on CSR fundamentals and how companies should look at CSR. Pavadia, who is an expert in CSR and Sustainable Development, is one among the early crusaders for including CSR and sustainability elements in business policies, operations, activities and decision-making processes of Indian companies.

Speaking on the common perspectives of entrepreneurs about CSR, Pavadia said, “First, you should understand the different perspectives of CSR from national and international angles in order to comprehend its complete potential. Different stakeholders in various countries have different perspectives. Businesses are now global enterprises and they have ideas on what CSR is all about – because of this, we have different perceptions about CSR now. Most prominent one among them is that CSR is all about philanthropy; individual as well as corporate philanthropy. But CSR is the responsible conduct of business, not just philanthropy. Business has to be responsible at all levels. It is the social responsibility, economic responsibility and environment responsibility that businesses have to focus on.”

Amit Saxena, MD and CEO, UAE Exchange shared the CSR perspectives of his organisation. He said that it was equally important to be a valuable company for the employees and shareholders as well as for society. “Coming from financial service sector, we talk about land, labour and capital as factors of production. India has the lowest household debt to GDP ratio of about 10.6 per cent. As per MSME ministry and Mudra Bank reports, only 10 per cent of small businesses have access to formal financial services.”

He explained, “Of course, people are smart and innovative but then why are small businesses which need money to grow not getting access to it? We feel that this factor is holding us back. Today, technology is making sure that we can reach out to people. If the resources are not shared, society will strike back and then you will have to face a period of bust in economy.”

Concluding his speech, Saxena said, “It is in our own interest that we ensure that as we go along in our pursuit of maximising shareholders’ returns or maximising employees’ returns we also need to maximise societal returns.”

The plenary session was followed by presentations by NGOs from Health and Hygiene, Education, Environment and Greenery, and Child and Elderly Care. The session led by R Madhav Chandran, Honorary Secretary, KMA had presentations by A V Pathy, District Governor, Rotary International; Rajesh Abraham, Vice District Governor, Lions International; Dr. Krishna Kumar, Head, Paediatric Cardiology Department, Amrita Hospital; Dr. Haneesh Meerasa, Additional RMO, General Hospital, Ernakulam; Dr. Junaid Rahman, Medical Advisor, Cancure Foundation and K P Padmakumar, Chairman, Adarsh Charitable Trust, who introduced their organisations and also gave an outline of the various CSR works they are engaged in.

The first afternoon session began with presentations by corporates who shared their CSR initiatives in Health and Hygiene, Education, Environment and Greenery, and Child and Elderly Care. The session led by V George Antony, Chairman, CSR Conclave saw presentations by IndusInd Bank, K Chittilappilly Foundation, Cochin Shipyard Ltd. and TCS Ltd.

A presentation by NGOs in the education sector was led by Vivek Krishna Govind, President, KMA. Rajagiri Transcend, Guardians of Dreams, Oorjja and Bodhini put forth details regarding the type of work they are engaged in. Presentations by corporates in the same segment was led by S R Nair, Past President, KMA. The segment saw presentations by South Indian Bank, Cognizant Technology Solutions and Muthoot Pappachan Group.

A plenary session on ‘CSR Implementation’ saw Karuna Nath Segal, Operations Head, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, India share his thoughts via a video and Nandini Nayyar, Associate Vice President, InDeed, present details on how they associate with various organisations.

The Conclave concluded with the segment ‘Environment and Greenery.’ Led by Jomon K George, Chairman, KMA Awards, it had presentations by Greenstorm Foundation, CREDAI Kerala and Kochi Metro Rail Ltd., among others.
The corporates’ presentation led by Jibu Paul, Vice President, KMA saw Apollo Tyres Foundation, Cochin International Airport Ltd., Sahil Chopsy, Wildlife Trust India and BPCL Kochi Refinery Ltd. showcase their CSR initiatives.

The inaugural ceremony of the award night saw on the dais a handful of luminaries. Chief Guest Tom Jose IAS, Chief Secretary, Government of Kerala, in his inaugural address, spoke about what he looked forward to do in Kerala. “The State produces about 8000 to 9000 tonnes of garbage per day. I believe that without addressing waste management, we are probably heading towards doomsday,” he said.
“I have one passion and that is to clean up Kerala. We could work together on this goal,” Tom Jose added.
Guest of Honour Padma Shri T N Manoharan, shared inspiring life lessons with the large gathering of business heads from across Kerala before moving on to the award ceremony.

The KMA Leadership Award of the year was presented to Shyam Srinivasan, MD and CEO, Federal Bank and the IT Leadership Award was given away to Sibi Vadakkekkara, Chairman, Marlabs Group.

Vivek Krishna Govind delivered the presidential address and R Madhav Chandran proposed the vote of thanks.

Award Winners in Various Categories

The CSR Conclave was followed by the grand Annual CSR Awards 2018 presentation recognising exceptional CSR projects in the field of Education, Health and Hygiene, Child and Elderly Care, Environment and Greenery. Various awards were presented to encourage awareness, knowledge creation, engagement and also to recognise those who excel in various fields of management.

Under Education, Cochin Shipyard Ltd. received the KMA Annual Award for its CSR initiatives in public sector. South Indian Bank Ltd. and TCS bagged the awards under Bank & NBFC and general category respectively. The NGO, ‘Guardians of Dreams’ got a special mention award under Education. In the ‘Health and Hygiene’ segment, Cochin Shipyard Ltd. won the KMA Annual Award for its CSR contributions in the public sector category. Muthoot Pappachan Foundation won the award under Bank & NBFC, Karunya Varsham Charitable Trust under NGO and Shobha Ltd. under the general category.

For the CSR activity towards ‘Child and Elderly Care’, BPCL Kochi Refinery Ltd. received the award in the public sector category while ULCC Charitable and Welfare Foundation was awarded under NGO and TCS won the award under the general category. A special mention award was given to the NGO, Bodhini.

For the CSR initiatives under the Conservation of Environment and Greenery category, KMA honoured Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. under public sector and FISAT under general category. Apurva A Maity, SCMS, Kochi won the best B-School Student Award by KMA; Manager of the Year Award was given to Johnson Mathew, Vice President-HR, Popular Vehicles and Services Ltd.

Under the KMA-NASSCOM IT awards, Eye ROV Technologies Pvt Ltd. was presented Emerging IT Start-up award. IT Innovations Award 2018 went to Federal Bank Ltd. Award for Best Transformation using Digital Technologies was presented to V-Guard Industries. Under KMA Excellence Awards category, ‘Green Port’ by CIAL won the Best In-house Magazine award. While V-Guard won the Special Jury Award, Dent Care Dental Lab Ltd. received the Best Manufacturing Innovation award under this category.

Awards for Best HR Initiative and Special Jury Award went to Kudumbashree Facility Management Centre and V-Guard respectively.