ITC Ltd – Setting an Example

ITC CSR Review is based on disclosures made by ITC in its annual sustainability report (which is likely amongst the best disclosures I have seen), and visits to two of its locations – Munger in Bihar and Kothagudem in Telangana. I am highly impressed with ITC’s strategy of long-term planning and systematic project execution in the social sector. I find that ITC has aced six of the seven points in the framework on CSR strategy. The report highlights some of the work ITC is executing on the ground — and, in my view, setting an example that other corporates can imitate/replicate.

A Long-Drive Down M&M’s CSR Initiatives

In May 2019, I published a report on CSR titled “Towards Competent Social Responsibility”. This report highlighted that company boards and senior managements should go beyond checking regulatory boxes and work towards maximizing the impact of their CSR programs. Companies that are focused on smart strategic solutions designed to grow the goods and services that earn them revenues should devote these skills to making their social investments as effective as their corporate growth strategies.

In pursuit of highlighting the best practices in CSR, I visited certain projects/programs of M&M for a better understanding of its work in this field. The objective is to throw light on the systematic method in which the company is designing and implementing projects – forging relationships with all stakeholders involved, evaluating needs, capitalizing on industry knowledge, assessing impact at various stages and relinquishing control/ handing over the project when appropriate. Based on my observation and understanding of these projects, I wanted to highlight and share M&M’s structured approach to CSR which can be replicated by others.

This report is divided into two sections.

Section I: Evaluates M&M’s CSR strategy on the 7-point framework.

Section II: Key learnings from projects I visited with the M&M CSR Team including:

1.     Anand Ghana, Aurangabad — Focus on low hanging fruit, efficient use of existing resources. A watershed management program implemented on the request of the Maharashtra Government to help drought-affected Marathwada areas. This was implemented with the assistance of an NGO, Dilasa Janvikas Pratishthan.

2.     Palgarh, Maharashtra — Started on back of employee’s initiative.  Integrated Village Development Program, implemented in collaboration with an NGO – Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan Leprosy Eradication Trust – and M&M employees (ESOPs.

3.     Hatta (Damoh district), Madhya Pradesh — Replicating initiative with government organization. Integrated Watershed Management Program, implemented directly by M&M’s CSR team, in financial partnership with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). It focuses on holistic development of livelihood opportunities through water and agriculture enhancement interventions.

7- Point Framework For Delivering Impactful CSR

CSR: Competent Social Responsibility. The focus of this report was to understand the strategies adopted by large corporates in India. Based on an analysis of CSR disclosures by some of India’s largest conglomerates as well as extensive interactions with managements, the report lays out a 7-point frame-work that is the foundation of successful CSR. The report also highlights some of the best practices of these companies.