Indian CSR Landscape: Shifting Gears From Compliance to Strategic Driver

Source: Deloitte India’s CSR Preparedness Survey Report

Companies in India are increasingly viewing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a strategic imperative, not just a box to tick for compliance. This shift is highlighted in a recent Deloitte report titled “CSR Preparedness Survey Report.” 

We’ll explore what this Deloitte report tells us about the future of CSR in India.

Increased Investment

A significant portion (around 25%) of surveyed organizations reported substantial CSR expenditure (over 100 crore INR). Notably, mature companies with a long-standing CSR presence are leading the charge, often establishing dedicated foundations for their initiatives.

80% of respondents recognize the power of CSR beyond meeting basic compliance requirements. This understanding is driven by strong leadership support, well-defined structures, and targeted interventions. However, some sectors, like real estate, are lagging in this strategic approach. As investors prioritize CSR, companies are finding it crucial to align their programs with effective investor communication.

Focus Areas

The report finds that healthcare, sustainability, and education are the top focus areas for CSR programs, reflecting a commitment to addressing critical societal issues. There’s also a growing trend of standardized monitoring processes to ensure accountability. While internal measurement of program and financial performance is gaining traction, proactive program evaluation remains uneven across different industries.

Future of CSR

Collaboration with innovative social funding instruments like the Social Stock Exchange (SSE) and Development Impact Bonds (DIBs) is seen as attractive by many respondents. However, preparedness to navigate these new models is lower. The report also highlights that nearly half of the companies acknowledge the need to adapt their CSR strategies in response to evolving regulations and stricter disclosure requirements.

Investment in technology is seen as a key driver for effective CSR. Surveyed organizations are looking to leverage technology to evaluate impact, optimize resource allocation, and enhance visibility of CSR activities for their boards. Interestingly, integrating technology into CSR management is a major challenge for companies in the financial services sector.

The Indian CSR landscape is undergoing a positive transformation. Companies are moving beyond a compliance-driven approach and recognizing the strategic value of CSR. The report highlights a growing focus on targeted interventions, impact measurement, and collaboration with innovative funding models. However, there’s also a need to address sector-specific gaps and navigate the evolving regulatory environment. Investing in technology can be a significant enabler for companies to achieve their CSR goals and enhance transparency.

Read the full report here

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