New partnerships are being forged with companies keen to achieve more impact and efficiencies by collaborating in their CSR programs. Eight companies, a representative from the Confederation of Indian Industry and ICRISAT met for the first time to identify areas of common interest in CSR and identify ways to collaborate to make the whole more than the sum of its parts.
All participants were in agreement that they should collaborate for CSR activities as it will be a win-win situation. It was recognized that much greater impacts will be achieved by pooling resources in CSR; being able to create a larger multiplier effect and compress the time for success.
Areas of common interest were identified. However, other CSR areas being invested in were also seen as complementary and important to achieving a more holistic approach to development.
Although many companies are already working in partnership for their CSR, it was recognized that this was on a project level and something much larger with greater impact should be aimed for.
A variety of concrete areas were identified that companies were keen to explore. These ranged from quick actions (eg, sharing selected information) through to developing a mega initiative and leading to large-scale adoption.
The idea to explore the possibilities for stronger collaboration in CSR was first suggested by SAB Miller and other companies who asked ICRISAT as an independent agency to act as catalyst to initiate and coordinate the idea.
Some key conclusions highlighted by Dr David Bergvinson, Director General, ICRISAT, included that we all have common interests to see benefits in society and the environment. ICRISAT wants to see its world class research taken to scale and reach the intended beneficiary. We are all focused on sustainable and equitable solutions and collaborating in CSR can assist in improved return on investment as well as improved net present value. We need to do more faster because most of the issues need urgent attention. It was noted that there is a need for hard science as well as the soft skills to understand why people do or don’t adopt practices.
There is a science to adoption and large scaling up which CSR can assist with and needs to address to be successful. there is a need to create an ecosystem where any efforts help each other as well. A consortium could map out the ecosystem to achieve this and diverse partnerships are a great value to bring about change.
Other companies interested in joining the CSR Consortium are welcome to contact ICRISAT.