Although the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability go hand in hand, there exists a thin line of difference between the two that makes it imperative to distinguish one from the other.
CSR is basically the responsibility of the corporations to give back to the society in which they operate. While concept of sustainability focuses on utilization of resources without compromising the needs of the present and future generations.
Both the concept can cater to reduction of pollution, water scarcity, preserving the environment etc. Yet, as per the concept all corporate social responsibility activities need not be sustainable. However, there are many of the view that catering to any sustainability issue is already a responsible act.
Although the concept of corporate social responsibility with respect to the Companies Act, 2013 is a bit different from what is perceived in the west. In India that activities that comprises CSR are listed under Schedule VII. Therefore, a clear distinction has been made between corporate social responsibility and other activities.
Now if a company considering energy efficiency as part of sustainability then that would not be considered as CSR in India. An expert suggests sustainability more as a mandatory requirement, sustainability is perceived as a business specific approach that benefits the business itself in the long run.
Fiinovation reviews that corporate social responsibility and sustainability although sound synonymous but pertain to and influence different groups of the society.
The politicians or the government at large is more concerned with the actions of the businesses with regards to their CSR. Driven by compliance, CSR is quite debatable a topic on the other hand sustainability is actually driven by responsibility to work towards preserving the environment and achieving sustainable growth.
Fiinovation understands that many companies like Reliance, TATA, HCl are taking initiatives to provide education to underprivileged children like the Shiv Nadar foundation is helping thousands of children to achieve a better future through their numerous schools. Similarly many companies such as Nestle, Phillips, and Tata etc are working towards becoming 100 per cent renewable company.
Fiinovation believes that the above discussion does reflect on the differences between the two concepts but the reality is that neither of the two can exist in isolation of the other. Both CSR and sustainability operate in symbiotic relationship with each other. One cannot become a sustainable company without respecting social and environmental norms. A CSR initiative lacking the sustainable view is a half hearted effort on the side of the corporate, merely designed to spend the allocated funds to comply with legal requirements. It’s when sustainability is brought into the ambit of social responsibility there occurs a paradigm change. you can visit us to our Fiinovation reviews pages on Fliarbi to know more.
Fiinovation understands that both the concepts might overlap each other at some point but it is important to understand the distinction between them.