Capacity Building in the CSR Ecosystem

 

AMCHAM’s CSR Committee organized ‘AMCHAM’s Signature Series: Capacity Building in the CSR Ecosystem’ that brought together key stakeholders of the Companies Act — policymakers, corporates, NGOs, social and developmental impact agencies, for cross-sectoral panel discussions that identified and addressed challenges, opportunities and avenues for capacity building in CSR. The day-long event was held on June 12th in New Delhi and supported by platinum sponsor Cisco, silver sponsor Coca-Cola India and knowledge partner Goodera.

 

Ms. Ranjana Khanna, Director General CEO, AMCHAM introduced the speakers in the inaugural session. Mr. Harish Krishnan, Chairman – CSR Committee, AMCHAM and Managing Director, Public Affairs & Strategic Engagement, India & SAARC, Cisco Systems (India) Pvt. Ltd., in his opening remarks gave an overview of the CSR Committee initiatives and set the tone for the program. Mr. Ramkumar Ramamoorthy, Chairman – Tamil Nadu Chapter, AMCHAM Executive Director – India, Cognizant, spoke about why companies exist and how to cultivate a culture of purpose and giving. Ms. MaryKay Carlson, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy, in her keynote address, highlighted the ways U.S. industry partners with organizations and government on projects to provide sustainable solutions for health, sanitation, education, etc. Mr. Vinay Pratap Singh, Deputy Commissioner & District Magistrate, Gurugram, outlined the opportunities for American companies to take up CSR projects in Gurugram. Dr. Sameer Sharma, Director General & CEO, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, in his special address, encouraged companies to avail the services offered by the IICA. Ms. Ranjana Khanna closed the session by presenting each speaker with the CSR commemorative book ‘U.S. Companies Partners in India’s Inclusive Growth.’

 

In session 1 ‘Fireside Chat on the CSR Landscape and Sectoral Opportunities,’ Ms. Richa Bajpai, Founder and Co-CEO, Goodera and Mr. Murugan Vasudevan, Head, Social Innovation Group, Cisco – South Asia, discussed corporate CSR strategies, incubators and innovation and how companies need a CSR team to be effective.

 

Session 2 ‘Processes and Opportunities in Capacity Building: A Look at Challenges and Opportunities NGOs Can Harness’ was moderated by Ms Richa Bajpai with panellists Ms. Neelam Makhijani, Country Director, ChildFund India, Ms. Pritha Venkatachalam, Partner, Bridgespan and Mr. Deepak Prabhu Matti, Global Head, Outreach (Employee Volunteering Program), Cognizant. The frank discussion brought to light many misconceptions in the CSR ecosystem by both corporates and NGOs.

 

Session 3 was a ‘Masterclass Highlighting Capacity Building in the CSR Ecosystem.’ Mr. Mark White, Mission Director, USAID/India, Ms. Shubha Sekhar, Director CSR & Sustainability India & South West Asia, The Coca-Cola Company and Mr. Narendranath Damodaran, Executive Director, Pradan. The speakers highlighted the way their organizations work in partnership with others, decide CSR strategy and even find the best talent available in the NGO sector.

 

The last session was themed ‘Nurturing Meaningful and Scalable Partnerships for CSR’ moderated by Mr. Harish Krishnan, Chairman – CSR Committee, AMCHAM with a keynote address by Mr. Ramanan Ramanathan, Mission Director of the Atal Innovation Mission, Niti Aayog. Panellists Ms. Joyeeta Das, Program Manager, Corporate Citizenship, IBM India, Mr. Nikhil Pant, Managing Partner, Shaktishi and Ms. Gouri Gupta, Associate Director, Central Square Foundation engaged in an interactive conversation with one another and the audience. The session focused on how to scale CSR projects and connect them to government initiatives. Mr. Harish Krishnan in his closing remarks, summed up the program and encouraged members to actively participate in the CSR Committee.