Sustainable Impact of CSR Activities is a Result of an Empathetic Board:
The recent Companies (Accounts) Amendment Rules (2022) sheds light on the details of the CSR committee and board decisions on CSR Projects. Every company covered under the provisions of sub-section (1) of section 135 of the amendment are required to furnish a report on their CSR activities in Form CSR-2, which can be accessed here.
When considered in tandem with theduties and responsibilities of directors as listed in the Companies Act, it becomes evident that sustainable impact of CSR activities is a result of an empathetic board.
Role of Board of Directors on Corporate Governance:
The provisions relating to duties and responsibilities of directors are contained in the following sections of the new act. (i) Chapter – XI – Appointment and Qualifications of Directors (Sections 149 to 172) (ii) Chapter – XII – Meetings of Board and its powers (Sections 173 to 195). (iii) Chapter – XIII – Appointment and Remuneration of Managerial Personnel (Sections 196 to 205).
An important aspect of the responsibilities of the board of directors of a company is the overseeing of the governance, culture, and management of corporate social responsibility. The board of directors is responsible for handling the CSR framework, policy and activities of the company. Apart from fulfilling the obligatory aspects of CSR, the board has the ability to leverage CSR activities to support the company’s growth.
For a detailed description of the duties of board members, you can access the Companies Act 2013 document by clicking here.
In discussing the roles of the board of directors of a company, it might be interesting to understand that the composition of the board is also an essential indicator of the success of the company. Studies show that a higher percentage of women on the board is associated with higher CSR and environmental ratings of the company.
Studies conclude that independent, female and foreign directors, as well as directors belonging to minorities could have significant effects on a business’ outcomes. The same is true for directors with specialised academic and professional backgrounds.
Companies are also now embracing the idea of including climate change as part of their agenda. 75% of companies in a survey across 43 countries claimed that climate change is very or entirely important to the strategic success of their companies. Advice solicited from board members of these companies through this survey provided an optimistic outlook of companies in working towards more environmentally conscious and sustainable operations.
Despite the abilities of companies to act towards a more sustainable future through CSR activities, many view CSR as a burden to be overcome. However, a shift in the outlook towards social responsibility can unlock multiple opportunities not only for environmental and social sustainability but also for the company’s growth and overall progress.
Importance of CSR
Elevation of Brand/Company Perception
The public perception of a company can make or break it despite how good the provided services/products may be. Taking social responsibility seriously shows clients that your brand is invested in more than just profits and returns. It communicates to customers/clients as well as investors and collaborators that the brand is invested in providing value. A socially responsible company is therefore perceived as a more trustworthy company.
Contributes to Employee Engagement
An engaged and invested workforce is essential to the growth of a company. When employee visions are not aligned with the goals and objectives of a company, the company tends to be less productive. Research suggests that CSR contributes to employee engagement, which can consequently lead to greater innovation and productivity. Actively involving employees in social responsibility imparts a sense of purpose and involvement in the company’s objectives. This is further elevated when the employees are able to witness the impact that their actions have on the community.
Although the primary goal of CSR is to support local and global communities, social responsibility can support the growth and progress of a company through effective CSR policy and implementation. It is important that companies recognize the benefits of CSR and embrace the shift towards a more sustainable future. As stated by Nita Ambani, who is a prominent and instrumental board member at Reliance Industries, “everyone needs to be taken along for society’s sustainable growth and welfare”.