Data Analytics: The New Enabler of CSR Program Success
By Arijit Banerjee
Indian companies are aggressively expanding activities that fall under the umbrella of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), causing its status to evolve from a good-to-have program to a core enabler of long term sustainability and success. Government regulations mandate companies having at least Rs.1000 crores turnover to spend 2% of their three-year average annual net profit on CSR activities during each financial year.
The focus on CSR in recent years has increased so much that India is on its way to cross the Rs.500 billion mark in CSR spending by 2019. Not only are India’s top companies spending lavishly on CSR activities but they are also concerned about the programs’ impact. India is expected to spend INR 8700 Crores to INR 20,000 Crores on leveraging the potential of analytics in the coming years to optimize CSR outcomes.
Here are three ways Indian companies are leveraging CSR analytics to drive incremental impact:
#1 Modify existing programs based on results:
Data analytics helps map trends, issues, successes and failures over time to understand what works and what doesn’t, and these learnings in turn can help businesses better strategize CSR efforts. Let’s take the example of the Tata Group to understand how data analytics can help organizations chart their CSR route. Three Tata Group companies made it to the top in Futurescape’s 2017 Responsible Business rankings. The USD 103 billion business group is no stranger to such lists and rankings. Known for their philanthropy, what makes the Tata group companies the sustainability innovators of India, is their analytical approach to social good.
When the group realized that the CSR synergies, expertise, and learnings lying within individual companies were not being drawn upon for analysis and impact, they established the Tata Sustainability Group (TSG). Since then, the TSG has been instrumental in pioneering new-genre sustainability initiatives in circularity, lifecycle approaches, new mobility and materials, biodiversity conservation, and even in deploying new Group CSR Programs (GCPs). The key takeaway here: analytics can help bring all stakeholders together by creating a centralized platform for them to interact on, share experiences, and work collaboratively towards a larger goal.
#2 Enhance CSR strategy:
As an increasing number of corporations focus on social impact and sustainability, the concept of ‘shared value’ is gaining momentum. Aimed at addressing socio-economic needs through a competitive advantage lens, this approach is a win-win for both companies and societies. Shared value is created when a CSR strategy leads to investments in long-term business initiatives that simultaneously address social and environmental objectives.
HP, for instance, is partnering with educational nonprofits and education leaders around the world to drive its shared purpose of improving learning outcomes for 100 million people worldwide by 2025. In the age of CSR 2.0, the shared value concept is catching on rapidly with brands like Unilever, DuPont, and many others collaborating with partners, non-profits, and government bodies to drive massive impact.
#3 Optimize CSR spend for enhanced ROI:
In 2018, 81 of 100 Indian companies admitted to undertaking a CSR impact assessment to allocate CSR funds better, up from 59 in the last year. Clearly, analytics is driving ‘where, when, and how much’ organizations spend on CSR activities and this is resulting in positive impact - not only on their bottom line but also on employee morale and productivity.
Hero Moto Corp is an excellent example of a company leveraging analytics to assess the impact and widen the reach of its multipronged CSR initiatives aimed at girl child education, road safety, etc. The company combines analytics with the skills of different departments such as marketing, HR and IT to optimize the execution of the campaigns on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Harnessing the interconnectedness of CSR using analytics
The real essence of Corporate Social Responsibility lies in the way it enables the intersection of corporate governance, social inclusion and economic growth. Analytics helps harness these synergies to the best possible level, enabling organizations and governments to drive superior impact by alleviating long-standing pain points.
As 97% of Indian companies prepare to comply with the CSR law by FY 2019-20, analytics interventions that enable new methods of communication and interpretation through real-time data capturing and reporting, will play a key role in driving social transformation.
1) Business Standard, Total CSR spend by top Indian companies may cross Rs 500 bn by March 2019
2) Analytics India, Comprehending the role of Corporate Social Responsibility Analytics in shaping business today, https://www.analyticsindiamag.com/comprehending-role-corporate-social-responsibility-analytics-shaping-business-today/
3) India CSR, Three Tata companies top in 2017 Responsible Business Rankings, http://indiacsr.in/three-tata-companies-top-in-2017-responsible-business-rankings/
4) 3 BL Media, HP’s Focus on Education: The Value of Shared Purpose, https://3blmedia.com/News/HPs-Focus-Education-Value-Shared-Purpose
5) Unilever, Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan continues to fuel growth, https://www.unilever.com/news/press-releases/2018/unilevers-sustainable-living-plan-continues-to-fuel-growth.html
6) DuPont, DuPont Nutrition & Health Launches DuPont NutriScholars Awards, https://www.dupontnutritionandhealth.com/news/nutrition-health/2017/dupont-nutrition-health-launches-dupont-nutrischolars-awards.html
7) People Matters, India Inc.’s CSR spend highest on education and skilling: Report, https://www.peoplematters.in/article/education/india-incs-csr-spend-highest-on-education-and-skilling-report-17731
8) ET CIO, How Vijay Sethi leveraged social media to increase the impact of CSR efforts at Hero Moto Corp, https://cio.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/case-studies/how-vijay-sethi-leveraged-social-media-to-increase-the-impact-of-csr-efforts-at-hero-moto-corp/53265792
9) Business Standard, Total CSR spend by top Indian companies may cross Rs 500 bn by March 2019