Humane Capitalism: Going Beyond CSR
Businesses need to understand that when they do good for people and the planet, it also has a huge impact on their profits
Thought Leadership: For over a decade-and-a-half I have engaged with global and national businesses as CSR strategy2execution consultant. It all began in 2002, when the CEO of a telecom MNC reached out to me to help with the CSR strategy for an Indian company with which it could not merge (apropos UN Global Compact guidelines) till it had a CSR strategy in place. I remember agreeing to work with them if they did not treat the strategy like lip service CSR and made it an integral part of their business model. Today I am happy to say that this leading Indian telecom company has a role in transforming education for the underserved and has managed to involve all its stakeholders and shareholders.
Subsequently, I have worked with quite a few business houses to enable them to plan and prepare for their CSR strategies and have refused to work with many, since for them CSR is just lip service and a branding exercise.
Way back in 2003, when UN Global-Compact was registered in India, I was invited by its founding President, the late Subir Raha, to address its first meeting. His brief to me was, “Jerry, please sensitise these ‘Maharathis’ (term means warriors, playfully used for over 1,000 PSU senior-most executives who were attending), that CSR is not about doling out money but ensuring the involvement of the business to deliver social impact”. That was the first time I spoke about Humane Capitalism and then in 2008, with Anu Aga as our chief patron and along with the UN, we launched the Humane Capitalism Movement and Humane Capitalism Index.
Sadly, from my first talk on Humane Capitalism to my last talk a few weeks ago about the good force at the BW Marketing Summit, mindsets of CEOs/ CSR heads have not changed and most use CSR for public branding.
Therefore, I was delighted to join hands with the recent breast cancer awareness campaign launched by Avon, under the able leadership of its Managing Director, Rahul Shanker and Marketing Director, Swati Jain. iCONGO (International Confederation of NGOs) was invited to partner with Avon for maximum outreach. We are proud to partner with Avon (iCONGO is selective about associating with brands). Doing good is integral to the Avon business model where all its Beauty-Fashion-Advisors are now also Health-Advisors to women whose lives it touches (selling Avon products) for self-examination to detect breast cancer at an early stage through the
#PayAttention initiative. Avon’s #BeautyForAPurpose message is simple. You cannot be beautiful without staying healthy. Thus, a lot of women can be saved from death as breast-cancer is curable if detected early.
#IdeasForAction: Way back in 2009, I had intervened with a medical devices company to integrate doing good for society into their business model and today, this business house is poised to achieve the $5 billion turnover through a Humane Capitalism model. I had written about this in BW Businessworld in 2013. Businesses need to understand that when they do good for people and the planet, it also has a huge impact on their profits. Your overall performance for all stakeholders is much better when you do good.
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