Conversations at the Intersection of PR, Traditional & New Media

Concept PR forays into CSR consultancy

csrConcept PR announced the launch of its CSR Wing called Concept Community Relations (CR) touted to be the first in India’s Public Relation consultancy business.

“With the new Companies Act making it mandatory for corporates to make CSR spend of at least 2% of their net profits, we expect that the community and social development landscape to witness a sea change. This also offers a huge opportunity for corporates to give back to the society,” Mr. Vivek Suchanti, Chairman and Managing Director of Concept Group, said:

Said Mr. B N Kumar, Executive Director of Concept PR who heads Concept CR initiative: “We have been advising companies on the need to concentrate on CSR as part of their social obligation rather than looking at it as a tax saver. We are now initiating an entire new division which will advise clients with a 360-degree approach on CSR.”

Concept CR will not only rope in select NGOs after a careful scrutiny, but also work on creative and unique ways of making the CSR spend meaningful. “BNK’s team, with their vast experience can identify the right CSR project or even customize it to suit a particular company’s business,” Mr. Suchanti explained.

As per the new Companies Bill that has received Parliament’s seal of approval, Section 135 stipulates: “Every company having net worth of rupees five hundred crore or more, or turnover of rupees one thousand crore or more or a net profit of rupees five crore or more during any financial year shall constitute a Corporate Social Responsibility Committee of the Board consisting of three or more directors, out of which at least one director shall be an independent director.”

The CSR Committee will also have to formulate policy and monitor the implementation and report back to the Board of Directors.

“The Board ….shall ensure that the company spends, in every financial year, at least two per cent of the average net profits of the company made during the three immediately preceding financial years, in pursuance of its Corporate Social Responsibility Policy,” the Bill says.

The Act also stipulates that companies will have to give priority to local areas where they operate from, which makes it imperative for them to focus on local needs. The Act, thus, seeks to ensure an all-round development of the geographies around a corporate entity.

Since the Boards of Directors are accountable for every rupee that is spent, CSR activities may have to form part of the annual reports, much like the section on Corporate Governance. In the new, emerging transparency regime CSR spend will be most visible investment and the impact will therefore play a major role in a Company’s image, Mr Suchanti explained.

Formulating a CSR policy that fits into a particular company’s scheme of things will be a big challenge as the Companies Bill that has been passed by both the houses of Parliament and will shortly become an Act since the Presidential assent is imminent.

“This is not going to be just another spend or a matter of routine communication exercise. Companies will have to take it very seriously and we are happy that we have geared up to meet the new challenge,” Mr. Kumar added.

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Disclaimer: The thoughts expressed by me in this blog are my personal views and do not represent the views of my employer or the organizations I have been associated with. I believe in the principle of sharing information. Feel free to link to any of the posts in this blog.
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