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Seminar on Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability

On 28th of November 2015, a seminar on CSR and Sustainability was held at Delhi School of Business in the august presence of three senior executives from different companies. The Key Note Address was delivered by Mr. Shyam Bang, Executive Director at Jubilant Life Sciences (Key-note Speaker), an active member of the Sustainability and CSR Committee of Jubilant Life Sciences Limited. The second panelist at the Seminar was Mr. Anindya Bhattacharya, Director at Ernst and Young LLP (Panellist) who has worked in several projects mostly implemented across the South and South East Asia regions in the areas of climate change, renewable energy, national energy policy, energy conservation, economic cooperation, energy market integration and regional development. The third speaker was Mr. Subhi Quraishi, Co-Founder of ZMQ Software (Panellist) who has developed a game based learning and behaviour change model called Real-World Risk Reduction in a Risk-Free Gaming Environment successfully applied in many health based behaviour change games by ZMQ.

The Seminar commenced with a warm welcome speech given by Mr. I. M. Pandey, Director General of Delhi School of Business and then Mr S. C. Vats, Chairman, VIPS shared with the audience his views on CSR and Sustainability. The Key Note address by Mr. Shyam Bang started with enlightening the audience on how the concept of sustainability has gained more importance over years stating factors like raw material availability, cost of production, competition, changes in technology and many others which affect sustainable development. Mr. Bang believes that to practice CSR one must know how to sustain himself then only will he be able to make a larger impact. He then gave a brief introduction to Jubilant Life Sciences and that it is among the first ten companies to publish its Sustainability Report and also to form the CSR & Sustainability Committee at the Board level. The company has adopted the guidelines of the Global Report Initiative for reporting sustainability information. There are various policies followed by the company like Sustainability policy, Climate change mitigation policy, Green supply chain policy and many more along with various projects being developed like Carbon Disposure Project and Community Service Project. To measure their sustainability performance in a structured manner, Jubilant Life Sciences has identified various parameters like capital deployed, energy consumed, water consumed, manpower deployed, gas emissions and others. Each parameter is evaluated to derive the economic value (EBIDTA) generated by them. Mr. Bang also mentioned few programmes, activities and policies that Jubilant Life Sciences has undertaken to engage with its stake holders like Shareholders, Suppliers, Customers, Community, Employees and others. Mr. Bang mentioned that spending on CSR activities is secondary to the allocation of resources efficiently which creates a greater impact. To conclude Mr. Bang highlighted that anything which has to be improved should be measured, reported and monitored. After a short tea break, Mr. Anindya Bhattacharya shared his experiences with the audience informing them about the increased poverty level and development gaps in the world and that the root cause of such state is maldistribution as well as irresponsible use of resources. Mr. Bhattacharya said that he learnt about sustainability in a village in Dalat, a place in Vietnam known for its local coffee production. Further he explains that a lady in the village, who owns a coffee shop provides the locals coffee free of cost in the morning, she also gives money to the workers of a coffee field so that their children can be educated ensuring that the workers do their work efficiently. Mr. Bhattacharya said he was amazed that the lady was able to expand her business from 1000 rupees to 15000 rupees and she maintains her customers and suppliers contributing back to society.  Mr. Bhattacharya, from this experience, developed the concept of valuation of sustainable business. According to him, the three areas of Sustainability activities that companies generally use are Sustainable business strategy, sustainability reporting, integrating statutory and voluntary reporting requirements. He further says that in addition to economic value, the economic value of social value should be calculated by every company. He moves on to explain his concept of valuation of sustainable business which starts with inclusive growth factors, the key areas that need to be considered in top line growth are produced capital, human capital and natural capital. These need to be identified, then their potential returns need to be estimated and then the results are also segregated. He gives an example, human capital can be measured in terms of education capital that is being invested in girls and boys and as they grow and start earning that capital matures. Mr. Bhattacharya says that produced capital belongs to the company but human capital and natural capital have to be given back to the society and in this way it can be calculated how much has been given back to society. Concluding he says calculating economic value is not sufficient to demonstrate an improvement process in CSR and sustainability because it is calculated only for one company in an economy whereas it should be done in the context of whole economy or matched against a national and international benchmark level and that solutions to problems are not ready-made but have to be designed. The last speaker was Mr. Subhi Quraishi who introduced himself first, talked about his family, background and where he comes from. He also, with all his zeal, expressed his enthusiasm for the Gandhian way of business at ZMQ, a social enterprise. Mr. Quraishi has devised a model which focusses on identifying organised rural networks where mobile technology can be implemented successfully. Mr. Quraishi said that everyone should be shown the ground realities instead of the sky as Bill gates and especially the youth who have the potential to become solution finders to problems such as sustainability. According to him, one of the most important responsibilities required to take the cause of sustainable development forward is to talk and impart knowledge to others specially young generation so that the future can be shaped by people who are socially responsible and can practice sustainability. He highlighted that development through technology reaches more than 78% (tele-density) of people of India but still there is a huge gap between the connectivity that has been achieved through technology and the development that is happening. He also cited an example, informing there is a mobile network tower provided at top of Mt. Everest and there is 4g connectivity at the base camp but the people living in between (in Mt. Everest) still have  no education and no proper development and are living in poverty. He addresses the big question on how these gaps can be filled by using technology efficiently in the best way which is exactly what he has been trying to achieve through various initiatives undertaken by ZMQ. Mr. Quraishi talks about various technological developments that have been happening over the past few years and how these can prove to be advantageous for CSR and sustainability activities. He also gave a few examples of the projects that are in place and the upcoming projects as well, like Mobile for Development, a lab designed to find practical solutions to connect people and enable development through technology. He talked about MIRA Channel, which employs female workers to provide specialised services to rural women. Mr. Quraishi feels that connectivity is the only resource which is made by man, not depleting and ever growing in size so he has developed another new initiative, Mobile for All through which he is seeking to advocate Universal Right to Connectivity as a Right to Life to deliver lifeline services like primary healthcare, education, disaster information and others. At this point, he cites an example concluding, a woman in rural village has earned and saved enough to buy a mobile is still in pain trying to give birth to a child as she has no connectivity to call for help, Mr Quraishi says India cannot be called connected where talking to friends can be paid for but a woman dying delivering a child cannot be paid for, leaving a great impact on the audience, the leaders of tomorrow.

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