Experts at the fourth edition of prestigious Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Health Impact Awards on Monday lauded the government’s efforts to deep-dive into the environment-health nexus and the companies’ efforts and innovative approach to carrying out CSR activities despite the COVID-19 crisis.
Noting that a poor environment can cause a loss of up to USD 4 billion by 2030, Atul Bagai, India head of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said, “India is possibly the first country in the world to understand the deep nexus between poor environment and poor health. The joint steering committee by the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) is a commendable and innovative approach – WHO and UNEP are working closely with the government on this. The move comes at an opportune time – globally, 90 million premature deaths happen every year because of the way we are using the natural resources and we are trying to find the reason for this pandemic.”
“CSR became a tool to combat COVID and we saw a lot of traction and innovation on part of the companies to address the crisis. They helped the migrant labourers and donated to the PM-CARES fund. The health cards announced by the Prime Minister may also become a potent instrument for CSR, converging SDGs and CSR,” said Dr Bhaskar Chatterjee, Former DG and CEO of Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, also known as the Father of CSR in India.
Other guests at the event included Dr Hema Divakar, Founder & Medical Director, Divakar’s Specialty Hospital; Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, Secretary-General of The Global Interfaith WASH Alliance; and Dr. Rajeev Gautam, President, HORIBA India.
“This is not CSR, it is HSR – human social responsibility, because life is not about having more, it is about more, share more give more – that is the true purpose of CSR. We have to bring people together through our initiatives and institutions,” Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, Co-Founder of Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA) and President of Parmarth Niketan, said in a video message.
“Never in the history of humankind was hygiene awareness as high as it is today. Awareness about hygiene can prevent the use of medicine. To improve hygiene awareness of the people, we have set up a World Toilet College in Rishikesh and another is coming up at Aurangabad,” says Mr. Jack Sim, Founder, World Toilet Organization.
“CSR is often considered as an extension of charitable activities by profitable businesses, but it has the potential to do more. The change in the Companies Act in 2014 mandated CSR as a part of business for the first time anywhere in the world. By making CSR a permanent part of running a business, an opportunity has been created for these businesses to make a difference – a social impact. The award is an effort to honour all those who have imbibed responsible business practices as their core philosophy by initiating the most impactful health CSR ventures even during the pandemic,” said Kamal Narayan, CEO, Integrated Health and Wellbeing (IHW) Council.
The special COVID-19 category of awards this year will recognise exemplary efforts of institutions and individuals under CSR COVID Relief Project (Overall Community Support); CSR COVID Protection Project; CSR COVID Indigenous Response Project; COVID Healthcare Providers (Private Sector); COVID Public Health Warriors; COVID Social Impact Businesses; COVID Essential Heroes; and COVID Social Champions (Institution & Individual).
By: Murtuza Merchant