• News
  • Columns
  • Interviews
  • BW Communities
  • BW TV
  • Subscribe to Print
BW Businessworld

Importance Of Compassionate Capitalism

Through the Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development, which I spearhead, we work in 5,000 villages

Photo Credit :


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an invaluable brand enhancer. I want to walk you through two levels — the corporate level, and at our Group level. We believe, at the corporate level, CSR is a major source of differentiation, and a positional advantage. Embedding societal concerns in a company’s priority, is absolutely integral to brand building. Business is not simply an end in itself. It has to result in the larger good of society.

When organisations transcend business to improve the lot of the marginalised, they earn a reputation as good, responsible and caring corporate citizens.  This is a great brand proposition. In progressive organisations, the social vision forms part of the business vision. It does give a great edge.  

Today it is talented people who provide the cutting edge to organisations.  Professionals of the highest order want increasingly to align with a company that not only enjoys a reputation for quality products and services but is also committed to social causes.  There is a tremendous “feel good factor” about such companies.  It builds the employer brand and is a pathway to attract, retain and energise a pool of talent.  

In the Edelman Trust Barometer 2016, about 85 per cent of employees, working in companies involved in societal issues, said they are fully committed to achieving their company’s vision. They were highly motivated, performance driven and had complete confidence in the future of the company.

Moreover, customers show a definite preference for companies with a social conscience.  A growing body of evidence reveals positive linkages between the good corporate citizen and financial performance. Studies by international and national socially responsive investment research firms demonstrate that companies that look beyond maximising wealth and profits are value-driven and have a sense of purpose, perform better than companies with a thrust on short-term gains.  Corporate reputations play a decisive role in not only influencing buying decisions, but winning customer loyalty as well.

Even shareholders and investors expect companies in which they invest to be sensitive to the needs of society. Every corporation is growth and earnings focused.  Raising funds is critical to financing growth. All international agencies such as Moodys, Fitch, S&P, J. P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, EDC, IFC, SMBC — review the impact of the group — as an alchemist in the social plane and sustainability practices.  

At the personal level, to contribute significantly to the upliftment of the underprivileged has been and continues to be, part of an ongoing journey with the Birla family. It all began with my grandfather-in-law, Ghanshyam Das Birla. Working with Mahatma Gandhi, besides completely financing the freedom struggle, he built schools, colleges, temples and much more, reaching out to the poor.  This continued with my husband, Adityaji.  My son Kumar Mangalam carries this legacy.
Through the Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development, which I spearhead, we work in 5,000 villages, and reach out to 7.5 million people, through a dedicated team of 250 professionals.

Kumar Mangalam backs us to the hilt.  So let me conclude in his words. I am sure it will resonate with all of you.  I quote  — “As we voyage into a sensational future, we must find it within ourselves to look beyond ourselves. It is the responsibility of every generation, to leave behind a safer, superior, more enlightened world, than the one that they inherit. When future generations look back upon us, they must credit us for being an organisation that actually foresaw the future and helped give the world a better tomorrow. As they say, giving is true having.”

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Tags assigned to this article:
magazine 22 July 2017 Aditya Birla Centre csr

Rajashree Birla

Birla is a philanthropist. She is also a director on major Aditya Birla Group companies

More From The Author >>