CSR In Times of COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 - infectious disease triggered by corona virus has been declared as the global pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO). With the arrival of the pandemic, the socio-economic circumstances of the world got disrupted.
To mitigate the spread of this pandemic, the only way that the government could think of is social distancing. In March, 2020 many countries including India announced a complete lockdown to bring the situation in control and that led people to maintain both social and physical distance.
As the vaccine was not discovered, it was difficult to stop the spread of corona virus which further forced the government to extend the lockdown for several months. The Markets were closed, businesses were not operating and the majority of people lost their jobs during that period.
Here, comes the importance of Corporate Social responsibility (CSR), which will play a crucial role in this time of COVID-19 pandemic to support people who are trying their best to get through this challenging time. CSR is a self-regulating business model that implies the procedure of interaction by a company with the stakeholders and the public at large, creating a scenario and promoting the importance of being socially responsible.
As per Section 135 of Companies (CSR) Rules 2014 and Schedule VII of Companies Act 2013, every company having net worth of Rs 500 crores or more, or turnover of Rs 1,000 crore or more, or net profit of Rs 5 crore or more during the immediate preceding financial year, must have a CSR committee and spend at least 2% of the average net profits earned during three immediate preceding financial years to CSR activities.
The government of India is also inspiring the corporations to be the front-foot in providing the required support to the nation. As per a report of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs dated March 23, 2020, all expenditures incurred on activities related to covid-19, will be added as the permissible avenues for CSR expenditure.
Thankful to companies, along with CSR they are also promoting social distancing in creative ways. The most significant contribution is made by McDonald’s, Audi, Volkswagen, Coca-Cola and many more. The McDonald’s conveyed the message of social distancing by bifurcating its logo into two parts, while Audi separated all its four rings.
Companies Are Now Viewed By Their Impact On Society
Organisations were generally assessed on their financial performance across the years but now times have changed. Organisations are also viewed on how helpful they are to the people, society and the environment. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become one of the most important activities to build credibility among people.
Benefits of CSR During a Crisis
Heightens Brand Value
Many organizations like TATA believe that running a business is more about solving people’s problems and less about profitability. The more companies help, the more people get to know about the company and its good work. The brand of a company gets directly associated with doing social good and enhances the image in the minds of people.
Builds Customer Loyalty
People always like to be associated with good companies. When they get to know about the charitable purpose of the company, they are more likely to make a purchase from that company. It also provides a greater satisfaction among customers to know that their money is used for the society’s good, hence builds customer loyalty.
Attract the New Age Millennials
Millennials are aggressive and concerned about the society they live in. They are visionary, futuristic and have a problem-solving nature for solving a crisis. They tend to lean towards the personalities with whom they connect and consider them as their idols. For example, after the surge of COVID-19, Ratan Tata became more valuable than Mukesh Ambani among millennials as he is more involved in social projects.
Strengthens Employee Retention
Employees are more likely to stay in a company with purpose than a company with profits. For employees, a company is at their hearts that encourage them to be a part of social activities. It helps in matching their personal vision with the social vision of a company.
Enhances Employee Engagement
Executing a good CSR activity requires good strategy and planning. Companies encourage their employees to come forward and step-in with some great ideas to implement CSR activities effectively. When employees are invited to give their contribution in such activities, they feel valued and appreciated. It improves employee-employer relationships, the team’s dynamics and overall engagement level of the workforce.
Contributions Made by Companies During COVID-19 Crisis:
Apart from communicating creatively through brand elements like logos and taglines, some large corporations have made remarkable monetary contributions to save the nation from novel corona virus. The contributions made to combat the surge of corona virus are as follows:
To summarize above mentioned points, No doubt CSR activities are done for the general public but it starts with the employees of the organization. Right now, organizations have taken precautionary measures like working from home and providing free safety kits.
Giant companies are fully dedicated to giving their best to alleviate the current situation of corona virus and their role will be larger to support the decisions of the government as well.
Companies are forgetting about the competition and coming together to make a greater impact on the health of the nation so we could go back to normal as soon as possible. And as responsible citizens, we must also assist them by staying safe and helping people in need as much as we can.
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