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Mandatory CSR in India

August 8, 2013

The lower house of the Indian parliament has passed a new Companies Bill that requires companies above a certain size to ensure that they spend at least 2 percent of annual profits on corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. The upper house of the parliament is likely to pass the bill into law soon.

A more common approach to CSR is corporate philanthropy. This includes monetary donations and aid given to local and non-local nonprofit organizations and communities, including donations in areas such as the arts, education, housing, health, social welfare, and the environment, among others.  Some organizations do not like a philanthropy-based approach as it might not help build on the skills of local populations, whereas community-based development generally leads to more sustainable development.

Another approach is to incorporate the CSR strategy directly into the business strategy of an organization. For instance, procurement of fair trade products.

Greenearth Culture has embarked on a journey to develop a social enterprise that will help develop a much neglected and conventional product called the bamboo matte with a further neglected but vast workforce of traditional artisans.

There are a large number of women artisans from below poverty line families skilled in bamboo craft, but refrained from it due to lack of economic returns and unjust association of the product with social discrimination. The traditional perception of bamboo as a low cost material for short term applications coupled with meager financial returns has kept this sector from developing into a full fledged industry. Craft workers possessing inherent traditional skills ended up doing menial jobs, which in turn, led to increasing number of people engaging in vices thereby affecting basic family life and community living.  The lack of opportunities compelled some of these skilled artisans to migrate to cities to engage in low paying jobs leading to a torn village life.

The potential to put to use an environment-rejuvenating material, with hardcore design intervention and application of Kaizen techniques by Greenearth Culture yielded rich dividends and thus was born “CHIVA”, an eco-friendly alternative to surface lamination like Formica/Sunmica and Veneer. Chiva has been treated with non-toxic preservatives to increase its life expectancy and treated with natural dyes.  It also has an extended application for product design, packaging and of course, the imagination of the users.  More information on Chiva is available on our website

Our efforts has a 3-way effect – economic, social and environmental.  While reviving a dying art, it will help generate income for the artisans too thereby enabling them a better social life.  Above all it will help the environment, since it is produced out of bamboo – a self-rejuvenating wonder plant which is one of the fastest growing plants on the earth and which also helps curb the effects of global warming.

Reviving this dying craftsmanship and further empowering these women artisans as well as protecting the environment by encouraging and opting for bamboo matte products or applications in various aspects of their businesses can become a CSR activity for corporates.



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One Comment
  1. Reblogged this on Wyldewoody musings and commented:
    Interesting concept

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