How CSR Audit can help the corporations to assess the impact of CSR project?

Impact Assessment (IA) is a vital component to assess and analyse the effect of the project activities in the lives of the beneficiaries. It enables the organisations realise the relevant economic, social and environmental impact of a project. The practice precisely focuses on learning and analysis.

If we talk specifically about Fiinovation CSR Services,we work on various steps of a CSR Project .

1.Partnership Management

2.Policy Design

3.Monitoring & Evaluation

4.Impact Assessment.

5.CSR-CSO Partnership

6.Social Return on Investment

Fiinovation Company is based out of New delhi and operating since 2008.

Our approach of embedding common indicators of impact assessment and economic valuation has set us apart in the sector and has created a unique niche for us. Throughout the IA process, it’s important to employ the realistic methods and tools depending on the project, its vision & mission, output/outcome of the programme, Monitoring reports, Evaluation reports and any other documents available.


Fiinovation Pvt. Ltd also helps in the development of an indicator matrix which allows recommending sustainability - mapping which is followed by a well-drafted Impact Assessment Report.

The Impact Assessment process at our organisation include the below steps, while it may vary at different firms, but our Fiinovation Reviews & uses the most practical and tested methods.

1. Review of intervention and the planning process

2. Dedicated consultations with targeted stakeholders

3. Thorough Area exploration

4. Rigorous consultation with various departments within the organisation

5. Analysis of findings and data collation

6. Summary and presentation of findings of the IA report

7. Forwarding IA findings to the Board

8. Publication of the IA report (as per partner's requirement)
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Fiinovation Assisting Corporations and NGOs in Natural Resource Conservation Projects

Fiinovation is committed towards conservation of the natural resources from the last eight years. This year, understanding the need of promoting water conservation, rainwater harvesting and plantation, Fiinovation through its CSR-CSO Partnership practice assisted Uflex and Aroh Foundation in implementation of CSR initiatives in the national capital region. The project will be carried out for the next three years where the capacity of the local communities will be build to conserve and optimize the natural resource base.

The project is being funded by Uflex which is one of the largest flexible packaging company in India. Aroh Foundation is engaged in implementation of the project and have been chosen for the same after thorough scrutiny of credibility and previous experience of similar projects.

 

The Uflex project is being implemented in two villages of Gautam Budhha Nagar and is estimated to benefit more than 400 farmers. The project will involve construction of in-situ and ex-situ rainwater harvesting structures to address the water scarcity concerns of the people. Aroh Foundation is known for their work in the social development and environment restoration and will help the farmers build field bunds and farm ponds to arrest rain water. The project will also include organic and inorganic mulching to protect the degrading top soil and plantation drive.

 

Other aspect of the project is the horticulture production which shall be grown in the community and individually owned land. The specific activities will be beneficial for the livestock also due to availability of fodder all year round in the implementation area. The farmers will also benefit from the plants bearing fruits.

 

Fiinovation expects that the project will increase the ground water levels due to increased percolation and therefore, there will be better availability of water for domestic and agricultural use. There are plans for implementation of similar water conservation projects across India, especially the drought hit regions. Today, such initiatives are not only beneficial for the farmers but has become a necessity. It is inspiring to see corporations such as Uflex investing their CSR funds towards environment conservation and sustainable development.

 

Let us hope that through the water conservation projects, India will be able to resolve the water crisis in  future. Fiinovation urge corporations to focus on partnerships for implementation of similar CSR initiatives.

Fiinovation – Fighting Climate Change with Education

After watching the movie Ice Age III, my daughter started asking all sorts of questions like the reason behind climate change, impact of global warming, measures to reduce the impact and so on. Unfortunately, I also didn’t have the answers to many of her questions. Our children hear a lot about climate change through media, but it is largely absent from school science curricula and therefore, they have no credible outlet to ask their own questions.

All of us know that children are among the most vulnerable to climate change. Its direct impact can be seen on the educational provisions with increasing frequency of extreme weather conditions like flooding, cyclones, storms, heat waves and drought. Over the time, gradual environmental changes such as rise in the sea level, salination, changes in season patterns, desertification, soil erosion, etc. are also deteriorating the livelihoods, and reduce household incomes and eventually, forcing parents to send their children to work to support the family rather than school.

Fiinovation is a research organization working on addressing climate change and it believes that it is the biggest challenge of our time and need to be taken very seriously. It is the burning issue of discussion in various conferences and meetings around the world. As a result, majority of research studies on education and climate change have been focusing on the impact of climate and its associated environmental changes on schooling. However, the debates and arguments continue to emphasize on technical solutions or ‘knowledge transfer’ but ironically, without involving with education.

Realizing the seriousness of the issue and its impact on children, Fiinovation started exploring the connection between climate change and education. Why I am emphasizing on education of children is because children have enormous potential to assimilate knowledge and they are the disseminators at home and in the neighbourhood. I think it is high time that Corporations too should think about the serious investment plans in the sustainable development of our country.

The need of the hour is to be proactive and give every opportunity to our children to learn and observe the effects of a changing climate with innovative technological based applications .We may invest for the sustainable development of our planet and allow our children to shape the world that soon will be theirs.

Dr. Seema Pawar

Fiinovation

Fiinovation Reviews the Concepts of CSR and Sustainability

Although the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability go hand in hand, there exists a thin line of difference between the two that makes it imperative to distinguish one from the other.

CSR is basically the responsibility of the corporations to give back to the society in which they operate. While concept of sustainability focuses on utilization of resources without compromising the needs of the present and future generations.

Both the concept can cater to reduction of pollution, water scarcity, preserving the environment etc. Yet, as per the concept all corporate social responsibility activities need not be sustainable. However, there are many of the view that catering to any sustainability issue is already a responsible act.

Although the concept of corporate social responsibility with respect to the Companies Act, 2013 is a bit different from what is perceived in the west. In India that activities that comprises CSR are listed under Schedule VII. Therefore, a clear distinction has been made between corporate social responsibility and other activities.

Now if a company considering energy efficiency as part of sustainability then that would not be considered as CSR in India. An expert suggests sustainability more as a mandatory requirement, sustainability is perceived as a business specific approach that benefits the business itself in the long run.

Fiinovation reviews that corporate social responsibility and sustainability although sound synonymous but pertain to and influence different groups of the society. The politicians or the government at large is more concerned with the actions of the businesses with regards to their CSR.  Driven by compliance, CSR is quite debatable a topic on the other hand sustainability is actually driven by responsibility to work towards preserving the environment and achieving sustainable growth.

Fiinovation understands that many companies like Reliance, TATA, HCl are taking initiatives to provide education to underprivileged children like the Shiv Nadar foundation is helping thousands of children to achieve a better future through their numerous schools. Similarly many companies such as Nestle, Phillips, and Tata etc are working towards becoming 100 per cent renewable company.

Fiinovation believes that the above discussion does reflect on the differences between the two concepts but the reality is that neither of the two can exist in isolation of the other. Both CSR and sustainability operate in symbiotic relationship with each other. One cannot become a sustainable company without respecting social and environmental norms. A CSR initiative lacking the sustainable view is a half hearted effort on the side of the corporate, merely designed to spend the allocated funds to comply with legal requirements. It’s when sustainability is brought into the ambit of social responsibility there occurs a paradigm change.

Fiinovation understands that both the concepts might overlap each other at some point but it is important to understand the distinction between them.

Written By – Kshitij Gupta

Published By – Fiinovation

Fiinovation Reviews – CSR Expectations in the Financial Year 2016-17

Fiinovation comprehends the growing CSR initiatives by corporates both private and public have placed a number of expectations to be met in in the fiscal year 2016-2017. Introduction of legislations have penetrated the framework of businesses and audit of the CSR initiatives has made the entire process a lot more transparent. All these factors have given a momentum to the CSR initiatives of both the private companies as well as public ones. Here are a few expectations form the CSR initiatives of companies in the year 2016-17:

  • Employment Opportunities – As recognized by the Finance Minister, this area is one the crucial ones and needs to be focused on an urgent basis. It is therefore expected that a combined effort of both the PSU and private sector companies will elevate the employment rate in the country. Fiinovation believes the companies through their CSR livelihood projects can definitely improve the skills of the communities and also create employment opportunities.
  • Cleaner Environment – The success of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has prompted the necessity of taking it to a higher level this year. The funds accumulated in the Swachh Bharat Kosh last year with the help of corporates contributing under their CSR initiative were around 42.6 crores. The number is expected to increase substantially this year. The government is urging companies to invest more on environment initiatives.
  • Employment Creation – The “Make in India” campaign is likely to see a number of startup cropping up this year that will provide gainful employment to a plethora of unemployed youth. The Kaushal Vikas Yojna focused towards the same issue of unemployment is expected to see a substantial contribution from corporates. Companies can also connect their CSR initiatives with Make in India which can generate employment. In addition this there is also an expected increase in the funding of SMEs by big corporates as compared to last year.
  • Rural Economy – Both private and public sector recognizes that the need for development of infrastructure in the rural economies and therefore the CSR activities will be centered around the model of uplifting the same. Efforts are expected to be channelized in the areas of micro irrigation and finance. Educating the people in the field of finance will provide a ready pool of skilled force that can be provided gainful employment in the banking, insurance and microfinance sectors. Companies like HDFC are moving in this direction of sustainable growth and are expected generate substantial employment and infrastructural development in the rural sector in alignment with the goals of the union government.
  • Education – It is likely that education which has been a major area of CSR investments will continue to remain one of the top most priorities of the companies. There are chances that few companies will contribute towards higher education and research. Fiinovation believes that quality of education will also be an area of focus.

Therefore, Fiinovation understands that in the future CSR activities will be more strategic as predicted by analysing the current trends. Even if these estimations do not fall in place at the end of the year, CSR audit provides enough assurance to the community at large.

Written By – Kshitij Gupta

Published By – Fiinovation

Fiinovation Urges To Focus On Climate Smart Agriculture

Perhaps the greatest pressures on the natural environment is incurred due to the human population’s intrinsic need for food. Since times immemorial, huge tracts of forest lands have been cleared up to provide the ever increasing shortfall of agricultural land. However, Fiinovation understands that the problem has just worsen post industrial age which brought forward a technological boom ensuring conducive propagation of conditions that support a monstrous expansion of human population throughout the globe. Fiinovation believes that it is needless to say that our agricultural practices have time and again put pressure on our living environment.

Fiinovation comprehends that the Climate Smart Agriculture or CSA is an ideology which focuses on researching and integrating techniques in food production that make it sustainable, and to an extent environment friendly. The modern CSA entails the following approach; firstly, it aims at managing climate risks stemming from agricultural practices. This includes process analysis that helps identify practices that make the environment vulnerable to certain risks. Thereafter looking for solutions and alternatives to replace malpractices. Secondly, planning for transition. This entails not only looking for alternative farming practices but also for alternative livelihood solutions for communities that can be shifted to other industries in order to minimise their impact on the living environment. Thirdly, undertaking a proactive approach to continuously scout for ways that can reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions from agricultural practices.

Fiinovation believes that CSA is aims to answer quite complex issues when it comes to addressing interlinked issues such as food security and sustainable development. This is quite relevant to the underdeveloped and developing nations with a significant population still suffering from hunger and malnutrition. In fact CSA approaches are being popularised in India with a huge spurt that has been provided to permaculture and horticulture in the country. Fiinovation believes that farmers across the land are now adopting integrated farming practices that are leading to greater economies and scalability. Thus, it has been realised that within the this ideology of CSA is packed a lot of hope for generations to come; as it could be a savior for the planet from the many perils it currently suffers.

If you like the article, share your views at publications@fiinovation.co.in. For more information follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Written By – Kshitij Gupta

Published By – Fiinovation

Fiinovation Reviews – The Importance of Sustainable Transportation

With global warming on the rise, lots of countries are putting their heads together to reduce the effects of pollution and to help save resources. Fiinovation understands sustainable transportation is a one step forward towards that direction. It should have the power to supply the energy source in an indefinite manner and includes vehicles used for all three road, water and air transportation. Apart from this, it also concerns other aspects related to the smooth operation of the transportation system like the installation of pipe lines for the carriage of fuels like petrol or gas.

The reason this kind of system was developed was to see how it impacts the climate in general. Sustainable transportation is so developed so that the vehicles smoke emissions level go round, which is one of the principal ways that is increasing the heat of the earth, by accelerating the green house effect. Fiinovation understands the heat from the sun gets trapped more and more as the dust and smoke level on the surface increases. Countries that have already opted for replacing their conventional transport with this new alternatives, have reported their general temperature levels going down and also recording more rainfall.

Fiinovation understands conventional transportation also consumes about 25% of the total energy production on earth, which could have been otherwise used in a more significant and fruitful manner. Not to mention, they run on fuel whose prices are forever increasing in the international market. Sustainable transport on the other hand, can run on renewable energy. Vehicles are developed that can run on solar charged batteries, thus saving huge amounts of money for the general users as well. Fiinovation comprehends that this can go a long way in reducing the costs of living of the entire community as a whole and the money can be used elsewhere for development. Stress is also given to community carpools so that the overall number of vehicles on the roads can be brought down.

Global summits of various countries are increasingly emphasizing the use of sustainable transportation and thanks to technology; the goal of converting the conventional mode of transport seems attainable enough. Other than this, the companies can also take up initiatives to promote sustainable transportation. Fiinovation believes companies with large campuses and large number of employees can start car-pool and electric car transport service within their campuses.

 

Written By Rajdeep Arghya Biswas

Published By – Team Fiinovation

Fiinovation Urges Quantification of Emission Targets

Climate change has become a major cause of concern over the last two decades. Since, scientists discovered that the ozone layer in the stratosphere is getting depleted with the hole becoming bigger than the continent of Antarctica, there has been some serious discussion to reduce green house gas emissions in the world.

It is believed that an anthoprogenic activity which has increased since the industrial revolutions in the western world has been damaging the environment without understanding the consequences. Today, even countries such as India, Brazil, China, South Africa and other developing countries has also become significant contributors of emissions in the world. Therefore, Fiinovation reviews it is the collective efforts of all nations to work towards emission reduction.

The world has tried to come together for a climate change agreement since 1991 in Rio, but finally the agreement came in Paris, 2015. This was a historic event as all UN member states, including United States came together to ensure that all nations have collective yet differentiated responsibility towards addressing climate change risks. Fiinovation understands that, this has provided all nations an opportunity to do their bit and reduce environmental degradation for a sustainable future.

As far as India is concerned it has successfully negotiated its terms and conditions to continue to grow along with increasing efforts towards conservation of environment. Before the Paris talks the United States and China jointly announced that they would reduce their emissions by more than 30 percent. This led to pressure on India as it is the third largest emitter in the world. Soon, India committed to reduce the emission intensity of its GDP by 33-35 percent by 2030 from 2005 level. Fiinovation believes that India also plans to increase the percentage of renewable energy to 40 percent in the energy mix by 2030.

Fiinovation reviews that presently the environment ministry is working to quantify emission cut targets for all central infrastructure ministries in key polluting sectors. Similar such actions should be taken up by corporations as well. Corporations understandably are engines of growth of any economy and thus engage in utilisation of natural resources. Therefore, they are responsible to give back to society in as many ways as possible. India also plans to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

Quantification of targets and areas where it can be done to meet the target of overall 35 percent reduction in emission intensity will be submitted by the ministries. It is expected that these quantifications will help adhere to the commitments made by individual countries in the Paris Agreement to keep the global temperature rise under 2 degree Celsius by year 2100.

By Rahul Choudhury

Media & Communications, Fiinovation