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Exploring new horizons in CSR

               By Vikas Goswami, Head of the Godrej Group’s Good & Green programme

               Vikas Goswami, who heads CSR & Sustainability (Good & Green) for the Godrej Industries
               Group, shares wisdom from her 21-year career in CSR, and vision for the years ahead.

               “CSR is not a question of how you spend          that it was during a stint with British-
               your money; it is a question of how you          bilateral DFID, when she was associated
               make your money,” says Vikas                     with a research on ‘Rise of CSR in India’
               Goswami, who as Head of CSR &                    while studying at The University of
               Sustainability (Good & Green) for the            Wales, that she got an academic insight
               Godrej Industries Group , drives the             into the field. Over the years, her
               corporate major’s determined efforts to          passion for CSR saw her involvement
               achieve its CSR goals. A pioneer in the          with leading organisations, NGOs and
               CSR domain, Dr. Goswami is of the                agencies, which honed her into a CSR
               belief that corporate social                     stalwart with rich practical knowledge
               responsibility should be part of a               and theoretical underpinnings.
               company’s ethos and embedded in its              In the early years, it was always a
               business processes, instead of being             challenge for her to educate corporates
               reduced to just a mandatory expense or           that CSR was not about giving funds for
               a compliance factor that involves only           a cause or charity. “Some people go to
               shelling out funds. “CSR is a business           the temple and donate money to
               imperative, and not a societal                   assuage their guilt after wrongdoings.
               imperative,” says Dr. Goswami, sitting           CSR is not about making good for
               in her busy office on the fourth floor of        wrongdoings in business; the business
               Godrej One, the group’s energy-efficient         process should be fair and it’s perfectly
               headquarters, chalking out the agenda            okay for corporations to make fair
               for the group’s CSR forays in the years          profits,” says Dr. Goswami, adding that
               to come.
                                                                CSR should be aligned to the interests
                                                                of all stakeholders, and the
                                                                commitments towards the community.
               The early days

               Back in 1996, when the very concept of
               CSR was in a nascent stage, Dr.                  As consultant in the corporate sector
               Goswami had the opportunity to work              for years, she has advised companies
               with international organisations and             and NGOs on how to approach CSR. And
               development agencies that moulded                the process of gaining and sharing
               her career as a CSR professional. “While         knowledge continues till date. While on
               working on a project with ActionAid, I           one hand, she is into the last semester
               got exposure to the funding-side of              of the Harvard Sustainability Certificate
               development work. Those were early               course, on the other hand she is
               days when CSR was considered as just             delivering talks on CSR at IIMs.
               charity,” recalls Dr. Goswami, adding
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