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  Social Responsibility

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Published on: Feb. 13, 2020, 6:58 p.m.
Small acts towards conservation can protect the future
  • We don’t inherit the earth; we borrow it from our children

By N.P. Singh. The author is MD & CEO, Sony Pictures Networks India

SR has been a mandated function in large organisations since its introduction in 2014. And when we talk about corporates, the first thing that comes to my mind is the evolution of businesses – from profit-making entities to organisations with meaningful connections. Being part of giving back to society unveils a human side to the vagaries of corporate life. Leaders across the globe have realised that “Businesses cannot be successful when the society around them fails”. What we give out we get in manifold proportions. Almost like a karmic benefit, but one which ultimately accrues to the giver, albeit, indirectly. From being just another government-mandated responsibility to companies adopting a purposeful mindset towards CSR, there has been a shift in the perception of CSR.

We live in a country that is moving in the direction of becoming a global superpower. To bring this vision to life, it is important to empower communities at the grassroots level. Companies need to build programmes with a goal to empower people with practical knowledge, hands-on experience, and inculcate a sense of inspiration to do great things and be self-sufficient. The key focus here is to create a workforce which is skilled and a society, which has enough opportunities for all. The Indian economy is now the sixth-largest in the world and helmed by a young population, it is forecasted to become the third-largest by the end of the next decade. India’s ebullient youth are a huge part of the world’s future. To contribute to the holistic development of the nation, it is imperative that each one of them is educated, skilled and empowered. Each one of us needs to realise that a literate nation is a marching nation. Therefore, we need to collectively work towards becoming a future-ready nation.

At Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN), we try to imbibe the spirit of ‘Ek India Happywala’ and under its aegis run our CSR programme. Ek India Happywala focusses on creating a positive impact in our ecosystem and is built around three pillars; empowerment, education and the environment. We interweave educations with music and sports to empower various segments of society, whilst at the same time focusing on protecting our planet’s environmental cover.

The time-tested proverb, “We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children”, stares us in our faces. If we deeply understand these words, we will be instinctively conscientious of all our actions in every aspect of our lives. We need to ensure we enable protracted growth of the resources we borrow from our future generations. We know that natural resources are limited – specifically water. Many areas in India repeatedly face drought-like conditions, and on the opposite side of the spectrum, there are devastating floods. We need to change these conditions and that is possible only by changing the way we do things. The 18 per cent of the world’s population that resides in India has access to only 4 per cent of usable water sources. Water scarcity in India may be due to both natural and man-made causes.

So, changing the way we manage our behaviour is the future. It is not enough to merely save water, but we need to deploy methods towards conserving it. Groundwater tables need to be maintained, watershed management needs to be tackled, and afforestation to avoid run-offs and landslides. It is imperative that water management begins at home. How do we keep a check on wastage? If water was a piece of gold how would we take care of it?

A task repeatedly done becomes a habit. A habit becomes a lifestyle. And that becomes a movement. Let this be our collective movement. Let’s change our behaviour, conserve and not take our natural resources for granted. If the Versova Beach in Mumbai can be cleaned and the Olive Ridley turtles return after nearly two decades, it is in the cellular memory of the turtles to nest in clean beaches. So, can each of us in our own little way, change our behaviour to make a difference?

I strongly believe that corporate leaders are the torchbearers of positive change and have more influence than ever before. Through our voice and purpose-driven actions, we can build a better future and enable the protracted growth of the resources we borrow for tomorrow’s world by our present actions. I believe that social responsibility is an investment that never fails. It’s about time we step up to lead and address this change.

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