Large Companies are spending their CSR money on a variety of activities. Most of them have their own foundations or trusts through which these programs are implemented. It is also observed that quite a few companies have contributed to premier educational institutions like the IITs, IIMs and even private educational institutions.
As Factly reported earlier, a total of 6338 crore rupees were spent on CSR activities by 460 different companies in 2014-15. This story looks at the activities of some of the top spenders in 2014-15.
Companies to report CSR activities in their Annual Report
The CSR rules mandate each qualifying company to constitute a CSR committee and formulate a CSR Policy. The rules prescribe the list of CSR activities that can be undertaken. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has also issued a circular in 2014 clarifying various issues about CSR activities. All the qualifying companies are required to report annual expenditure under CSR in a prescribed format in the Annual Board Report.
Reliance Industries Limited
- A total expenditure of Rs 706 Crore was made on CSR activities, which is more than the prescribed 2% limit
- Around 95% of expenditure has been made through Reliance Foundation. The list of NGOs partnered with the foundation has not been published.
- While contributions have been made to Reliance University, Schools and hospitals, 72% of contribution has been made to a single entity, H N Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre. Incidentally, Sir H.N. Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre in Mumbai was rebuilt in the same financial year with state-of-the-art facilities to provide tertiary care. Promoting preventive health care is a permissible CSR activity under Schedule VII of the Companies Act.
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC)
- Only 75% of the budget is utilized. Longer gestation period and projects in transition phase are cited as reasons for falling short in utilization.
- The project outlay of Rs 660 Crore has been divided equally across five areas – Education including Livelihood, Health, Environment, Infrastructure support near ONGC areas and Promotion of artisans and sports
- Details of implementing agency are not provided.
- ONGC has registered a Foundation and recruitment is ongoing to build the Foundation as an effective tool for implementing CSR policy
- Infosys spent a total of 239.54 Crores out of the mandated 243 Crores in 2014-15. According to the Annual Report, the balance amount was spent in April 2015.
- The names of beneficiary organization have been mentioned.
- 15% of contribution is to Akshaya Patra Foundation towards eradicating malnutrition and hunger.
- Next top 5 grantees also include Chennai Mathematical institute, Ramakrishna Mission, IISC Bengaluru, Infosys Science Foundation and Spark IT Training Program run by the Infosys Foundation. The website specifically mentions that the Spark IT Program does not guarantee an employment opportunity with Infosys after the training.
- Other allocations include donations to IIT Bombay under healthcare and medical facilities and to Banerghatta National park towards destitute care and rehabilitation
- Out of the 132.7 Crores spent on CSR activities, ‘Program of Higher Education in Engineering and Technology linked to skills development for the IT Industry’ received over 58% of total expenditure
- Partnered with around 68 implementing agencies like IIM Bangalore and BITS Pilani and also includes a private sector company, Bhoruka Power Corporation Limited.
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)
- More than 220 Crores were spent in 2014-15 against a mandated 285 Crore.
- 70% of the expenditure was made through TCS foundation. The foundation does not have a separate website and the details of implementing agencies of the foundation are also not given.
- Some of the supported activities include Tech support for hospitals and child line software to track missing children
Mahindra & Mahindra
- A total of 83.24 Crore were spent on CSR activities.
- A sum of 80 Crore has been allocated across 31 projects, with largest project size of around 8 Crore.
- Some of the activities were implemented through K C Mahindra Education Trust
- A total of 82.35 Crores were spent on various CSR activities like Water conservation, Project Shakti, hand-washing behaviour change and drinking water programmes.
- 56% of the total CSR outlay was towards Project Shakti. Project Shakti provides livelihood enhancing opportunities to over 70,000 Shakti Entrepreneurs who distribute HUL products in more than 165,000 villages and reach over four million rural households
- Has a separate Unilever Foundation and a Fair & Lovely Foundation.
- A total of 171.46 Crore spent on various CSR activities.
- 25% of the expenditure was made towards three heads- livelihood, gender equality and reducing inequalities in Jharkhand, Odisha and other states.
- Programs were implemented directly and through TATA Steel Rural Development Society
- Allocations were also made towards reviving traditional arts and crafts
The following are some of the observations.
- More than half of top 50 BSE 250 companies have their own foundations or trusts.
- While inclusive growth is the broader goal, companies seem to be taking a liberal interpretation of activities in Schedule VII and making contributions to IITs, IIMs etc. Interestingly, contributions are also being made to private companies like Wipro had made a contribution to Bhoruka Power Corporation Limited (under the heading Energy).
- It looks like the CSR expenditure of the bigger corporations is being allocated in alignment with their strategic business interests like Wipro and Infosys have made substantial contribution towards IT skills training, Mahindra & Mahindra towards vocational skills related to automobile through social enterprises like LabourNet and Unilever towards Shakti women entrepreneurs who sell FMCG products in villages.
- The transparency levels were low especially in certain cases where bulk of the allocation was made to a foundation. In such cases, detailed list of activities undertaken by such foundations was not provided.
Though this is only the first year of mandatory CSR expenditure, the activities undertaken by various large companies does give a fair idea of which way this might go in the future. The government would do well to review these activities and issue further guidelines on what could be taken up and what cannot be.
(This is Part 2 of the series on CSR Expenditure by various Companies. In Part 1, we looked at the overall CSR expenditure of 460 companies in 2014-15)