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    Environmental Corporate Social Responsibility spends up but still behind education, healthcare and rural projects

    Environmental Corporate Social Responsibility spends up but still behind education, healthcare and rural projects

    Environmental Corporate Social Responsibility spends up but still behind education, healthcare and rural projects
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    By Niral Sharma   IST (Updated)

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    In the year 2019-20, the amount spent for environmental sustainability was Rs 1,319 crore while it was Rs 6,354.34 crore for education, Rs 4332.97 crore for health care and Rs 2,081 crore for rural development projects.

    Indian companies are realigning businesses for a better and greener world, as mandated by leaders during every World Environment Day. Though spending on corporate social responsibility is rising, it still ranks fourth in overall CSR spending, a research report shows.
    And only 6.84 percent of the total amount is being spent on the cause, compared to 30.16 percent share in education, 18 percent in health care, and 10.63 percent on rural development projects, as per the latest data by Japan International Cooperation Agency on 'CSR Trends and Opportunities in India'.
    The term corporate social responsibility or CSR refers to practices and policies undertaken by corporations to contribute to the well-being of society and communities. These practices and policies include measures taken to improve several areas from education to the environment to gender equality to animal welfare.
    As per the data, in the year 2019-20, between 2014-15 and 2019-20, Rs 4,345.45 crore was spent on environmental sustainability while Rs 27,990 crore was spent on education and Rs 16,702 crore, and Rs 9,862.76 crore was spent on healthcare and rural development projects.
    The data shows that the spending on environmental sustainability improved by about 70 percent from 2014-15 to 2019-20. In contrast, it increased by 145 percent for education, 134.50 percent for healthcare, and 96 percent for rural development.
    “Many companies respond to needs expressed by communities and/or governments, which largely prioritise urgent needs such as health, education livelihoods while undervaluing important needs such as gender equality, environmental sustainability, etc.,” said the report.
    It added that sectors such as clean energy, water conservation and agroforestry require a level of technical knowledge and domain knowledge to assess solutions that CSR may not always possess.
    However, environmental sustainability stands higher compared to a minuscule amount for gender equality (0.37 percent), sports (1.25 percent), agro-forestry (0.27 percent), and technology incubators (0.14 percent).
    In the top 100 companies for CSR spending in India, Infosys, Tata Chemicals, ITC, Vedanta, JSW Steel, NTPC, HDFC Bank, IndusInd Bank, HCL Technologies and others are spending on the environment, shows a report by The CSR Journal.
    CSR initiatives toward the environment predominantly include afforestation, reforestation, setting up waste-to-energy plants, recycling and river cleaning, among others.
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