At the unveiling of Pitch Top 50 Brands 2017, Rajashree Birla, renowned philanthropist and Director on the Board of all the major Aditya Birla Group of Companies: viz., Aditya Birla Nuvo, UltraTech Cement, Grasim and Hindalco, spoke about the need for compassionate capitalism.
Speaking about how Corporate Social Responsibility was an invaluable brand enhancer, Birla said, “We believe, at the corporate level, CSR is a major source of differentiation, and a positional advantage. Embedding societal concerns in a company’s priority is absolutely integral to brand building. Business is not simply an end in itself. It has to result also in the larger good of society.”
“When an organisation transcends business and moves to improve the lot of the marginalised, they earn a reputation as good, responsible and caring corporate citizens. This is a great brand proposition. In progressive organisations, the social vision forms part of the business vision. It does give a great edge,” added Birla.
Birla also spoke about how companies that look beyond maximising wealth and profits are value-driven and have a sense of purpose perform better than those companies with a thrust on short-term gains. “Customers show a definite preference for companies with a social conscience. A growing body of evidence reveals the positive linkages between good corporate citizens and financial performance. Studies by international and national socially responsive investment research firms demonstrate that companies that look beyond maximising wealth and profits are value-driven and have a sense of purpose, perform better than those companies with a thrust on short-term gains. Corporate reputations play a decisive role in not only influencing buying decisions, but winning customer loyalty as well,” said Birla.
Highlighting the Corporate Social Responsibly that the Birla Group has carried on for generations, she added, “At the personal level, to contribute significantly for the upliftment of the underprivileged has been and continues to be part of an ongoing journey with the Birla family. It all began with my grandfather-in-law Shri Ghanshyam Das Birla. Working with Mahatma Gandhi, besides completely financing the freedom struggle, he built schools, colleges, temples and much more, reaching out to the poor. This continued with my husband Adityaji. My son Kumar Mangalam carries (forward) this legacy. Giving and caring for the underprivileged is embedded in our Group’s DNA. Through the Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development, which I spearhead, we work in 5,000 villages, and reach out to 7.5 million people, with a dedicated team of 250 professionals, led by Dr. Pragnya Ram. We are engaged in projects related to healthcare, education, sustainable livelihood, infrastructure development and social reform.”