Diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives becoming more embedded in the corporate psyche: Dr. Nidhi Pundhir, Vice President, Global CSR, HCL Foundation
The world is going through a transformational phase in which individuals, governments and corporations are re-evaluating their responsibilities and actions towards people and the planet. Honoring its commitment towards holistic and integrated development of communities, HCL Foundation, the corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm of HCLTech that completed a decade of impact and stewardship, proactively collaborated with the national and local governments, NGO partners and communities to meet the needs on the ground. It is reflected in the activities that have been undertaken, which are now more focused and purpose led. Not just companies but citizens too are increasingly aware of how the brands they are associated with are performing on the CSR front or working towards social good and the environment. This commitment will only increase further in 2023 resulting in increased transparency and accountability in CSR activities. It will also lead to diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives becoming more embedded in the corporate psyche.
Pillars of focus in 2023 should be:
a. With the recent rise in COVID-19 cases across the world, it has become more important than ever to learn from the experiences of the past two years and implement them to tide over the evolving health scenario. We’ve made good progress, but rural areas will need continuous support to sustain it.
b. Education will remain an important focal point, especially in the post-COVID-19 scenario. The need to bridge the gap with children who lost precious time has become even more paramount. With the increased adoption of technology, getting children educated through support to schools and communities will help in universalizing free and compulsory elementary education for all.
c. As the climate crisis accelerates, technology-powered solutions will maximize efficiency in the race to become net zero. We need to act responsibly to ensure that a sustainable impact is created through our actions and initiatives.
d. Water crisis has emerged as a serious challenge to us. A multi-dimensional approach involving all stakeholders such as the government, corporations and local communities is required to improve groundwater management, with the support from the affected communities, so that this precious natural resource remains available for future generations.
An all-hands-on-the-deck approach will help CSR programs make a lasting impact. While the government has provided the framework, it is important to foster partnerships between public and private bodies to carry forward those. Moreover, local communities will become important not only as recipients of various program benefits but as partners that will ensure sustainable implementations. We will also see more employees volunteering for CSR programs as they envisage a greater role for themselves as citizens.