There is a Chinese saying that goes: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” For centuries, the greatest thinkers have suggested the same thing: Happiness is found in helping others.
What is the secret of happiness/giving at CSS Corp?
Scientific research also provides compelling data to support the anecdotal evidence that giving is a powerful roadmap to personal growth and happiness. And that aligns with our belief at CSS Corp. Experiments show evidence that selflessness is hardwired in the brain—and it’s pleasant. Helping others may just be the secret to living a life that is not only happier but also healthier, wealthier, more productive, and meaningful. We respect and abide by this thought process.
At CSS Corp, our philosophy is built on strong emotional anchors (given below) that allow our employees and stakeholders to live the spirit of CSR and follow it both inside and outside our organization. The act of giving immediately changes your physiology, especially when you give to someone who is clearly in need. The selfless act of giving without any expectation of receiving brings out an emotional energy that fills you with a sense of purpose and accomplishment. The act of giving releases a feeling inside of you that you have made a real and significant difference in the life of someone else. You cannot help but feel happy when you have positively affected the life of someone else. And that is the power we want to unleash at CSS Corp with all our employees. We believe there are 4 strong drivers to creating a fulfilling CSR program centered around the “act of giving” selflessly.
- Driver 1: Finding our passion: Our passion should be the foundation for our giving. It is not how muchwe give, but how much love we put into giving. At CSS Corp we encourage people to understand and nurture their passion and try to build on opportunities that may arise from that
- Driver 2: Employee to give their precious time: At CSS Corp we encourage employees to spend time and their positive energy because we believe that it is far more transformational than just financial contributions
- Driver 3: Transparency in results: We firmly believe in creating a result oriented programs around CSR so that results and outcomes are recorded for all to see
- Driver 4: Proactive CSR makes us even more effective: Our focus is to go where there are wide spaces or unmet needs. For in that lies our ability to truly transform the initiative from grounds up.
Tell me about the philanthropic journey of CSS Corp
At CSS Corp, one of our core values that we live by is the whole concept of “Giving back to nature” and respect for environment. Our CEO has been actively in the space of CSR both in his personal and professional capacity and that has cascaded within the organization as well. Our CSR charter straddles 3 core areas:
- E-waste Management
- Child Education
- Environment Protection
Besides that, most of our executive leadership and senior executives are actively practicing some form of giving back to the society either through organic farming, education etc. Also groups within our engagements (including international centers) are also actively encouraged to work with the society and play an active role in areas of education and conservation. All of these create a whole organization wired towards sustainable practices and that ensures a quasi-payback model of sorts both with formal and informal structures.
We started by looking at areas that were previously unaddressed or white spaces if you may call it. At the core is giving back to the space we play in i.e. IT. We realized no corporates were actively pursuing in the areas of forest conservation so that became one focus area for us – through the initiatives we have run in the areas of Tiger conservation through our Care for Paws campaign. It also helped that our CEO had worked extensively in that area in his previous stints, so getting connected to the relevant people like the state forest department became easier. With e-waste management we are able to responsibly dispose off all our electronic equipment waste that otherwise could be toxic. The third and a cornerstone to our CSR strategy is about giving back to the society through our tie up with NGOs that focus on children education – Digital literacy and Digital ICT training.
Our CSR charter straddles 3 core areas of E-waste management, Children’s Education and Environment protection.
The CSR charter and the CSS Corp CSR foundation aims to align our company’s social and environmental activities with our business purpose and values.
The success of all our philanthropic initiatives lies with the active participation of all our employees at CSS Corp.
What is the role of your organization’s professional success in building a social enterprise?
More and more, entrepreneurs are not satisfied with creating a business that delivers a great product, generates a profit and creates value (read wealth), but instead want their enterprise to directly impact a social problem from eradicating poverty to managing global warming. This is also the case with CSS Corp, for we have integrated a conscious social mission integrated into the business model and made it evident across all our policies and practices.
Most companies have long practiced some form of corporate social and environmental responsibility with the broad goal of contributing to the well-being of the communities and society they affect and on which they depend. But there is increasing pressure to dress up CSR as a business discipline and demand that every initiative deliver business results. The CSR charter and the CSS Corp CSR foundation aims to align our company’s social and environmental activities with our business purpose and values. If undertaking such CSR activities mitigate risks, enhance reputation, and contribute to business results that is all good. But for us at CSS Corp these outcomes are a spillover and not the raison d’etre ! For we believe in sustainable acts of goodwill that are structured and intended to serve long standing impact. Creating shared value i.e. creating economic and social value is indeed the corner stone of our philosophy. And a very coherent CSR strategy is the driving force behind it. At CSS Corp, the execution is driven through a very focused organization-wide approach.
Philanthropic Focus: We encourage employees to create examples of their own philanthropic work and look for avenues using social media to showcase the same. Recent examples during floods, we all know how badly Chennai was affected. CSS Corp employees collected donations across CSS Corp offices in India along with company contribution to the government relief funds to help with rehabilitation. Infact our employees were seen as heroes in the areas they live by evacuating people from submerged areas and housing them during the flood time. We believe that everyone has a philanthropy incline and we encourage them to pursue the area of interest
Strong Eye on Operations: Cost reduction and optimization is at the very core of our business model and we look to CSR to extend the thought. On a continued basis we look at reducing carbon emission through sustainable practices, e-waste management and other business and cost optimization methods that are calibrated year on year
Business Model Transformation: A necessary part of our business model is to be able to recruit business ready candidates and we are in the process of strengthening our relationships with local NGOs who are managing student education. Our focus is to be able to give them IT related training allowing them to be employable in a short span of time.
The success of all our philanthropic initiatives lies with the active participation of all our employees at CSS Corp. Without that all promises would have but been empty. Being a professionally successful enterprise helps in building a social enterprise in three distinct ways
- Allows the brand rub off on the initiatives, thereby amplifying the cause and intent of running those initiatives. More success also means more budgets to run more initiatives
- Creates a very positive spin off for CSS Corp that allows us to share our initiatives with clients and look for associated participations or support for these initiatives
- Creates a powerful employee brand that encourages employees to pursue a social cause with as much vim and vigor as working professionally
Can you tell me a little more on the successful CSR programs at CSS Corp?
India is home to 70% of tigers in the wild. These magnificent cats are on the verge of extinction, with only 3000 in the wild. In our attempt to help the tiger, Care for Paws was conceived and launched by CSS Corp in 2013. The objective of initiative was to create awareness amongst general public about tigers and support the Karnataka State Forest Department in their conservation of the majestic animals.
Amongst the very few corporates who have taken a step towards tiger conservation, an investment of around 100 crores was made towards 800 Camera traps that were given to the Forest department and are now installed in various places in the forest and are being used to observe the well-being and survival rate of tigers in the wild. They are also helping track and deter poaching of animals.
Our “care for paws” campaign was started with Forrest Department of Karnataka State Government, India by donating 200 camera traps. To encourage other corporates to also come forward to help the “big cat” species, a press conference was organized.
The press conference alone we knew could not sustain the momentum required for a campaign which the whole company had gotten very passionate about. So we decided, we will not integrate this with a strong social media campaign, and in-location advertising and “meet the wildlife lead” lectures. Social media avenues have greater reach and permeability. Our efforts towards conservation of tigers is not limited to the donation of cameras and hence we adopted platforms where we could post regularly, initiate discussions and create a buzz. Internally, a very intensive campaign was kick-started and traditional marketing collaterals such as posters, banners and post cards were made and circulated across the organization and also amongst attendees of the press conference.
This was followed by a selfie competition for all employees of CSS Corp where they were asked to click a selfie with a tiger cut-out placed in all CSS Corp offices in India.
Tiger expert and TED speaker, Sarath Champati had an interesting session where he shared fascinating stories about tigers, the importance of wildlife conversation, and his experiences in the wild. There are many such talks lined every quarter with the experts.
CSS Corp employees were also nominated for the training camp organized by Mr. Sarath Champathi on how to participate in Tiger census early this year. The Tiger census happened in June 2015.
As we tasted the success from our earlier initiatives, we went external and created a video which speaks about the importance of Tigers for eco-system balance. It is intended to increase public awareness towards tiger conservation. The video touches every individual whoever views it. It can be viewed at – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrpMfUGrdAE
We have achieved through this campaign the support of over 200 employees who have pledged to help the cause of tigers; also it is the first time that a corporate organization has donated camera traps to the Karnataka state forest department and we hope to not be the last and also inspire many other organizations to action.
In total, CSS Corp CSR foundation has donated a total of 800 camera traps to various Tiger reserves in Karnataka in its endeavor to cover 100% of the Tiger reserves in Karnataka in 2013, 14 and 15. They include, 300 camera traps to Bandipur Tiger Reserve, 400 camera traps to Nagarahole Tiger Reserve (NTR) and 100 camera traps to Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve (DATR).
In March 2016, CSS Corp launched a scientific journal that had the findings from Phase IV monitoring of Tigers at the Rajiv Gandhi National Park (Nagarhole Tiger Reserve) in co-operation with the Karnataka Forest Department. The journal titled, “Tiger Monitoring at Rajiv Gandhi National Park – 2015 (Nagarhole Tiger Reserve),” is the end result of the study done by the Karnataka Forest Department, supported by CSS Corp CSR Foundation. This journal is first of its kind in India.
The campaign does not end here. It is a continuous program as “wildlife conservation” is one of the key pillars in our CSR program. We look to partner with other Tiger parks in India to help them with the Tiger conservation program in India.
The camera traps are now being effectively used by the Forest Department. The direct outcome of this will be evident in the long term, but to the delight of all of us and the world, Karnataka is home to 5 Tiger reserves and has emerged as the Tiger State of India with more than 400 Tigers.
How do you raise funds for all these activities? Is this just from the profits of CSS Corp?
Yes, currently we manage through the profits from CSS Corp.
In our attempt to help the tiger, Care for Paws was conceived and launched by CSS Corp in 2013.
CSS Corp employees were also nominated for the training camp organized by Mr. Sarath Champathi on how to participate in Tiger census early this year.
In March 2016, CSS Corp launched a scientific journal that had the findings from Phase IV monitoring of Tigers at the Rajiv Gandhi National Park (Nagarhole Tiger Reserve) in co-operation with the Karnataka Forest Department.
About CSS Corp
CSS Corp is a leading technology company supporting enterprise and consumer products, managing IT infrastructure and deploying networks. We partner with many of Fortune 1000 companies to help realize their strategic business outcomes and be future-ready. CSS has over 5,500 technology professionals across 15 locations globally with a heritage of 14+ years in managing large and complex support ecosystems. To know more – www.csscorp.com