Role Of IT In Corporate Social Responsibility & Social Awareness

Posted in Operations & IT Articles, Total Reads: 4187 , Published on 31 July 2012

Companies/Organizations have a significant impact on Economy, Environment and Society as a whole and it is their responsibility to curb and gauge any uncertainties in its management that could lead to damage to any of the above 3.

This is where Corporate Social Responsibility comes into picture, wherein a company takes care of social and economic status of its stakeholders, in compliance with all ethical, legal and international norms governing/affecting Corporate Social Responsibility. CSR is a cumulative care of People and Planet while managing Profit. To achieve this, IT plays a crucial role. The information technology has revolutionized the way we store, process, disseminate information. It is inevitably a crucial part of our everyday life. It can help companies in following ways for their CSR activities : -

  • IT services can be used to maintain Trust and Transparency among all stakeholders of the company thereby inculcating a genuine culture of ‘doing the right thing’ within an organization. This is essential to offset risks.
  • IT services ensure an effective/organized social health, wellness and safety, which helps companies improve their Brand image or procure licenses from govt./public to start/expand a venture
  • IT helps in the smooth operations of the Social Investment made by the firm to improve the life of rural and semi-urban people.
  • Companies like Ben&Jerry’s join groups like in a campaign to fight Global Warming. Others like Suzlon Energy initiate efforts to combat air pollution through its P.A.L.S.(Pure air lover’s society). Both these efforts can’t even be thought of without IT services.
  • Tata Steel Rural Development Society (TSRDS) programmes cover education, irrigation, afforestation, adult literacy, vocational training, handicrafts and rehabilitation of the handicapped persons and The Community Development and Social Welfare Department (CDSW) at Tata steel carries out medical and health programmes, blood donation drives, mass screening of Tuberculosis patients immunization camps drug de-addiction, AIDS awareness drives etc. All these require enormous amount of Data collection, compilation, processing and analysis for which IT plays a crucial role.
  • ITC won the 'Golden Peacock Global Award for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Emerging Economies for 2005'. The Company received this award for its e-Choupal and social and farm forestry initiatives that help improve the flow of Information (from farming to Aviation) among common villagers. IT plays a Direct role here by allowing the companies to increase knowledge of farmers as India prepares itself to be a Knowledge economy

Besides above benefits, IT also is a key to our Social Awareness. Millions worldwide are now connected and IT through its Web technologies combined with a spice of Social networking Websites, has become a powerful tool for Society, Companies, and Individuals to generate social Awareness. How can one know about a girl that was repeatedly beaten to death in Japan while we are sitting on our Lappy in our Dormitory? How can you get the reviews (from people whom you don’t know) about a product that you are planning to buy? How can you know the nearest best restaurants for you after watching people talk about it on websites like How can you get know about a B-school straight from the student’s mouth without meeting or knowing them?

Well, the answer to all questions is ‘IT’. IT has made our life faster, better and the World Smaller through its far reach and instant actions/updates. One can log on to any Social Networking website and see the level of awareness companies create, be it Ford with its Ford Explorer campaign or Kohl’s by its $10mn campaign that it gave away to 20 schools on Facebook. Companies/organizations are actively using this platform to create Social awareness.

Politics is not far away from it either. Politicians are actively using Social platforms to reach out to their public and create awareness about what they have to say that is socially important. Newt Gingrich announced his run for the presidency through Twitter and Facebook a whole two days before he went on Fox News to speak. Mitt Romney used a YouTube video to launch his presidential exploratory committee, then used Twitter updates and Foursquare check-ins to create hype about the official announcement made on his family farm. Who can forget President Obama’s innovative digital campaign for the 2008 election? That Viral Obama campaign gained supporters. The 2008 election had a voter turnout of 56.8%, which was the highest number since 1968.

If this goes on, then Information Technology will enable & empower us to engage with the world in an unprecedented way which would not only make our society a better place to live in, but also a socially blessed one where  everyone is cognizant of his/her own society.

This article has been authored by Lakkshay Bussi from Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies,Pune.

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