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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Avianites find joy in giving

All my bags are packed and I am ready to go

My favourite John Denver song kept playing on my mind as I packed a humongous suitcase for office. Yes, you heard right, I carried a suitcase filled with old clothes, which my family members don’t wear anymore (of course, washed and ironed), old toys my children discarded, but my wife neatly stored, and used shoes to office recently. The Reason: The “Joy of Giving Week” held in association with Goonj.

Avian Media celebrated the week-long festival of giving with the NGO by encouraging employees across all its offices in the country to donate used, but washed, clothes, footwear, toys, lunch boxes, notebooks and stationary. The material collected was recycled and channelised to remote villages in the country.  Avian also raised Rs 17,900, with employees donating Rs 9,400 and the company contributing Rs 8,500. The money will be used by Goonj to manage the operational cost for processing, repairing, storage, wages and transportation of the material donated by us.
It was an amazing experience seeing what we treat as trash making such a remarkable difference to so many lives. For Avian, the aim was to encourage and motivate employees to take part in socially-meaningful activities and inculcate the “spirit of giving” in them. While devising sustainable and scientific solutions for our clients under our recently-introduced CSR and Sustainability practice, we had realised that companies also need to engage internally in sustainable and long-term CSR and community initiatives. CSR is meaningless if not imbibed in letter and spirit by each and every employee of a company.

Companies can no longer be seen purely as private institutions. They are essentially social institutions and the benefits they reap should be shared collectively. A company is responsible to not just its shareholders, but also stakeholders, including consumers, employees, etc, whose contributions are integral to the firm’s growth. Thus, CSR means that a corporation should be held accountable for any of its actions that affect people, communities, environment and society as a whole. Now, a responsibility of such mammoth proportion cannot be fulfilled without employee involvement. As a company, it is our duty to nurture our employees to become responsible citizens and ensure that they work hand-in-hand with us in giving back to society.

With the “Joy of Giving Week”, I think, we have set the ball rolling. It felt good to see our young employees lugging bags full of clothes, shoes, books and toys and utensils to office. For once, no one was cribbing! The excitement was palpable and there was a sparkle in everyone’s eyes.  I have already been flooded with enquiries as to when we will organise more such CSR activities. So, next time we draw up a CSR plan for our clients, we can draw contentment from the thought that we, too, have started contributing, albeit a modest contribution, to the larger good of society.

We will take part in more such activities in the future and give back to society in every way that we can. And, I am proud that my people are with me. I hope that in the years to come, making a difference to the lives of the less fortunate becomes a part of our DNA.

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