The First BFSI Vision CSR Awards 2014

Mumbai, December 18th 2014:

The First BFSI Vision CSR Awards 2014 was presented at a glittering ceremony at the International Convention Center of the BSE at Mumbai. The awards were presented by Mrs. Rajashree Birla, the doyen of CSR in the Indian corporate sector. Senior professionals from the banking, financial services and insurance sector in India were on hand to celebrate and cheer the winners.The awards are aimed at rewarding CSR activities carried out by various companies in the finance sector including Banking, Insurance, RRBs , MFI’s , NBFC’s , Co-Operatives and Other Financial Institutions.

BFSI Vision - a media community of the BFSI sector, in association with Ashvin Parekh Advisory Services and the BSE wished to celebrate the community spirit of the BFSI sector by instituting a series of CSR awards exclusively for the BFSI community. The idea is to move CSR beyond the statutory requirements of the new Companies Act, to touch ordinary lives. The BFSI Vision CSR Awards celebrates and honors the Indian BFSI firms embodying the principles of corporate responsibility in their business philosophy and operations. The awards were spread across five categories – promotion of Education, Gender Equality and Women Empowerment, Healthcare and Combating Diseases, Community development and Environmental Sustainability – and two classes – Banking and Insurance firms and Other Financial Institutions, Plus an overall winner. The winners were picked by an eminent Jury chaired by Mr. Askaran K. Agarwala, Chairman Business Review Council of the Aditha Birla Group, Dr. R B Barman - Former Executive Director, Reserve Bank of India, Mr. Y M Deosthalee - Chairman & Managing Director of L&T Finance Holdings Limited, Mr. M V Nair - Chairman CIBIL, and former CMD Union Bank of India, Mr. Mohan V Tanksale - Chief Executive, IBA and Former CMD, Central Bank of India, Mr. G S Sunderrajan - Group Director Shriram Group and Mr. Deepak Satwalekar - Venture Advisor of Nexus Venture Partners and former CEO and Managing Director at HDFC Standard Life Insurance Co., Ltd.

The function started with the Managing Editor of BFSI Vision, Girish V S outlining the necessity of having an award exclusive to the Indian financial services players. According to Girish, traditionally, high performance was defined in terms of key business differentiators – strategy, marketing, Human resources, finance, efficient operations and above all else the ever increasing thirst for profits. In 1994, John Elkington coined the term – triple bottom line. For the first time, along with profits, two other dimensions were added – that of social responsibility and environmental responsibility, Successful firms were defined as those firms who would place equal emphasis of social and environmental aspects apart from profits. This was the formal acknowledgement that firms need to contribute to the society and environment if they have to be sustainable. Apart from the monetary contribution, there is a need for employees to get involved with the CSR Activities.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Ashvin Parekh, Managing Partner at Ashvin Parekh Advisory Services, who were the knowledge partners for the awards, spoke about the larger challenges for the corporates to organize their CSR efforts and evolve a good plan, execute efficiently and evaluate the outcome and the impact. Mr. Parekh said“Through our humble efforts we would attempt to evolve different approaches which would implant the philosophy of ‘Joy of Giving’ throughout the organization by making it a management - wide program and create milestones to celebrate through an enjoyable journey.”The recent amendment to the Companies Act mandates that 2 percent of the firm’s profits be kept aside for CSR activities. According to Mr. Parekh, the BFSI Vision CSR Awards has a few firsts – one it aims to reward the firms based on the impact and long term sustainability of the benefits of the CSR activity. Two, CSR should not be an activity that is instrumental to the business, but aim to do good to the society at large. Three, the entire awards – the categories, the classes and the evaluation methodology was decided by the eminent jury panel. And four, it would be an annual series, which would build on the groundwork done so far.

Mrs. Rajashree Birla in her Key Note addressspoke about the Joy of Giving. Mrs. Birla said, “CSR is the commitment of businesses to contribute to sustainable economic development by working with employees, their families, the local community and society at large, to improve their lives in ways that are good for business and for development.Indian entrepreneurs and business enterprises have a long tradition of working with full respect to values that have defined our nation's character for millennia. India's ancient wisdom, which is still relevant today, inspires people to work for the larger objective of the well-being of all stakeholders. Presently, the basic objective of CSR is to maximize the company’s overall positive impact on the society and stakeholders. I applaud the efforts of BFSI Vision in recognizing the CSR contributions of Corporates and my congratulations to all the nominees and award winners.”

In her speech, she traced evolution of CSR activity in India, quoting extensively from the religious texts of all major religions to drive home the point that philanthropy has been and will be the mainstay of our culture. She spoke about the deep commitment that the House of Birla’s had to philanthropy and its latter day evolution - CSR. Moving away from philanthropy, which is an individual expression of gratitude to the blessings received, Birla’s have institutionalized it across their business interests. Today, apart from liberally espousing various causes, they have built a culture where every employee of the Birla group offers their time for any social cause that they believe in.

The Winners and the Runner upfor the awards are:

Promotion of Education

Winner in the Banking and Insurance Class - ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth
Runner Up in the Other Financial Institutions Class - Aviva Life Insurance Co. and Bank of Baroda
Winner in the Other Financial Institutions Class - Edelweiss Financial Services Ltd.

Gender Equity and Women Empowerment

Winner in the Other Financial Institutions Class - Bandhan
Runner Up in the Other Financial Institutions Class - National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development

Health Care and Combating Diseases

Winner in the Banking and Insurance Class - ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth
Runner Up in Other Financial Institutions Class - Union Bank of India and Life Insurance Corporation of India
Winner in the Other Financial Institutions Class - Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services
Runner Up in the Other Financial Institutions Class - GramaVidiyal Microfinance Limited

Community Development

Winner in the Banking and Insurance Class - Life Insurance Corporation of India
Runner Up in the Banking and Insurance Class - ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth

Environmental Sustainability

Winner in the Banking and Insurance Class - State Bank of India
Runner Up in the Banking and Insurance Class - YES Bank
Winner in the Other Financial Institutions Class - National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development
Runner Up in the Other Financial Institutions Class - PallavanGrama Bank

Overall Winner of the BFSIVision CSR Awards 2014 was
ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth

Apart from this Institute for Financial Management and Research, Chennai was given an Honorable mention for contribution to Society and the UAE Exchange Ltd. was given a Certificate of Merit for its contribution to community development.

Bajaj Allianz won the Editor’s Choice Award for its contribution to Financial Literacy.

The BFSI Vision CSR Awards 2014 has set the stage for more exciting stories and projects from the BFSI community. The bar has been raised.