Companies spend just 6 per cent of CSR fund on clean energy: Report

As reported by PTI, Samhita Social Ventures, a CSR consulting organization, today released their latest report “Energizing Development” which analyses the CSR efforts of India’s leading companies promoting energy access in India.

The latest report showcases that companies in India spends only 6 per cent budget for clean energy of the overall Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) spending. The report has been developed with support from Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Key findings of the report showcase that while CSR programmes in education, sanitation or skills and livelihood have seen a dramatic increase since the mandatory CSR rules came into effect, there still remains very thin corporate participation in implementing CSR programmes in clean energy and energy access.

The report states that only 39 of the 100 companies with the top CSR spends (out of the BSE 500 list) reported CSR involvement in the clean energy space with most popular interventions being solar street lights, solar lamps, mini grid/solar plants and smokeless stoves for the rural communities.

The report also revealed that companies in power, and oil and gas sectors were most likely to support clean energy projects, aligning their CSR spends to their business and creating social good based on their core competencies. These were followed by the manufacturing and heavy engineering industry, which implemented interventions in communities around the location they operate in.

Priya Naik, CEO, Samhita Social Venture, said in a statement, “The market potential and expanse of the clean energy sector has been discussed and emphasised by many. However, CSR participation still remains low and sparse. Furthermore, the structuring of CSR programmes in this sector often lacks a holistic and catalytic approach which then impedes the delivery and scope of these programmes and hinders impact.”

It said that of the 100 companies, only 39 had programmes in clean energy. This is a significant difference given almost 90 per cent of the companies have a CSR programme in education, sanitation or skills and livelihoods.

Among the 39 companies that were involved in clean energy, the majority focused on product-based solutions. Twenty out of 39 companies installed solar street lights in rural areas and 18 distributed solar lamps or lanterns for household use.

It said that solar is the preferred form of renewable energy in CSR programmes as 37 out of 39 companies who ran CSR programmes in clean energy utilised solar energy.

While the need for interventions (specific to the energy sector) is highest in Bihar and Meghalaya, the CSR participation remains inadequate in comparison. Karnataka and Maharashtra, which face relatively low energy gaps, have a high proportion of companies implementing access to energy programs via CSR. A few states such as UP, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh saw a high need matched by high CSR activity, it added.

The report revealed that 88 companies out of 100 reported energy efficiency measures as part of their internal operations and sustainability agenda.

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