India’s CSR Trends Report 2024: Transitioning towards Catalytic Impact

In 2014, India implemented mandatory CSR spending regulations. Over the period spanning from FY 2014-15 to FY 2021-22, CSR expenditure experienced a remarkable growth, surging by over 2.5 times, from INR 10,000 crores to 26,000 crores.

Kanhaiya Singh
New Update
CSR Trends 2024

India’s journey with corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been a unique saga of transformation over the past decade.  Since the implementation of CSR as a legal mandate for companies, a profound shift has occurred in the corporate landscape, with substantial contributions towards societal welfare.  Sumit Tayal, CEO of Give Grants, recently shared insights from India's CSR Trends Report 2024 in a LinkedIn post. According to the report, the top 100 firms in India account for a staggering 48% of the overall CSR spending annually, amounting to around ₹33,000 crore.

Sumit Tayal

"It has been a six-month effort by the Give Grants team to bring together 40 of India's top 100 CSR leaders. Legally mandated CSR has been a unique decade-long journey in India—no other country in the world has attempted it at this scale. A decade down the road, the verdict is clear: it has been a resounding success."- Sumit Tayal 

Evolution of CSR: Catalysing Transformative Change & Professionalisation in India's Business Landscape

This paradigm shift has not only unlocked significant capital but has also catalysed a cultural shift within the business world, elevating CSR consciousness to new heights. Large organisations now boast dedicated CSR teams, signalling the professionalisation and standardisation of CSR practices. This legal framework has not only fostered professionalism but has also nurtured a burgeoning ecosystem encompassing specialised courses, professionals, and tools dedicated to CSR.

However, as the CSR landscape evolves, so do the aspirations and strategies of CSR leaders. Tayal suggests that the future lies in catalytic CSR, a paradigm where the focus shifts from merely creating impact to catalysing transformative change. This necessitates a shift towards higher-risk initiatives and collaborative endeavours aimed at amplifying the impact of CSR funding beyond individual projects.

Pallavi Barua, Director CSR at Tata Communications, underscores the importance of experiential learning and a nuanced understanding of ground realities for aspiring CSR professionals. This sentiment is echoed in a research report by Give Grants and The Bridgespan Group, which draws insights from 40 CSR leaders across India.

CSR Spending

Future Decade to See Catalytic CSR Surge, Fueled by Key Imperatives

1. Innovation: A survey reveals that 59% of CSR leaders are eager to fund innovation, signalling a growing appetite for risk-taking and a willingness to support projects with the potential for outsized impact.

2. Collaboration: An overwhelming 87% of CSR leaders express interest in collaborations, both within the corporate sector and with governmental agencies. This emphasis on partnership underscores a collective commitment to maximising societal welfare.

3. Ecosystem Strengthening: Nearly half of CSR leaders prioritise the strengthening of the CSR ecosystem, recognising its pivotal role in fostering sustainable development.

The influence of India’s top 100 companies looms large in shaping the trajectory of CSR. As pioneers in the field, these firms are poised to lead the transition towards catalytic CSR, leveraging their resources and influence to drive systemic change.

Ishira Pandey

Healthcare and Education Lead CSR Spending Surge

An analysis of CSR spending trends by Ishira Pandey a Development Sector Professional, reveals a notable expansion in funding across various sectors. Healthcare and education emerge as the top beneficiaries, collectively absorbing nearly half of all CSR expenditures. However, a noteworthy shift is observed in healthcare spending, which has witnessed a substantial increase from 18% in FY 2014-15 to 29% in FY 2021-22, underscoring a growing emphasis on health-related initiatives.

Shifting CSR Priorities and Diverse Sectoral Focus

Beyond healthcare and education, CSR spending encompasses a diverse array of sectors including rural development, environmental sustainability, and poverty alleviation. These sectors collectively account for approximately 70% of all CSR spending, highlighting a multifaceted approach towards addressing societal challenges.

India’s CSR journey stands as a testament to the transformative power of corporate engagement in societal welfare. As the nation embarks on the next phase of CSR evolution, the emphasis on catalytic impact, innovation, collaboration, and ecosystem strengthening promises to usher in a new era of sustainable development and social change.