Corporate employee engagement enables sustainable solutions to community issues and has a lasting impact on the business, according to delegates meeting in New Delhi today at the ‘Unearthing the true value of CSR through skills-based volunteering’ event.
Organised by VSO India in partnership with IBM, the event was attended by prominent figures from leading companies and government agencies, deliberating the value of skills-based volunteering for community development.
The focus was on the impact of corporate employee volunteering and understanding how it can address the severe development issues that India has signed up to tackle by 2030 as part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The speakers showcased examples of engagement between VSO and its corporate partners including IBM. To make a lasting impact and for more companies following suit, key stakeholders also highlighted the need for corporate volunteering to be a part of the 2% CSR bill.
Speaking at the event, on the true value of CSR through skills-based volunteering, Shaleen, Executive Director at VSO India Trust, said, “VSO has been working in India for more than three decades now; our volunteering programmes allow companies to connect with their workforces by supporting humanitarian pursuits that are important to their employees.”
“These community activities help employees touch base with a different reality and they want to continue doing it. We are creating volunteer initiatives that have a lasting impact on the ground with communities we serve as well as balance business and employee interest in changing people’s lives.”
Communicating the importance of volunteering for companies, Deepak Malhotra, Service Area Leader, IBM Global Business Services, said, “Community involvement is no longer about charity; it’s about making a sustainable difference. Through its various well designed employee volunteering programs, it is proven that IBM’s technology and talent have the power to help transform governments, institutions, communities and the quality of life for people around the world.”
“Whether it’s improving education, revitalizing cities, addressing the challenges of economic growth and job creation, developing sustainable strategies for energy use and environmental protection, or establishing foundations for growth such as public health, environmental and economic sustainability, IBM and IBMers contribute innovative solutions to the world’s toughest societal challenges.”
Shaleen continued, “VSO helps companies to use their business skills to make tangible contributions in challenging environments. In doing so, corporate volunteers acquire new skills and find the experience both personally and professionally rewarding.”
VSO announced a new initiative at the event called Knowledge Exchange, which is launching in several countries this year, including India.
Chris Walker, Director, Global Private Sector Engagement and Partnerships, VSO International shared that, “We believe that we need to contribute to the sustainable growth of the country and that people are the best agents of change.
VSO India’s high-impact approach involves bringing people together to share skills, build capabilities, promote understanding and change lives to make the world a fairer place for all. Our goal is also encourage volunteers from every walk of life, including those working in the corporate sector.”