CSR for COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease)

The dramatic spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease) has disrupted lives, livelihoods, communities and businesses worldwide. All stakeholders, especially global business, must urgently come together to minimize its impact on public health and limit its potential for further disruption to lives and economies around the world.

But the sum of many individual actions will not add up to a sufficient response. Only coordinated action by business, combined with global, multistakeholder cooperation – at exceptional scale and speed – can potentially mitigate the risk and impact of this unprecedented crisis.

In 2019, less than 10% of business leaders from G20 and OECD countries considered the spread of infectious diseases as a looming global risk. Nor were companies anticipating that a pandemic might test their public reputation.

Corporate Social Responsibility for COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease)

The spread of COVID-19 demands global cooperation among governments, international organizations and the business community. This multistakeholder cooperation is at the centre of Earth5R’s project Global Sustainability Hub. 

In this context, Earth5R’s COVID Action Project (CAP) will focus on five priorities:

  1. Galvanize the global business community for collective action
  2. Train global communities on awareness, response & self sustainability
  3. Urgent healthcare support – Telemedicine, PPE equipment, Building isolation rooms, Building disinfectant and thermal screening tunnels.
  4. Protect people’s livelihoods and facilitate decentralized business continuity at the local level
  5. Mobilize cooperation and business support for the COVID-19 response

The central government of India has decided to allow Corporate sector of India to use their mandatory corporate social responsibility (CSR) spending on measures to fight COVID-19.

The Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman confirmed that spending of CSR funds for COVID-19 is eligible CSR activity.

“In view of the spread of novel coronavirus in India, its declaration as pandemic by the WHO, and decision of Government of India to treat this as notified disaster, it is hereby clarified that spending of CSR funds for COVID-19 is eligible CSR activity,” Sitharaman said on Twitter. “Keeping in view of the spread of novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) in India, its declaration as pandemic by the World Health Organisaton (WHO), and decision of Government of India to treat this as a notified disaster. It is hereby clarified that spending of CSR funds for COVID-19 is eligible CSR activity,” Ministry of Corporate Affairs notified on Monday.

“Funds may be spent for various activities related to COVID-19 relating to promotion of healthcare, including preventive health care and sanitation and disaster management,” it said. According to the Companies Act, firms with a net worth of Rs 500 crore, or turnover of Rs 1,000 crore or net profit of Rs 5 crore or more, are required to set aside 2 per cent of their average net profits over the last three years on corporate social responsibility activities.

The move is expected to benefit local communities, where businesses have operations and complement the state’s efforts to combat the crisis that has disrupted economic activity Indian companies spend around ₹15,000 crore a year on charity as mandated by law.

An order by the ministry of corporate affairs said CSR funds may be spent on various activities related to the Covid-19 disease in ways such as promoting healthcare, including preventive care.

CSR funds could also be used to tackle disaster management, which includes relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction activities. The order explained that the decision was taken in view of the spread of the virus in the country, its declaration as a pandemic by the World Health Organization and the government’s decision to treat it as a disaster.

“Spending of CSR funds for Covid-19 is eligible CSR activity,” said the order. The move came while opposition parties have demanded the government announce a financial package to deal with the crisis. The pandemic has affected businesses, forcing factory shutdowns.