Ecology and Education

I am Anurag Behar. I work for Wipro and I am responsible for what is called Wipro’s Social and Community Initiatives, and Sustainability Initiatives within the corporation. I would like to take you back in time to 2000-01, to give you a background on why we are gathered here today, to set the context for this forum.

I will go back to 1999-2000 where we at Wipro had a significant internal debate around the following issue – being a for-profit corporation; do we have a world view outside of making profits and outside business? At least some of you have been a part of the for-profit world, and you would realize how blinded that world is to a number of social issues outside the world of business. And so were we. We had a long discussion, at the end of which we decided that we do need to have some degree of engagement with the society beyond business, beyond making profits. That was, in some senses, the easier decision. The more difficult decision was that if we indeed believe in something of that nature, what are we going to do about it? We again discussed and debated among ourselves for a long time and realized that whatever we do, we will do only a few things which seem sensible to us. First of all, we will not do those things which, in the world of business are painted with this word ‘CSR’ (Corporate Social Responsibility) as CSR tends to become multiple things across many areas, may different causes, and has very little impact beyond that very specific project that the corporation might be engaged in. So we thought we would choose, that we would work on only one area, and that we would not do too many things all at once. It was decided that whatever little we can contribute to society, we might as well focus all our energies and resources into one area because then perhaps we have some hope of making some degree of difference, if at all.

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