Samhita Social Ventures, a CSR consulting organizations latest report showcases that companies in India spends only 6 per cent budget for clean energy amongst overall 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 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program 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 program 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.
The report notes that of the 100 companies, only 39 had program in clean energy. This is a significant difference given almost 90 per cent of the companies have a CSR program 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 program as 37 out of 39 companies who ran CSR programs 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.