GSC Introduces New Chapter in India

 

Amit Bansal, Founder & CEO Mitra Capital

Amit Bansal, Founder & CEO Mitra Capital

Global Sourcing Council (GSC) through the 3S Awards took an initiative to honor best “green,” sustainable and socially responsible practices in global sourcing, as implemented by companies, corporations and individuals supporting global sustainable development.

The Indian GDP is growing, and with growth comes higher consumption, which is adding stress to its natural resources. It has become important to pay attention to sustainability and socially responsible practices in India.  This can only be achieved through education and public awareness.

The GSC India Chapter will recognize exceptional individuals and organizations that are exhibiting sustainability and social responsible practices in India.  Mr. Bharat Ramani, President of Global Sourcing Council, proposed India for the first GSC Chapter outside the USA. He said, “India makes a great place for the first GSC Chapter outside USA as a lot of companies have started practicing sustainability and GSC should recognize and promote them”.

Mr. Ramani introduced Amit Bansal, Founder and CEO Mitra Capital, as Head of GSC India Chapter.  “Mr. Bansal is very passionate about sustainability and had helped with the women category nominations from India for the 3S Awards this year,” said Mr. Ramani.

Mr. Bansal is a finance professional with eight years of experience in Banking and Capital Markets in the United States. He has worked in investment banking at ABN Amro Bank and The Royal Bank of Scotland in New York. Mr. Bansal has now relocated to India and has started his own financial consulting firm Mitra Capital in Mumbai.

Mr. Bansal is actively involved in social causes in India such as women empowerment, intellectual disability, renewal energy and rural livelihood (education, microfinance and healthcare). He is advocating for a change in the Public Procurement policy of the Government of India to promote Women Entrepreneurship in India. He is also working to set up the Indian Women Entrepreneur (IWE) Fund.  IWE Fund will help Indian women entrepreneurs with seed capital, mentoring, resources and business strategy.

Mr. Bansal also actively volunteers for Saksham, Center for Child Development, AMBA- Centers for the Economic Empowerment of the Intellectually Challenged People and Room to Read India.

 

In Their Own Words: An Interview With JSW Foundation

In Their Own Words: An Interview with JSW Foundation, Winner of the 3S People’s Choice Award

Raghavendra Rao, Corporate Communications Manager, JSW Foundation

Raghavendra Rao, Corporate Communications Manager, JSW Foundation

 

Interview with JSW Foundation Corporate Communications Manager Raghavendra Rao

 

1.      Can you describe how the concept of JSW Foundation came about?

We at JSW believe that the inclusive growth is not a destination but a journey made possible by all the progressive engagement of all stakeholders in the developmental process. JSW strives to achieve sustainable development through an involvement in education, health and livelihood, women empowerment, promotion of arts and culture, environment protection and sports.

2.      What pushed JSW Foundation towards pursuing goals in sustainable and socially responsible practices, as opposed to a strictly profits-based model?

It is our sheer commitment hence we have committed 2% of our profit after tax to build a sustainable India.

3.      Did you – at any point – come to regret that your company is following this path?

We have always cherished people’s joy. Our aim is to create a value based empowered society through a purposeful engagement in various spheres of life by involving the community at large.

4.      What do you think sets you apart – as far as business model is concerned – from other companies from your sector?

We endeavor to create long term value for the business and society. We also strive to assess the impact of our operations on local agriculture, bio diversity and health. 

5.      To what would you credit the success of JSW Foundation practicing socially responsible business?   

The team work. The group’s CSR initiatives are spearheaded by JSW Foundation which works within a radius of 10 KM from every plant location. The team is headed by Ms Sangita Jindal 

6.      What do you think can be done to make the business world aware of the need for corporate social responsibility?

To spread the culture of giving, this can be so enriching and viable business model. The volunteerism also encourages all employees to contribute to the best of their abilities and gives them the freedom to choose the areas in which they would like to offer their services.

 

# # #

JSW Foundation was founded in 1982 by Sh O P Jindal and currently has locations in India, Mozambique and South Africa.  JSW Foundation currently has 44,500 employees across 7 locations.  The foundation, in consultation with plant management and CSR teams, finalizes a set of initiatives every year that get incorporated into its business plan.  The JSW Foundation believes that this planned approach will lead to a manifold of growth of its humane initiatives involving both employees and communities. 

In Their Own Words: An Interview with CloudFactory

In Their Own Words: An Interview with CloudFactory, Winner of the 3S Award in Community Engagement

 

Interview with CloudFactory CEO, Mark Sears

Mark Sears, CEO, CloudFactory

Mark Sears, CEO, CloudFactory

1. Can you describe how the concept of CloudFactory came about?

In 2008 my wife and I came to Nepal for a two-week vacation and I ended up extending my trip a few weeks after meeting some smart young software developers. I bought one iMac and four of us crowded around in the mornings as I trained them on a technology called Ruby on Rails. I was amazed with how talented they were and they were hungry to learn. Next thing I know we got a paid project from North America and then we hired a few more local computer engineering graduates, got another project and a business was born.

My wife and I had been living in Nepal for about a year when the software outsourcing business was growing and our clients started asking us to do data-related services like image/video tagging and online research. At the same time we began making friends with many people in our neighborhood that were very talented but with more than 40% unemployment in Nepal, there were no jobs and we were only hiring computer engineering graduates. So we saw both the demand for data services and the supply of talent to deliver them so we decided to start CloudFactory as a side project in January 2010.

We set out to build a fully scalable technology platform and workforce model that could employ 1 million people in developing nations while efficiently serving the growing data needs for businesses around the world. But because of our social mission we also wanted everything to be personal and based on relationship, we didn’t want to build another faceless crowd sourcing platform. The goal was to build a business that is very scalable and very personal at the same time – those have been two key concepts in building CloudFactory.

2. What pushed CloudFactory towards pursuing goals in sustainable and socially responsible practices, as opposed to a strictly profits-based model?

From the very beginning CloudFactory was not about making money for the sake of making money, so there was never really a conscious choice to pursue an impact sourcing model or not – the social mission is such a core part of our history, purpose and culture at CloudFactory.

We have always been very serious about driving revenue and profit so that we could reinvest to grow the company and grow the social impact by giving more opportunities to talented people with little to no professional opportunity. We are also unique in that the idea, the initial funding and the talent to build CloudFactory all came from the developing world so we have a unique worldview that comes from that.

Seven professionals from North America and their families have moved to Nepal to join our 130 employees and live alongside the 3000 data operators we have here now. Being on the ground in Nepal for years and now Kenya has allowed our leadership to remain squarely focused on the social mission while also ensuring we meet and exceed the expectations of our Western clients.

That is what started us in the direction of being an impact sourcing service provider (ISSP) but what we quickly discovered is that when you truly care for and invest into your people and their communities, there is a different culture that begins to emerge. One with more ownership over the work and one with dedication to doing a great job is just the de facto standard. It is similar to how Google has been so aggressive about providing free food, free haircuts, beach volleyball courts and amazing perks that other industries just don’t understand. They have built a culture of innovation by investing into their employees that is the main engine behind their current and future success. We believe that our aggressive focus on investing into our workers and the communities we operate in is giving us a similar opportunity for long term success.

3. Did you – at any point – come to regret that your company is following this path?

Our social mission has only hurt us when certain clients see this part of who we are and assume that impact is our main focus when instead it is just our main motivation. Our focus is actually on technology innovation and reinventing outsourcing to be more scalable and more efficient because we know this is the only way to accomplish our crazy impact goals.

So we don’t ever regret being an impact sourcing service provider, it is all that we know, but sometimes we regret talking about it because people begin thinking we can’t compete with the traditional financial bottom-line sourcing providers. That is a myth. We strongly compete and usually win over these legacy models. For example, on one of our recent projects we won out over 8 other bids coming from the more traditional BPO side.

4. What do you think sets you apart – as far as business model is concerned – from other companies from your sector?

There are some really great Impact Sourcing companies that do similar work to us.  In fact we collaborate quite a bit to bring awareness to what is happening in this space.  We heard a lot of customers say the following “ If I can deal with senior leadership that is professional, people who really get my expectations AND I can have low cost centers that are more efficient in terms of accuracy, turnaround and scale,  then I am willing to partner with you and become a stakeholder in the impact that you are having.”

You know using an ISSP used to be seen as much more difficult and costly that a traditional BPO but we are changing that.   From the beginning we have been about offering a superior product, at an incredible value and the impact is the icing on the cake.

How can we do that?  Well in regards to our model, I would say there are some key decisions made early on that gave us the tools we needed.  One I already spoke about above and that is this focus on being scalable and personal at the same time. The way we recruit, train and lead our workforce teams is incredibly personal.  At the same time we acquired a technology platform (formerly backed by Google Ventures) that allows us to offer unheard of efficiency and scale even beyond that of a traditional BPO.  So you get this very unique model where each person is known and can grow and contribute in whatever capacity or skill level they may be at while at the same time we are able to dramatically exceed client expectations in terms of vendor output and expertise.

For example, one of our clients expected to have to hire 3 to 4 traditional BPO’s to achieve their required outcomes. You know there is a lot of headache in having to on-board and manage multiple vendors and standards etc.  They had millions of records that needed to be digitized. We were able to provide this to them as a single vendor processing over 1 million records a day with off the charts accuracy. Our model is really built around this idea of accuracy at scale.

5. To what would you credit the success of CloudFactory practicing socially responsible business?

I would say that meeting the needs of our clients and the communities where we work is definitely grounded in this aspect of serving one another in community. The motivations vary and run deep across the company but we try to provide an environment where people can express and nurture these motivations in the context of their own communities.

There are certainly those that come to us looking only for work and a paycheck but it is incredibly rewarding for us to see these initial motivations transform as many begin to find that their work is a way to give back to their country and their communities.  We have letters from elders in the community saying, “I am not sure what you are doing with those computers over there at CloudFactory but whatever you are doing keep it up!  My son/daughter is becoming a different person, engaged, helping out more around the house, filled with hope and purpose…” So, the way the model works is that doing great work naturally leads to an amazing impact in their own communities.

Each and every CloudFactory employee (full or part-time) joins the company in a team of 5 that meets in-person weekly for lessons on leadership, competency, character and accountability. Then, on a regular basis they go out into their own community to act on what they have learned. To date CloudFactory teams have completed over 1500 community projects and committed to over 58,000 personal action steps. (See more at  http://community.cloudfactory.com)

6. What do you think can be done to make the business world aware of the need for corporate social responsibility?

Unfortunately at this point the business world en-masse is not going to listen to any justifications before they answer the question “is it better for my financial bottom-line?”  Many businesses do a minimum amount of CSR for the soft ROI of marketing, branding and community/customer perception.

The main thing we can do right now is innovate and find ways to make the best socially responsible thing to do also be the best financially responsible thing to do. This isn’t always possible but in our industry it is and it will just take some time for more impact sourcing service providers to show the competitive advantage of quality work through caring for and investing into their employees and their communities.

# # #

CloudFactory was established in 2010 by Mark Sears in Kathmandu, Nepal. It currently operates in Nepal, Kenya, Hong Kong and the United States with 130 full-time and 3100 part-time employees.  The company’s goals for the next year is to replicate its model from Asia to Africa with Kenya being the starting point. Over the next 5 years the goal of CloudFactory is to disrupt the traditional BPO industry in a way that connects 1 million people in developing countries to meaningful IT work.

The GSC 3S Awards Corner

The GSC 3S Awards Corner

A Recap of the 2013 GSC 3S Awards – Sourcing that Empowers

On October 28, the GSC celebrated its fourth annual GSC 3S Awards Program, graciously hosted by the Consulate of the Republic of Poland at the De Lamar mansion.  Over 100 international guests gathered for the GSC 3S Awards Gala, reflecting a global commitment to recognize and reward best practices in Sustainable and Socially Responsible Sourcing.

IMG_9951Dr. Wanda Lopuch, Chair of the Board of the Global Sourcing Council, opened the ceremony, discussing the merits of sustainable sourcing as a fundamental aspect of corporate business strategy.  “Only a few years ago, socially responsible sourcing was an oxymoron in global business.  Today this oxymoron becomes a standard operating procedure, as business recognizes that it pays off to be socially responsible,” said Dr. Lopuch.

Mr. Michael Benedetto, Vice President and Regional Executive, Skanska USA, delivered the keynote address, entitled “Profit with Purpose – Individuals Make a Difference”, in which he outlined his own experiences, and those of his colleagues, regarding the success of socially responsible business initiatives. Madam Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka, the Consul General of the Republic of Poland, expressed Poland’s support and contribution to efforts that align with those of the Global Sourcing Council.  “We in Poland take social responsibility and sustainability seriously,” said Madam Junczyk-Ziomecka. “We proudly support the 3S Awards program”.

IMG_9959

 

Among those who gathered at the ceremony were award applicants, winners, global business leaders from such companies as NASDAQ, UBS, SKANSKA, Zurich Insurance, Teleperformance, PWC, etc., and NGOs such as the Rockefeller Foundation and the NASSCOM Foundation, with which GSC officially signed a collaboration agreement during the Gala ceremony.

This year, organizations from six continents submitted their programs for consideration by an independent panel of judges consisting of world-renowned experts in social responsibility.  From this wealth of applicants, five were chosen as the 2013 3S Awards Winners, and their work and mission were showcased at the ceremony.

 

Please read more about these institutions at http://gsc3sawards.com/2013-awards/2013-winners.

 

 The 2013 3S Winners are: 

cloudfactory logo

CloudFactory as winner in the category “GSC 3S Community Engagement”

 

vindhya-logo

Vindhya as winner in the category “GSC 3S Employee Engagement”

 

weconn logo

WeConnect International as winner in the category “GSC 3S Empowered Women”

catrinka logo

The Catrinka Project as winner in the category “GSC 3S Out-of-the-Box”

jsw logo

JSW Foundation as winner in the category “GSC 3S People’s Choice”

 

From the Desk of the Chair

We Salute the Agents of Change in Socially Responsible Sourcing

Dr. Wanda Lopuch

Dr. Wanda Lopuch, GSC Chair of the Board

NEW YORK, NY (November 7, 2013) — Last month, we celebrated the winners of the 3S Awards, the Awards in Sustainable and Socially Responsible Sourcing. This program provides a spotlight for the companies and individuals who walk their talk when it comes to putting big, abstract concepts of corporate social responsibility into daily practices.

And what a celebration it was! Over 100 guests from all corners of the world attended the GSC 3S Gala to congratulate the winners of GSC 3S Awards. The GSC 3S Awards Gala raised funds for Awards that Empower, the 3S Executive Development Boot Camp.  I encourage you find out more about the winners, the applicants, and their fantastic programs. Please join us in saluting their tremendous accomplishments.

This fourth edition of the GSC 3S Awards was also a time for reflection on changes in global business. These changes are happening in front of our eyes, every day. The GSC has been proudly participating in the changing community by offering our views and opinions. This year alone, in five GSC global meetings we have engaged in vibrant discussions on topics such as the meaning of global citizenship and its practical applications, principles of social investment, embracing new consumers such as handicapped or aging individuals, and the importance of vendor diversity in a global supply chain. We have presented our views on the conflict mineral provision of the Dodd-Frank Act and on changes in post Foxconn-Apple labor practices in China and globally.  We have been giving voice and visibility to true agents of change: those companies and their leaders who put tangible meaning into socially responsible sourcing – day by day, program by program.

In doing so, we have been touched, inspired and humbled by the resourcefulness of our winners, providing value and progress when resources are scarce, and by the sincerity and passion of these real agents of change.

As of September 2013, GSC has received the status of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, in the State of New York.  This designation offers great financial advantages to corporate members and sponsors..  GSC is a charity that understands the context of our mission within  global business – and we support socially responsible global business. GSC understands the necessity for business to make a  profit, but profit with purpose.

A new Board of Directors of GSC was elected at our October 28th Annual Meeting. I have the honor and privilege to lead the GSC Board for another year. We realize how much work is ahead of us, as we are just starting to touch many important topics and issues.  The new GSC leadership is mindful of this responsibility and accepts the challenge of further advancing the cause of socially responsible sourcing in broad collaboration with like-minded organizations and individuals. I invite each of you, believers and skeptics alike, to join us in this quest.

Please contact me or my GSC colleagues with your thoughts, ideas and challenges. We look forward to your contributions and to working with you to further our ambitious goals.

Sincerely,

Wanda Lopuch

GSC, Chair of the Board