Letter from 2014 GSC President, Bharat Ramani

It is my great honor to be the President of Global Sourcing Council for the coming year; I would like to thank the Board of GSC for nominating me to this post.

As a global strategist and entrepreneur for the past 29 years, I have experience in building and managing multinational corporations. I was involved in setting up IT Application Outsourcing Centers for Fortune 500 companies in the mid-1990’s through 2009. I have also accumulated extensive global experience, having lived and setup organizations in US, India, Russia, UK, Germany and Hong Kong.

I am actively involved in promoting and helping young start-ups in US/India Corridor and helping them to work together to create innovative products and services for these markets. I believe it is important for major corporations to invest in socially responsible sourcing and was involved in giving young startups business opportunities in my previous companies, specifically subcontracting IT contracts with many of them.

As we reflect on 2013, the GSC has achieved some important milestones in its short history by:

  • creating partnership with organizations around the world including NASSCOM Foundation to collaborate on spreading the message of advancement of sustainable and socially responsible sourcing
  • becoming a 501.c.3 organization under the US IRS tax code, which means that it offers tax exemptions to its members and of course our successful 2013 GSC 3S Awards Program

Our main goal for this year is to expand our global footprint.  We have established and launched the GSC Chapter in India while creating and establishing organizational frameworks for GSC Chapters in Africa, Europe and Latin America. We are at an important time in our lifecycle – the world has started recognizing our cause and a movement towards sustainability and socially responsible sourcing has started in different countries around the world. We would like to collaborate with like minded individuals and organizations who believe in our vision of Socially Responsible and Sustainable Sourcing.  I want to use this platform to reach out to these persons and organizations and make a real impact in our society.

 

Bharat Ramani

In Their Own Words: An Interview with The Catrinka Project

The Catrinka Project Founders

The Catrinka Project Founders

In Their Own Words: An Interview with The Catrinka Project, Winner of the 2013 GSC 3S Out-of-the-Box Award

Interview with The Catrinka Project Co-Founder and CEO, Megan Reilly Cayten, and Co-Founder and Creative Director, Amisha Patel

1.  Can you describe how the concept of The Catrinka Project came about?

We are three friends in New York City, all with international roots and a passion for investing in women and girls around the world. Amisha is a designer and Sumana and Megan are avid collectors of beautiful things from around the world – things with a story and a soul. Megan, who has worked on four continents to leverage the power of the private sector to create social change, knows how to run things. Amisha, who founded the socially responsible girls clothing line Ode Kids, knows how to make things. Sumana, who co-founded a charity for orphaned girls in India, knows how to invest in girls. We came together to form Catrinka in late 2012, with the goal of making beautiful products, employing women, and educating girls.  By imbuing our products with a soul, and a story, we hope to create a sense of intimacy between our customers, the women who made their bags, and the girls who benefit from their purchase.

We named our label after Megan’s 5-year old daughter, Caterina (nicknamed “Catrinka”). We hope our cause and mission speak to anyone who knows a little girl, or a woman who wants to make her daughter’s dreams come true.

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

The mission is core to Catrinka’s business model. It is what inspires and motivates us to keep going. We all love beautiful things but the meaning behind the label is what makes the work worthwhile.  We welcomed the challenge of creating an innovative social enterprise to compete with more established businesses that have questionable production models, to inspire other burgeoning entrepreneurs and to meaningfully contribute to the growing community of those already pursuing socially responsible business practices.

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

We have never regret following this path but have recognized how challenging it is to find space in the economics for both our employment and our donations pieces. Pricing products competitively is necessary to grow our business, and in a marketplace that has grown accustomed to fast fashion prices, customers may love a good story but do not always want to pay for it. Fundamentally, though, we just are not interested in doing business any other way.

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

We have a dual social mission: to employ women and to educate girls. Many companies work with just one of these goals (and one is hard enough!). Our donation

The Catrinka Project Bags

The Catrinka Project Bags

program donates a service – education – that allows girls to change their own lives, rather than a product that displaces local production and which the recipients may not need (as is typical of many one-for-one programs). We have also invested deeply in developing an expert advisory board and researching our girls education mission to make sure that the interventions we fund will have maximum impact.

5.  To what would you credit the success of The Catrinka Project practicing socially responsible business?

Our success lies in the amazing partnerships we have formed with women working around the world to build their own socially responsible businesses. The artisan groups that produce our designs work flexibly in challenging environments while adhering to the tenets of our business and theirs.  Our story also readily resonates with the educated women who are our customers and who understand the importance of investing in women and girls.

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

Consumer education is key. People need to know the true environmental and social costs of a lot of the traditional ways of doing business, and to hear success stories, so that they can choose to support those businesses that are on the right path. Only if consumers demand and expect socially responsible practices from the businesses their spending supports will businesses incorporate these practices in order to remain competitive.

In Their Own Words: An Interview with WEConnect International

In Their Own Words: An Interview with WEConnect International, Winner of the 2013 GSC 3S Empowered Woman Award

Interview with WEConnect International CEO and Co-Founder, Elizabeth A. Vazquez

WEConnect International CEO and Co-Founder, Elizabeth A. Vazquez

WEConnect International CEO and Co-Founder, Elizabeth A. Vazquez

 

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

WEConnect International’s mission is to identify, educate, and promote women-owned businesses globally through a unique certification process. This innovative concept was the brainchild of a group of members of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. They created a Global Committee to develop a strategy to support women entrepreneurs based outside the US. WEConnect International was launched as a result of this effort.

 

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

WEConnect International is committed to the proposition that socially responsible business practices and profits are integrally linked. We are an educational organization that promotes best practices on two fronts. We assist women business owners to develop competitive products and services, and we encourage them to build solutions that are also good for the environment and society. Additionally, we help corporations understand the value offered by these women business owners and we offer tools to make it easier for corporations to buy from women.

 

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

The leadership and team of WEConnect International fully rally behind the mission to promote global supplier diversity and inclusion as a way to grow SMEs and create jobs in our target markets. The results we have obtained so far serve to reconfirm that we are on the right path.

 

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

WEConnect International is a unique organization. We are the only group working at the global level to build a database of self-registered and certified women-owned businesses that want to compete and grow.

 

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

The largest and most progressive corporations in the world play a key role in advancing WEConnect International’s mission. We rely heavily on our global and local partners to support our work and maximize our impact.

 

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

Great progress has been made already, but much work remains to be done. A substantial component of our work at WEConnect International involves reaching out to local, regional and global corporate citizens to raise awareness on the specific advantages of buying from women business owners, such as unique business solutions, powerful leadership, new job opportunities and overall social benefits.

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.

 

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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.