We first discovered the environmental issues we are facing about 40 years ago. For a very long time, it remained the responsibility of the government to do anything about it. As awareness grew about it, more and more people understood the responsibility they have towards Mother Nature.
Now the CSR of a company is not complete unless it talks about its commitment to the environment. Some companies go beyond that as well. Idea has been talking about saving trees for a few months now by telling us how we can save trees by giving us innovative ideas no matter how impractical they are (at least now)
Nokia has been telling us how we can save the environment by recycling.
The newest one is Aircel which has taken the cause of Saving the Tigers. A fact I learned from there is the number of Tigers in India has reduced from 40000 to 1411. Aircel is running TV ads, they have a microsite for the cause and they even have stalls in malls where they encourage people to sign up. There you can put our thumb print on an illustration of a Tiger. The objective is to complete the tiger.
The question I have often asked myself is why these companies are interested in these issues. Actually I should say I have not asked this question often enough and have assumed, correctly or incorrectly that talking about these issues is just another way to promote your company.
Now when I ask this question, I feel there is definitely a marketing objective behind taking up these issues but at the same time if we see the company as a group of individuals instead of the entity it is, we will find enough people in that company who are passionate about these issues, just like a lot of other people are outside the company.
What matters is the impact these efforts have in solving the problems. If ten years from now, we can say the number of Tigers in India has increased from 1411 to 1600, I would be thankful to Aircel for what they are doing, even if it was a marketing led effort.