YOUTH FOR CHANGE: ALIGNING SOCIAL IMPACT & BUSINESS
At Realty+ 40 under 40 Conclave young scions of Indian real estate spoke about how they are bringing social initiatives within the fold of their business strategies.
Building on community investment and corporate social impact in a COVID-19 World is on top of all businesses agenda. Prasenjit Bhattacharya, Co Founder & Director, Great Places to Work informing the audience stated that in his interactions with various businesses, he found that once a community is engaged in a social cause, it becomes a sustainable success.
Akshay Taneja, Director, TDI Infratech Ltd agreed. Giving the example of green building construction in India he said, “In real estate, the biggest metric to measure social impact is through eco-friendly buildings. Building a green building costs only one percent more than the conventional construction cost.”
Pavitra Shankar, Executive Director, Brigade Group added, “While, building our businesses from ground up, the business lend itself to creating job opportunities and a platform to bring social and economic prosperity of the communities around. Moreover, the work from home scenario requires businesses to have more empathy for employees with constant communication and support to help them balance work and home, especially the women employees.”
Yash Miglani, Managing Director, Migsun Group concurred that real estate sector being the second largest industry generates maximum employment with more than 300 industries involved in the realty business. He added, “The developers cater to one of the basic needs of the human being- Shelter. Our target should be to create more affordable housing for the masses.”
Yeshwanth Nag Mocherla, Hospitality Entrepreneur and Retail Realty Investor was of the view that businesses apart from building their enterprises should create platforms to bring in social impact across society, either through employment generation, skill development or funding start-ups.”
Measuring business’s success in key areas of profit, people & planet has become important more than ever now and investing in employees, partners and workers welfare and well-being is the priority of business leaders.
New Ways of Measuring Business’s Success
Pavithra Shankar said.” Most business houses have concurrent foundations for social work. For instance Brigade is supporting three schools through its foundation apart from many other initiatives. With government support, the initiatives can be scaled up to benefit larger communities.”
Yash Miglani added, “During these difficult times of the pandemic, we started with supporting our homebuyers by waiving EMIs to help them financially. This is because we consider them to a stakeholder in our business and believe in building relationships rather than just doing transactions. Also, like many others our vaccination and medical camps held in coordination with local bodies for our employees and construction workers have been a huge help to the government authorities.”
Yeshwanth Nag shared how his association with Akshay Patra Foundation was working towards providing free meals to underprivileged children and others. “We share a percentage of each order that we receive and it goes towards funding the NGO. In the present times when health has become a priority for everyone, we are also introducing affordable range of health foods for our patrons.”
Akshay Taneja emphasised that empathy towards all stakeholders of the business is now the benchmark of a business’s success “In these difficult times, our employees, vendors, customers are connected on personal front, checking on their health with constant communication and providing any kind of help. This pandemic has highlighted the organizations are more like families.”
Prasenjit Bhattacharya mentioned, “We sent a small video saying “Thank you” to our employees parents their siblings and spouse for providing their home as office during these difficult time. In my organisation there was 10 percent scheme where we sent 10 percent of their salary to employees’ parents for providing their home and support during this time.”
The social impact can also be created by bringing quality of life to people such as by sharing places and resources for people of all segments to enjoy dance, music or sports.
The speakers of the session were unanimous that the pandemic has come as a wake-up call for everyone with lots of learning and retrospection. One of the biggest disconnects between social impact and real estate stems from the society’s perception of real estate being a ubiquitous expressions of capitalism. However, real estate companies building more than just ‘green’ buildings or affordable housing are generating employment and supporting varied businesses as well. In present challenging times, organizations have also come together to support employees and customers through health or financial crisis and have gone all out to support local authorities in their endeavour to provide relief and help to the citizens.