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Malls Take CSR Initiatives To The People, Rake In Footfalls For Good Deeds

Today’s shopping centres have transformed into community hubs of sorts, playing an important role in the development of the activities of its catchment area. From taking care of recreational needs to getting people involved in various initiatives planned for the betterment of society, shopping malls understand their social responsibility and work towards being socially responsible. Shopping Centre News decodes the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility in India and how malls in India are abiding by it...

Zainab S Kazi

With the introduction of mandatory spending on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) brought on by the Companies Act 2013, companies in India and across the world have shifted focus from anticipating change and understanding the impact of this change to actually being the change.

Firms have started gauging the ramifications of their decisions and activities on society and the environment, some even going the extra mile to give back to their employees, their valued patrons, the community and the world at large. CSR activities by malls and brands today is helping scale customer engagement and brand popularity.

A handful of international and national companies have developed solid reputations for being do-gooders and turning their success into an opportunity to help others.

One such mall in Mumbai is Inorbit.

When it rains in Mumbai, there is no respite. Where the city is in a rush to find a safe haven to save themselves from the downpour, the city’s traffic cops stay put diligently performing their duties to ensure smooth movement of vehicles to keep the roads as clutter free as possible. How often does one really give a thought about these traffic management champions braving the endless showers and getting drenched to the core? Recently, Inorbit Mall in Mumbai came forward to present raincoats to the team officials headquartered in Kalamboli, Navi Mumbai.

Kishore Bhatija, Managing Director Real Estate Development, K Raheja Corp. said, “The effort put in by our traffic police during these times is commendable and we are indeed thankful for their selfless work in maintaining road safety. Our small gesture is a salute to the spirit of the protectors of Mumbai.”

To this, Sunil Lokhande, Deputy Commissioner of Traffic Police said, “We appreciate the efforts of corporates coming forward to assist our men in uniform. We are committed to performing our duties whether rain or sunshine no matter what the weather conditions, but these initiatives ease the process.”

Many more malls are taking it upon themselves to serve the community with gestures that indeed matter. Take for instance the recent celebration of Kargil Diwas by Select CITYWALK. The mall has been actively undertaking initiatives to celebrate the day and simultaneously pay homage to the martyrs. This initiative isn’t just namesake as the funds collected are then sent to the families of the martyrs thus making layman a part of the noble cause. The shopping centre in addition to this celebration has created a special microsite - http://letsnotforget. co.in where the people can be a part of the initiative till August 15, 2019.

So, how do malls measure the success of a CSR initiative?

According to Rajendra Kalkar, President (West), High Street Phoenix (Mall) – The Phoenix Mills Ltd. (Group), “A successful CSR initiative entails a good turnout and participation of retailers as well as customers. Consumers are increasingly looking to engage with purpose-driven brands that empower them to make a difference and to connect them emotionally with a cause they would want to support.”

Standing Tall

While a majority of the initiatives involve contributing to a noble cause through an NGO, many malls and shopping centres plan their CSR activities in a way that they directly touchbase with the beneficiaries.

Take for example Inorbit’s unique and award-winning campaigns is ‘Inorbit Pink Power’. The mall conceptualised the idea to celebrate Women’s Day in a different way by making a difference in the lives of aspiring women entrepreneurs with unique businesses. The mall provides a platform for women entrepreneurs to unveil their businesses. The winning candidate is given free kiosk space in the mall for a period of 9 months. Being one of the pioneers in the mall business, Inorbit works to mentors these entrepreneurs and helps them grow their business as they operate among the major retail players in the mall.

Pink Power is hosted across 5 geographic locations i.e. Malad, Vashi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Vadodara. The mall has been hosting this campaign for the last 5 years and Pink Power has won several accolades at some of the prestigious award forums.

Mumbai’s High Street Phoenix took the road less travelled to enlighten the mall’s staff members, retail workers, employees and security personnel on the ‘rights of transgenders’. In August 2018, on the occasion of International Transgender Day of Visibility – Sharanya Ruia, daughter of Atul Ruia, Managing Director of The Phoenix Mills Ltd., held a workshop at the mall made them aware of transgender rights and ways to treat them equally.

During the Kerala floods, Infiniti Malls conducted a massive ‘collection drive for flood relief ’ materials which were then handed over to Kerala Samajfor further distribution to people in need.

The mall in the same year also went ahead to organise the second edition of ‘Happy Feet’ for special kids to showcase their talent. The event was well-received by mall visitors who cheered these special kids taking to the ramp with confidence and style at the fashion show hosted by the mall. These kids also put together a spectacular dance performance at the event. The event saw participation by more than 100 special kids along with mall visitors.

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August 2019

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