Remarks of U.S. Consul General Helen LaFave at the Symposium on Corporate Social Responsibility

As prepared for delivery

Namaskar, Good evening.

I would like to welcome you all to this Symposium on Corporate Social Responsibility.  Thank you for your interest and for taking the time to be here this evening.

Thank you Mr Kallol Datta, President Bengal Chamber of Commerce & Industry and your wonderful team for partnering with USAID and the U.S. Consulate, Kolkata to organize this event.

The U.S. Department of State has a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) and provides guidance and support for U.S. companies to undertake socially responsible corporate activities and ethical business practices that promote sustainable development.

The department promotes and recognizes exemplary CSR activities of businesses through the annual U.S. Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence, the ACE.

This Symposium on corporate social responsibility is one of a series of events that USAID is coordinating with U.S. Consulates and business groups across India.  These events aim to recognize the importance of private sector actors in the development arena and raise awareness of a USAID initiative called the India Partnership which matches dollar for dollar, coordinated corporate social responsibility efforts.

The India Partnership program is an exciting opportunity and my colleague Kathryn Stevens, Deputy Mission Director, USAID in New Delhi will provide more detail later in the program.  Thank you Kathryn, for hosting this event in Kolkata and agreeing to moderate the panel discussion.

Our primary objective through this event today is to create a space where companies and non-government organizations can learn from one another and work together for India’s benefit.

Fulfilling CSR requirements presents a unique opportunity for everyone in this room.  It is an opportunity to address some of India’s most complex challenges in areas like maternal and child health, education, climate change, clean energy, and food security.

We have an impressive panel of corporate and NGO leaders here today who will share with you some of the innovative solutions to these challenges that they have been involved with.

I also encourage you to interact with some of USAID’s partners showcased here.  By entering into private sector partnerships, USAID has been able to strategically fund and leverage private resources to design and implement transformative solutions to address some of India’s critical development problems. Talking to these organizations will hopefully inspire ideas for more such valuable partnerships.

I look forward to learning more about innovative CSR practices and hear your views on how we can work together to create ground-breaking interventions that will advance shared development goals.

Thank you.