CSR: Giving back, a core fundamental at Gemini
As much as successful entrepreneurship is about a strong commitment to putting in the hard yards, it doesn’t come about in isolation from the communities that the enterprise serves. Whether in terms of the education and personal development of employees or the interaction between a business and its customer base, the relationship is a two-way street. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs have created an avenue for organizations to give back to the broader social fabric they are part of. These initiatives are fundamentally about engagement by investing time, purposeful energy and sincerity of vision, rather than a simple allocation of budget. They are rooted in the thought that a thriving business model should ideally also reflect in a flourishing community.
For many businesses, their CSR initiatives are a means for them to create a social impact that extends beyond the core products and services that they offer their communities. These programs are a way for the enterprise to deepen relationships with the broader context into which they fit, rather than just the more apparent stakeholders their core business functions impact. With customers, peers within the industry and employees valuing such initiatives more and more, CSR is a means to enhance intangible but crucial factors, such as morale, goodwill and workplace culture, as well.
Since its inception, the Gemini Group has always been driven by the dictum that “The surest way to give life meaning is to be of consequence to the lives of others”. And this has permeated through to all the group companies including Gemini Property Developers. Remaining true to its core values of compassion and the greatest good of all, the organisation has been involved in food programs for the underprivileged, sponsorship of education initiatives, providing healthcare for the needy and exploring other emerging opportunities for intervention that can make a difference, on an ongoing basis.
Retaining an emphasis on meaningful impact
A corporate vision that transcends mere profit-driven motivation empowers the evolution of businesses into institutions. At the end of the day, business processes are a series of individual contributions, but for each of these to be aligned, and for each stakeholder to aspire to be the best they can be, a sense of purpose is essential. While concern is sometimes expressed at how materialistic society is becoming, the truth is that emerging technologies are allowing more of us the opportunity to participate in initiatives that make a difference to the lives of others. Businesses too are discovering that cultivating a social conscience enhances ethical conduct, job satisfaction and team cohesion.
Gemini Property Developers CEO Sunil Gomes asserts that CSR initiatives are an effective way for all the stakeholders in a business to be collectively valuable to society. In a highly interdependent and interconnected world, organisations need to be involved with their environment and the larger picture in ways that are more substantial than what can be reflected in metrics and spreadsheets. Giving the company, as well as its relationships with other entities and the world at large, a strong humanist context, is one of the best ways to achieve this. CSR programs result in a sense of community and positive self-worth within workforces and help generate powerful synergies and a sense of positive engagement. Not only does this motivate existing employees, but businesses also tend to attract better talent when they exhibit a commitment to making significant social contributions.
Some recent CSR initiatives by the Gemini Group
The Gemini Group has always used the positive impact one can have on the lives of others as the ultimate gauge to measure success, and as a result, the group set up the Global Hope Foundation, in 2018. According to Sunil, the foundation has been the Gemini Group’s most satisfying and gratifying expansion and one that the entire organisation is deeply committed to. The Global Hope Foundation organised the distribution of food and other basic necessities among the needy in Mumbai, to mark the festival of Diwali(1). As part of the Ramadan Charity initiative in 2018, Gemini Property Developers distributed AED 150,000 worth of food – a total of 20,000 Iftar meals – to workers in the industrial areas and labour camps of Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman(2). Sunil adds that the foundation is continuously identifying possibilities for the launch of several more effective CSR initiatives, wherever intervention is most required.
The recent attack on the CRPF paramilitary forces in India, which took the lives of more than 40 servicemen, deeply affected the entire company. Like many all across the world, the Gemini Group too was motivated to make a difference in this time of national tragedy, in India. Mrs Radha Rao, Sudhakar R. Rao and Prabhakar R. Rao, the senior management of the Gemini Group and the Global Hope Foundation – announced an immediate contribution of AED 500,000 for the welfare of the families of the martyred soldiers, as well as ongoing programs to rehabilitate their children.
Building a better world
Sunil believes that all businesses have the responsibility to be good corporate citizens. In his opinion, creating outcomes that result in a world that is even a little bit kinder and more inclusive is the most significant contribution that an enterprise can make. Sunil believes that a sense of higher purpose, social responsibility and the desire to leave a positive legacy helps companies retain a humanist focus in their endeavours. He points out that while excellence and ambition are essential for any enterprise to flourish, to be compelling motivations, they need to be rooted in values.