The Art of Giving Back

It is as much about the people who contribute to social change as the people who are willing to encourage it. Somebody aptly described it: “Just as every push requires a pull, every pull requires a push”. And when push and pull are combined and pointed in the same direction, magic is created.

Every contribution to community service, be it on an individual or group level, is important. Businesses can make a large impact and should contribute to bringing about transformation – a great way of giving back to the community. After all, communities play an integral part in the growth of businesses. This kind of involvement can influence everything. Such efforts, no matter how big or small, have a good impact. Businesses that participate in charitable endeavours might gain immediate or long-term advantages that are often tangible.

Creating an environment where you believe that giving back is important need not require a reason. It could be because it makes you and everyone around you feel good. Or it could be because it is crucial and might save a life.

In the pursuit of this purpose, the Adani Group launched Green Talks, a fresh approach to helping solve social problems, in 2021. Chairman Gautam Adani believes that as a society, we must agree on a baseline quality of life, on giving all people fair access to good primary education, good primary healthcare and the opportunities to fulfill their economic aspirations. Innovation and enterprise can help people if directed at them and at making specific contributions to help them improve their lives.

Giving back is the right thing to do and we should encourage social enterprises as they focus on improving the lives of the less privileged, focus their energies and abilities on serving society. Communities that have been traditionally deprived don’t need handouts and lofty promises; what they want, and need, are resources to boost their skills, capacities and abilities to make new livelihoods and adapt old livelihoods to new demands.

Green Talks is an annual event that honours five social entrepreneurs working to address social issues. In today’s fast-changing world where survival is under constant threat, the only way to survive is by innovating, and Green Talks is one such innovation. It finds mission-driven businesses and helps them grow, allows them to eventually reach out to more people and make a positive, long-lasting impact.

While launching the inaugural Green Talks, Mr Adani said, “We must invest heavily in enabling the transition to a greener, low carbon world. The transition must also include plans to enable the social upliftment of people. The green shoots of recovery for the planet can be truly green only if we create a climate of faith and optimism for even the world’s most socially deprived people.” 

A leader needs to be obstinate and transformational. A leader also needs to have a big heart. There are incidents where people have approached Mr Adani for help and never returned empty-handed. Some years ago, he visited a hospital where 20 patients were waiting for organ transplantations due to lack of money. When Pratap Reddy of Apollo Hospitals mentioned it to him, he immediately wrote a cheque for the said amount and gave it to him. He is a unique personality. He provided help to an employee’s blind daughter, who sang beautifully. Nothing escapes his attention. The mark of his attention to detail is evident everywhere – people, ports, buildings. He never cuts corners.

He was named in the 16th edition of Forbes Asia’s Heroes of Philanthropy list last year and in the EdelGive Hurun India Philanthropy List 2023.