Luxury brands are under more scrutiny than ever before. Increasingly, customers are demanding to know not just what a global niche luxury watch brand like Corum values, but also how it stands behind these values. “Today’s consumer likes to go beyond the marketing tag line to see what values the brand truly stands for,” says Corum’s Regional Managing Director Deepa Chatrath. What does this trend mean for corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives?

Luxury brands are adopting corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a method for both growing their businesses and supporting the environments in which they operate. Corum, a niche luxury watch brand, is one such company that actively contributes to community causes ranging from muscular dystrophy to environmental protection.

“Today’s consumer likes to go behind the brand, beyond the marketing tag line to see what values the brand truly stands for,” says Deepa Chatrath, Regional Managing Director for Corum Singapore Pte Ltd. “It is not possible to fake it.”

Corum has established over 450 leading retail outlets around the globe, and while the company values heritage and artisan skills in its products, it is also firmly dedicated to CSR initiatives and empowerment of women.

“Look at the contribution migrant women make to their national GDP, look at the care-givers in Singapore,” says Chatrath. “Micro-finance growth happened because giving small loans to women unleashed an entrepreneurial streak inherent in women, they stepped forward to find solutions for first their family, then their communities.” Chatrath also notes the Self-Employed Women’s Association of India’s (SEWA) founder Ela Bhatt as a strong example of a woman leader in social enterprise.

Chatrath says there are passionate individuals brimming with workable ideas in sectors from rural lighting to eco-tourism, but they are cash-strapped. “I feel social enterprises and economic empowerment are going to fundamentally change the lives of women across Asia and Africa.”

Looking forward, we will see more brands and organizations getting on board with CSR initiatives like Diageo, Coca Cola and WaterHealth International’s innovative water partnership in Africa and Citibank’s commitment to the microfinance industry.