This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
initiatives Thanks to the Satyam scam, the continuing protests against corporate land acquisition and the more recent Bhopal case verdict, public expectations of companies have plunged to a new low. It s hardly surprising, then, that the government has resorted to a bit of tactical warfare: fresh bait is being prepared to encourage companies to spend more time, money and spirit on corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects. New voluntary norms on CSR, released last December, are being relaunched in August with greater stress on what companies ought to be doing. The revised norms will delve into how companies should lobby, what kind of development agenda they should support, methods by which consumer rights must be defended. They will also provide broad directions on social engagement and transparency based on nine principles, including ethics, accountability, safety, responsible design, human rights and environment protection. With the revised norms, the hope is that more companies there are 1 million registered businesses in India, though only a handful are known for CSR activities will adopt the practice. Yet, within a year, if rigorous attention is not paid, the government says it will consider mandatory corporate investments in social projects. Such projects are already compulsory for public sector units, which must spend 2-5 per cent of their net profit on CSR as per norms set by the Public Sector Enterprises Board last year. Differing Views On CSR Ministry Make CSR a part of doing business, and not a cosmetic effort. Hire professional help for CSR work. Bring in projects that address the region's needs, meet development goals. India Inc CSR confused with charity. CSR, charity, personal interests are intertwined. In-house people to lead CSR initiatives. Firms want to invest in semi-religious institutions, temples, hospitals and education.
In-House Barriers y 43% Integrating CSR into business y 36% CSR not a separate dept
Everyone asks. however. not run as a charitable effort. avers Sanjiv Paul. CSR investments should be in areas directly related to the core business activity . To do so. 2 . secretary (corporate affairs). Even the government exhorts against just getting an in-house project manager or planthead to identify development projects. and end up doing things in their neighbourhood which amount to patchwork here or there. says Anirban Roy. Bandyopadhyay. but they are still clueless. the need for compulsory norms will be reviewed . arguing that shareholders do not support investments in non-business ventures. for it will not have the desired effect. The government is trying to ensure that CSR shouldn t be done just by a few companies. the efforts vary tremendously. says Bandyopadhyay. stresses that although CSR has taken off. will perhaps generate a mixed reaction: Anything that gets enforced gets resisted. The company runs two parallel CSR tracks the environment track. To be sure. What s in it for me? but the real issue is that the alternative an unstable society is good for nobody and not good for business either. who runs SEED. a private consultancy that helps companies plan and invest in the social sector.y y y y y 32% Lack of Indian case studies 28% Can't show benefits from CSR 25% No training in CSR 24% Not on board's agenda 22% Lack of financial resources Source: Partners in Change. in which pollution and safety are the concerns. and community interventions. requires more than just help from a local NGO or two. making the right social investment is the one way to assure people they have a stake in a project. the redone voluntary norms will be discussed with industry and monitored for compliance. The other. Tata Steel. That s why. he says. says Noshir Dadrawala. The public and shareholders will not resist CSR initiatives. say companies that were quicker than others to assess the social cost of business. there are companies that do resist the idea of CSR. yet to be released report. is that CSR should be wound into the functioning of a company. Based on interviews with relevant executives from 506 companies. they will lap it up if it s done properly. Starting December 2010. Some say this will be a hollow stick what. has the government done to enforce affirmative action by companies? Even so. he says. Making CSR mandatory. CEO of the Mumbai-based Centre for Advancement of Philanthropy. R. As feuds intensify over land rights. perhaps this CSR drive is something India Inc will take note of. Experts and analysts have started to insist that firms should get professional help. Very slowly Indian companies are making the right noises on CSR. after all. vice-president (corporate services). This year.
who runs the Max India Foundation. says that the group is also making a strategic shift. Mohini Daljeet Singh. where the business is based. the general view is that tax breaks should not be the guiding force behind CSR. such as under Section 80 of the Income Tax Act. The better way to give an incentive to companies is by creating an exclusive group. The global driver is there international clients want to deal with suppliers who have a clean supply chain. In another example of company-related CSR. as a professionally run unit. into providing low-cost or free-of-cost healthcare. At the moment. We recognised that the Max businesses are all about life . at Dalmia Cements. Rajasthan we only do CSR in areas where our direct business interests lie. in forestation programmes. There s greater awareness of CSR. is a clear policy on the who and how of CSR. Maybe the government is stepping in just in time with its rules. or chamber. and concentrated its efforts in northern India. says that with increasing pressure from the government and by observing the recent struggles to acquire land. says Dadrawala. The local pressure is also there people no longer give in to losing their health and livelihood for an industrial project. including large corporates and smes. spokesperson. there s a shift towards CSR planners and separate management units. says the group has decided to work in healthcare. smaller Indian companies also want to be involved in CSR. whether healthcare or insurance. who is Programme Manager of Partners in Change. 3 . partly because of the global emphasis on better governance many newer and smaller companies are responding to market pressures with better ethics. Experts feel that in any case existing exemptions. says Naayaab. of companies that perform well on CSR standards.Similarly. Apart from the personal investment plans of the group owners such as investments in temples and in educational or vocational projects in their state of origin. Gurumoorthy. The company has invested in an ITI near Trichy. We ve seen more businesses move towards CSR. R. Naayaab s team is working with three firms on sustainability reporting. already allow charitable spending some exemption. they are from states like Himachal Pradesh. Andhra Pradesh and Nagaland. and so concentrated the social ventures. which helps companies research and implement CSR projects. she says. still. he says. Khurram Naayaab. a separate unit of the Max Healthcare group. While the government has sent mixed signals on whether tax exemptions would be provided to companies making CSR investments. What s missing. and also engaged with NGOs to conduct a need-analysis for healthcare projects. even in areas that are hard to reach.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.