Indian companies are now expected to discharge their stakeholder
responsibilities and societal obligations, along with their
shareholder-wealth maximisation goal.
Nearly all leading corporates in India are involved in corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes in areas like education, health, livelihood creation, skill development, and empowerment of the weaker sections of the society. Notable efforts have come from the Tata group, Infosys, Bharti Enterprises, Coca Cola India, Pepsico and ITC Welcome group, among others.
In fact, four Indians, including Sunil Mittal, Chairman and Managing Director of the Bharti Group, NRI businessman Anil Agarwal, Shiv Nadar, HCL Technologies Chairman and NGO activist Rohini Nilekani were featured in the Forbes list of '48 Heroes of Philanthropy' recently.
According to a survey carried out in June 2008 by TNS India (a research organisation) and the Times Foundation, over 90 per cent of all major Indian organisations surveyed were involved in CSR initiatives. The leading areas that corporations were involved in were livelihood promotion, education, health, environment, and women's empowerment.
In another study undertaken by automotive research company, TNS Automotive, India has been ranked second in global corporate social responsibility. The study was based on a public goodwill index and India received 119 points in the index against a global average of 100. Thailand was at the top slot with 124 points.
Now there are plans to also introduce CSR in the small and medium enterprises (SME) sector to increase its reach in remote areas.
CSR Initiatives and Green Measures
India Inc has joined hands to fine-tune all its activities falling under CSR. For this, it has set up a global platform to showcase all the work done by Indian firms. Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the TVS Group have collaborated to form the CII-TVS Centre of Excellence for Responsive Corporate Citizenship. It will provide consultancy services and technical assistance on social development and CSR.
• Public sector oil companies like ONGC, Indian Oil, Gail India, BPCL, HPCL and Oil India will spend at least 2 per cent of their net profits for 2008-09 on social development projects this year as compared to 0.5 per cent to 0.75 per cent spent till now.
• JSW Steel bagged the prestigious ‘Golden Peacock' award for its CSR initiatives in 2008.
• HSBC is involved in an effort to support a business school for illiterate women in western Maharashtra.
• ArcelorMittal will spend about US$ 500 million as part of its CSR initiatives in Jharkhand and Orissa.
• The Indian paints industry is making its products more environmentally friendly by opting for water-based paints and making it carcinogen-free.
• The heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC) industry is working to get rid of its 'global warmer' stigma through greater use of gases with zero ozone depletion potential (zero ODP).
• Sustainable Technologies and Environmental Projects Ltd (STEPS) is planning to start a project to change plastic, organic and electronic waste into petroleum without the usual harmful residue.
• Pharmaceuticals Company, Jubilant Organosys Ltd, runs an anti-tuberculosis programme with the government of Uttar Pradesh.
Rural development is attracting major CSR initiatives from various corporates.
• In an effort to modernise rural health services in India, GE Healthcare now wants to focus on maternal health.
• SREI Sahaj e-Village Ltd will set up 25,000 IT kiosks to be known as common service centres (CSC) across West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu by 2010.
• ITC's e-Chaupal has been a great developmental initiative which has also added value to its own agricultural products. It comprises improving the lives of farmers and villagers.
• HDFC has started a 'village adoption' scheme to improve the investment climate in Indian villages.
• Mahindra Shubhlabh, the agricultural business arm of Mahindra & Mahindra, aims to use especially cultured seeds to improve contract-farming productivity.
• DCM Shriram provides information services through its chain of Krishi Vikas Kendras, which have now evolved into Hariyali Kisan Bazaars.
• Hindustan Petroleum has started community kitchen programmes in some Indian villages.