Corporate Social Responsibility may be a new term, but it is not a new concept nor is it alien to developing countries. In 1965, the then Prime Minister of our country presided over a national meeting that issued the following declaration on the Social Responsibilities of Business: “[Business has] responsibility to itself, to its customers, workers, Share holders and the community … every enterprise, no matter how large or small, must, if it is to enjoy confidence and respect, seek actively to discharge its responsibilities in all directions …and not to one or two groups, such as shareholders or workers, at the expense of community and consumer. Business must be just and humane, as well as efficient and dynamic.”
Business is facing challenging times world-wide. Increased competition and commercial pressure are combining with rising regulatory standards and consumer demand to create a whole new playing field for business. Traditional expectations of business are also changing. It is no longer enough to simply employ people, make a profit and pay taxes. Companies are now expected to act responsibly, be accountable and benefit society as a whole. This is the new agenda of Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility (CSER) or Corporate Citizenship. From a trickle, it has become a wave sweeping boardrooms across the world. Astute business leaders have been quick to embrace this new ethos spotting its potential for triple bottom line benefits: profit for the economic bottom line, the social bottom line and the environmental bottom line.
To many, the meaning of Corporate citizenship means that we strive to give the best possible quality, price & range of products to our customers, at the same time look to the welfare of our workers and operate our business within the framework of the law of our land. Corporate citizenship means we have an obligation towards our society. Each of us need to do our best to contribute in whatever small way we can to make this world a better place to live. And, we believe a company is run ultimately for the purpose of adding value to the society. Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility means to me business policy and decision making linked to ethical values, compliance with legal requirements and respect for people, communities and the environment.
The company’s social responsibilities include generation of employment opportunities, contribution to Gross National Product and national wealth, control of pollution, to provide a safe working environment etc. We strive to achieve these goals. There is of course room for improvement, which is possible through continuous awareness programs. The social responsibility of any organization centers on support towards health, education, infrastructure development, self employment generation etc. With above 80% employment in private sector, and much more in the unorganized sector, social responsibility cannot remain the only domain of the govt. I mean it is impractical, if we all try to pass our responsibilities as “its govt’s job”!
We see Industrial Houses in Nagpur& various other towns & cities planting trees and maintaining parks thereby providing for greenery. But they should also make proper arrangement for disposal of their industrial waste. The black smoke belched out by the factories does pollute the environment and we are not aware how this problem can be solved.
The necessary support for an ICCU in a nearby hospital, eye camps, family planning programs, drinking water facility etc are being organized on regular basis by various corporate houses. Apart from maintaining a secondary school, support is being extended in various educational development programs of the district. Definitely there is a need for greater awareness on these issues in industries. Some Indian companies have created Charitable Trusts with objectives to uplift the standards of living of the downtrodden and to support them and teach them to sustain their livelihood independently.
In India, we are observing that whatever little social obligation industry is discharging, is in and around their individual profitable areas and in this process four Eastern States like Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura are completely neglected.
Healthcare, education and industrial development of these areas have to be worked upon. Indian companies generally are aware of environmental issues around waste and pollution control. It makes good business sense to protect the environment even in the third world countries. Our responsibility is to ensure that the air, sound and water are not polluted by our wastes. Necessary regulatory measures are adopted to fulfill these goals. As a corporate citizen, we are committed to ensure that our processes and services produce minimum impact on the environment. Strict pollution control measures and monitoring systems are already in use as per CPCB and WBPCB norms.
IT companies try to make their business process as paperless as possible. We should also produce minimum garbage from our routine activities. For example we have to stop usage of paper glass, plates etc. We have also to introduce electronic documents as far as possible in our activities.
The role of a successful company is to contribute to national wealth, to generate employment opportunities, E-business and E-commerce, accountable employees, transparency of Management’s policy, open communication, safe working environment, concern for society. Success of an organization is now largely depends upon the strong foundation of value creation not only for customers, shareholders, stakeholders, but also for employees and society at large.
A healthy Company will have healthy employees who in turn will have healthy families. This will lead to a healthy society free of corruption, dishonesty and other malpractices. Infosys, Tata and Wipro have exemplary CSR record, I admire Tata group for their humanitarian approach and for focusing on the PEOPLE. I really appreciate the Tata’s for their relentless efforts, as money is not their only motive, as opposed to many others. Business ethics are often given a swing in these days where the competition is high. Last year, Infosys distributed among its employees the extra profit it made. That’s the spirit to make it all an “Inclusive growth”! Narayan murthy, Mr. Tapan Mitra, Mr. Harsh Vardhan Goenka and Dr. J. J. Irani are great leaders because of their imaginative, innovative, leadership and entrepreneurial qualities but above all, their concern for society and environment.