Executive summary and recommendations: CSR in India – perspectives for business May 2007 1 May 2007
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Introduction If the purpose of a company is to deliver profit to shareholders what role does Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) play? Why has the topic risen up corporate agendas over the last 15 years? Why now? What does the term actually mean? CollageArticle 13 – a new joint venture consultancy considered these issues as part of this launch piece of research particularly focussing on India. There is little consensus on the definition of CSR. A useful pointer is provided by the UK Department for Trade and Industry who define CSR as a company’s response to the issues on the sustainable development agenda. Sustainable development can be further defined as comprising the social, environmental and economic agendas (sometimes called the triple bottom line). The reason for sustainable development has been classically stated in the Brundtland Report as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the choices available for the needs of the future”. But why should this matter to business? What are the business drivers to take on the agenda? The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) defines CSR as "The continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the work force and their families as well as of the local community and society at large”. Is this rhetoric or practice-based reality? In KPMG's International Survey of Corporate (Social) Responsibility Reporting 2005, which surveyed more than 1,600 companies worldwide and documented the top ten motivators driving corporations to engage in CSR for competitive reasons, the following emerged: • Economic considerations • Ethical considerations • Innovation and learning • Employee motivation • Risk management or risk reduction • Access to capital or increased shareholder value • Reputation or brand • Market position or share • Strengthened supplier relationships • Cost savings The report concluded that by creatively responding to these market forces, and others generated by the CSR movement, organisations can reap considerable benefits. Collage Article13 used this finding as the start of a practice-based line of enquiry into what is actually going on in one of the countries included in the survey, namely India. The questions we asked were: what is actually going on in CSR (Being reported) in leading companies; and what are the benefits of this CSR activity to the business and do those benefits match up with what is being looked for by potential employees (graduate and post graduate students). We assess the implications of the findings of this study and the recommendations arising for the future.
Methodology There were three phases of the research: • Desk- and web-based research • Questionnaires with students (structured quantitative research) • Interviews with leading HR professionals in India (insight interviews) 1. Desk and web based research: • An initial search was conducted within the public domain to review the CSR reported practice of large Indian corporations, which are acknowledged to be at the forefront of the engine of economic growth in India. This was established through selecting leading growth sectors and reviewing the leading company in each sector. • To augment this, a detailed search was conducted in business journals, market research sites, business newspapers, and publications to study their CSR activities,...
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