"Most Indian companies have a confused approach to CSR, dubbing it as philanthropy and veiling the underlying strategic motive"
ITS SOMETHING companies can’t do without anymore. It isn’t surprising why Indian companies have begun relying on the one aspect that could bail them out: Being socially responsible.
Defining the term (corporate social responsibility or CSR) has perhaps been the trickiest part of this solution. The key word in the phrase corporate social responsibility is corporate because the aim is to benefit the standing and success of the corporate sponsor.
If a cola major is working on conservation of water, it’s because they have been found using up our water resources. If a cigarette maker is worried about the poor man’s health, he simply wants to be allowed to continue selling more cigarettes.
Most Indian companies,have a confused approach to CSR, interpreting it as philanthropy and veiling the underlying motives under the blanket of social good. Combined with ad-hocism, personal interests and the lack of professionals specializing in CSR and the waters get murkier.
“There’s no way of saying ‘we spent extra money but it can be offset in some way to show a net benefit”
~Professor David Crowther
Specialist CSR, De Montfort University.
Instead, he argues that the best thing that you can do is demonstrate your CSR to customers, even if it doesn’t net you direct financial rewards.
Even though there is no international regulatory group responsible for dictating corporate responsibility, more ways are developing to include CSR on the balance sheet in a structured, universally agreed way.
The Global Reporting Initiative publishes a sustainability reporting framework that enables companies to lay down their sustainability activities in accounting terms.
Ernst & Young also works with the AA1000 series of standards, produced by UK-based non-profit Accountability. Similar to the framework provided by the GRI, these standards are designed to promote social and ethical accounting and reporting.
"But the validity of these standards will only come through adoption and usage".