Corporations as well as business schools should strive towards integrating corporate social responsibility and sustainability with their business strategies and curriculum, says John Elkington, founding partner & executive chairman of Volans, co-founder of SustainAbility. Elkington shares his ideas with Rica Bhattacharyya. Edited excerpts:
What are yourviews on the CSR guidelines of the New Companies Act in India?
India is a very challenging country for business. I hope that over the next 3-5 years, when this Act becomes law, it is not just a final statement but a framework within which people think more energetically and creatively about what business needs to do in relation to some of these big challenges. A number of Indian companies, including older companies like Tatas and newer once like Infosys, are already doing largely the right thing (in CSR). But can this go out to a large number of other big and small-sized companies in India? The team drafting the law could ensure that it is a framework that encourages experimentation. Also, there is a responsibility for the government to create a feedback mechanism.
What role can business schools play in promoting the idea of corporate social responsibility?
Business schools will have a course or several courses that are about sustainable business but the question is whether they are integrating these sort of issues and potential solutions and strategies into their core offerings. Integration is key, whether for corporates or business schools.
(Economic Times, 17 Dec 2013)