IOD Corporate Social Responsibility Handbook Review
Institute of Directors [IOD], an apex association of directors, has prepared a comprehensive Corporate Social Responsibility [CSR] handbook to create more awareness about the new and emerging concepts and facilitate CSR initiatives particularly meant for Directors and Executive Management.
In the very beginning the handbook lays stress on stakeholder involvement and on clear articulation of the mutuality of benefit. The book mentions that corporate social responsibility is a corporate strategy for survival, and not undertaken as the mere ‘feel good factor’. As a strategy, corporate social responsibility should clearly articulate the benefits gained by the business out of any activity programme, classified as corporate social responsibility initiative.
Chairman (Research & Training), Dr. V.K. Agnihotri in his preface note writes that In the Indian context, CSR, by whatever name you may like to call it (and there are many), has been around since 600 BC. The merchants of those days, predecessors of our current business entrepreneurs, were a respected lot because of their generous donations for various social causes.
Further Dr. V.K. Agnihotri writes that by formally inducting CSR into the statute book through The Companies Act, 2013, the Parliament of India made it obligatory for companies with certain business parameters to undertake initiatives for the benefit of the society at large and made the Boards responsible to ensure its implementation. It is hoped that this would not only improve the bottom line of the companies but also help bridge the divide between the haves and the have-nots.
According to IOD Corporate Social Responsibility today is building a perspective on ‘responsible behavior’ in the companies, to innovate ways in which businesses reach technology to the lower segments of markets and include the poor and the poorest in the main stream of development.
To develop and improve management system towards more sustainable development and employee volunteering should be the focus of CSR verticals of the corporates. CSR is a sense of responsibility at a deeply personal level and it is a part of our character – individually and eventually as a company. ‘CSR is a matter of attitude. ’
The handbook proposes an implementation framework comprising seven key tasks: Trigger Motivate Management, Form CSR Core Group, Identify Focus Areas, Design and Implement CSR Action Plan, Monitor and Evaluate CSR Action, and Report and Communicate CSR Initiatives.
The book lays stress on the measuring CSR initiatives and mentions that it is important to ensure effective implementation of planned strategy and to determine future action plans. Each company can design measuring strategies based on their CSR focus areas. Some basic indicators to measure different CSR Areas are elucidated in the book.
The IOD book laments that despite the growing focus on corporate responsibility, there are probably less than 3,000 major companies, who are systematically and strategically addressing corporate responsibility issues throughout their operations.
In its last section the book has mentioned checklists. In order to assist companies to evaluate and monitor their CSR initiatives, a Compliance Checklist has been compiled. The checklist broadly focuses on the business and developmental initiatives of the organization. This Checklist is designed to help companies for effectively implementing and monitoring mechanisms of the systems installed by the organization for implementing CSR.