MUMBAI: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) refers to the responsibility companies are expected to assume for people, society and the environment that are affected by their activities.
The extensive engagement in CSR at many different levels sometimes makes it difficult for individual companies to keep track. A seminar was recently organised to make Norwegian companies in India find their way around in this landscape.
Innovation Norway in India in collaboration with the Embassy of Norway in New Delhi, the Consulate General in Mumbai and the Norwegian Business Association, India (NBAI) recently organised a half-day-long Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) workshop alongside NBAI’s Annual General Meeting in Mumbai on July 11, 2016.
The main agenda of the workshop was to make Norwegian companies familiar with the new Indian legislation on CSR and to encourage them to not only abide by the local laws but also aim to achieve the Norwegian CSR standards.
One of the main points of discussion was on pooling the resources of the Norwegian companies and forming a foundation, which can then invest in CSR activities. This could potentially have a greater effect compared to companies investing individually, especially in case of small and medium enterprises. The idea was well received by the Norwegian companies present, and the NBAI Chairman announced that this could be further explored.
The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights have, in the space of a short period of time, become an important international standard for how companies should respect human rights throughout their operations. The Government of Norway has launched a national action plan to follow up the UN Guiding Principles, as part of its work to intensify Norway’s efforts to promote human rights.
Consul General Torbjorn Holthe introduced The Action Plan on Business and Human Rights at the seminar. The plan will make it easier for the business sector to use the UN Guiding Principles. It sets out the Norwegian authorities’ expectations of Norwegian companies, and makes clear what support and advice companies are entitled to from the Norwegian authorities.
According to Norway’s Foreign Minister Brende, “the Government and the business sector have a common interest in ensuring that Norwegian companies are able to carry out and further develop their international operations in accordance with recognised international norms.”
Innovation Norway and the Embassy of Norway look forward to continue the collaboration on CSR with Norwegian companies in India.