Defining CSR- Beneficiaries, Stakeholders, Supply chain vs CSR

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By Anil Jaggi

21st Century  is together a new century for business  fraternity, business  houses, and multi-nationals,  as Corporate World never had such  influencing status before in the society,  as they enjoy today across the globe.

With consistent & growing business, impressive balance-sheets, M&A (Merger and Acquisitions) on card, global reach and increasing cash  flow among  its consumers,  business  is not looking back and giving impressive quarterly and annual reports to their shareholders.

On the other side corporation is also direct or indirect contributor to most 21st century’s  ecological and social challenges and hold the future of our planet in their hands.  In this  age of globalisation, sustainable strategies  give corporation the choice  of getting  ahead of the curve, define and redefine new rules and being rewarded by their stakeholders for behaving  responsibly.

With growing pressure from market, Govt., international bodies like ISO26000, OECD, UN Global Compact etc. Companies have now started  putting their  strategic CSR action plans  in place to meet these guidelines and of course to attract their potential and future customers with  their clean, responsible and environmental friendly image.

With Govt. of India’s proposed bill on mandatory CSR  for private sector, debate is already on among policy makers, India Inc. and CSOs (Civil Society Organisations) to understand the basic intricacies of CSR and define and redefine CSR in true sense for the larger interest of underprivileged community & beneficiaries.

Watching these developments closely, its still very difficult to define true CSR in Indian perspective. How exactly we need to define CSR, what are the expectations of stakeholders and how to define their role, involvement of supply chain, role of central and state Governments etc.  in the whole process  is yet to be defined and clarified.

Good news is that, all over the world, boards of directors are starting to take account of Sustainability and CSR issues as never before. The Question now is “HOW”, not WHY . On the other side, most of the companies including Indian PSUs are trying to define CSR in  their own interests with their own agenda and comfort level, obliging their near and dear NGOs or Trusts of local politicians forgetting the basic purpose of CSR and ignoring real stakeholders and beneficiaries.

Many trusts, NGOs, foundations are floated by these business houses which are fully controlled by their own management, lacking transparency and accountability and making it  simple way to transfer the money from one account to another on the name of CSR. Irony is that these trust and foundations are also functioning like India Inc. and have no accountability for the stakeholders.

Today  there is a urgent need to understand clearly that  do  the target beneficiaries have any right to know that the money taken out (on their name)  by this Corporate  world  has any social auditing and certification process to really check the impact of CSR and their implementation.

If yes, its good, otherwise its going to be another image building measure for Corporate India on the name of CSR.

In today’s world we need to understand that goals of corporations, societies  and the  environment  are mutually sustainable i.e to survive, prosper and to remain sustainable and  this  is also an opportunity for business fraternity to transform the world by creating  sustainable and responsible business organisations with “CSR or No CSR”, as the utmost    missions of our time is to integrate holistic working with core business activities with  passion, energy & determination and contribute towards its inclusive and sustainable growth.

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