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Home arrow News arrow Business News arrow CII calls for a “CSR” label for industry
CII calls for a “CSR” label for industry Print E-mail
Written by Viswanath   
Tuesday, 06 May 2008
New Delhi: “Corporate Social Responsibility, with inclusiveness as its ethos, has to become a part of the basic DNA of the corporate world in order to address the twin needs of enhancing society and building India”, K V Kamath, President Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Managing Director and CEO, ICICI Bank Ltd, said at the “2nd National Summit on CSR 2008’ on the theme ‘The new business model: Engaging society, enhancing competitiveness’ being held in New Delhi today and tomorrow.

The two-day summit organized by the CII in collaboration with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and the Nation Foundation for Corporate Governance (NCFG) brings together representatives of the government, industry, NGOs and the civil society and marks a milestone in CII’s ongoing work on CSR. It is a forum to reflect through discussion on where Indian Industry is, in its understanding of CSR; to share best practice examples with coprorates as well as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who are planning to embark on CSR, to fine-tune their plans

“For a long time, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been equated with charity. It has to become a basic strategy and drive of business and focus on education, employment, health and financial inclusiveness”, Mr Kamath said during the inaugural session. CII has been actively pursuing this aim for many years now and its upcoming Centre for Excellence on Responsive Corporate Citizenship, near Chennai, is a step in this direction, he added.

CSR is a subject that is becoming more and more important internationally and corporates, governments and NGOs around the world are coming together to build a more sustainable world, said Kajo Wasserhovel, State Secretary, German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

Though their challenges are very different, India and Germany have set up a bilateral working group on CSR, Wasserhovel said and added that large corporates as well as SMEs need to work towards social accountability and adopt new CSR standards like the SA26000 which is in practice in many European companies (equivalent to India’s SA8000 standard which has been adopted by over 200 Indian companies).

“While, adoption of standards like SA 8000 is fast becoming a reality if you have to remain a preferred supplier to the developed world, it is more important to adopt an index to measure impact on human development around the company’s operations. This will help avoid mis-trust towards industry, unrest amongst the community surrounding the area of operation and contribute to inclusive growth in real terms” added Shefali Chaturvedi, Head Social Development Initiatives, Confederation of Indian Industry.

We plan to institute a CII CSR award on these lines, re-inforced Atul Singh, Chairman, CII 2nd CSR Summit 2008 and President & CEO, Coca-Cola India Ltd.

“This summit takes place when we are truly at a crossroads, when technology is making strides yet millions of people are becoming more vulnerable. India faces the challenge of making its growth inclusive and sustainable and the 2nd National CSR Summit looks at the challenges and ways to overcome these, said Mr Singh.

To promote the concept of Public Private People Partnerships (P4), the CII is engaging with state governments, academic institutions, local industry and community organizations. Mr Atul Singh announced the first roll out of the CII P4 project in Jharkhand.

Agreeing, Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General of CII said that CII has been actively promoting CSR for the past decade and a half and remains committed to this initiative. The Confederation is now working on expanding its activities in the field by including Corporate Governance in its agenda through promoting partnerships between corporates, the government and NFCG, he added.

On this occasion, CII released its industry-NGO partnership compendium titled “Partnership Case Studies between Business and Voluntary Organisations” during the inaugural session of the summit. The document prepared by the CII national Committee for Industry- NGO partnership brings together 17 best practices in industry-NGO partnerships in the area of CSR and aims at inspiring more.

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