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Published : June 25, 2011 | Author : poojapareek
Category : Company Law | Total Views : 4776 | Unrated

Pooja Pareek, I am a student of law studying from UNIVERSITY of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun and i have completed 4th year.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility is day by day becoming an important activity to business whether national or international. These corporations have progressively recognized the benefits of providing CSR programs.

Corporate Social responsibility (CSR) is a form of corporate self regulation integrated into a business model and it is used as a framework for measuring an organization’s performance against economic, social and environmental parameters. The goal of CSR is to embrace responsibility for the company’s action and encourage a positive impact through its activities on employees, consumers etc. It focuses to promote the public interest. In recent years CSR has become a fundamental business practice and has gained much attention from chief executives,
Chairmen, boards of directors and executive management teams of larger international Companies .

This term Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) came into existence after the formation of Multinational Companies. The approaches to CSR are as follows:
(a) Becoming more widely accepted is a community based development approach.
(b) Philanthropy includes monetary donations and aid given to local organizations in developing countries.
(c) To incorporate the CSR strategy directly into the business strategy of an organization.
(d) Garnering increasing corporate responsibility interest.

Corporate Social Responsibility in India
Corporate Social Responsibility in India sets a realistic agenda of development through alliances and partnership with sustainable development approaches.

Companies like TATA and BIRLA have been imbibing the case for social good in their operations long before CSR became popular. After this also CSR in India is in a very emerging stage. It is followed by few public and private companies. Nearly all leading companies in India are involved in Corporate Social Responsibility activities. Central Government even working for the quantifying the CSR initiatives to promote them further . Moreover, in 2009, the government made it mandatory for all public sector oil companies to spend 2 per cent of their net profits on corporate social responsibility.

Advantages of Corporate Social Responsibilty:
CSR is closely linked with the principle of sustainable development, which argues that enterprises should make decisions based not only on financial factors such as profits or dividends but also based on immediate and long term social and environmental consequences of its activities. CSR has a significant role in controlling the perils of uncontrolled development, satisfying the needs of the present generation and at the same time ensuring that the resources of future generations is not jeopardized. Companies are more willing to report on their contributions to the maintenance of a sound environment, a healthier society or more ethical business practices through both internal and external action within the countries in which they operate. The area often lacking is CSR reporting in the area of labor rights and relations. One of the prime concerns of CSR should be the quality of industrial relations within a company.

It must be a contradiction in terms for a firm that fails to apply collective agreements or respect employment contracts to be regarded as ’socially responsible’. One of the most significant issues within the CSR agenda concerns the dynamic relationship between CSR and good public governance. The limits both to corporate accountability through law and to ‘voluntary’ CSR-related actions by businesses lie with the public good governance agenda. Legislation to deal with worst case instances of irresponsible behavior and to set a minimum floor for business conduct will not work in the absence of effective drivers for business implementation and enforcement, whether they are market-based, or a result of enforcement through the state.

Monitoring and Evaluation
For proper monitoring of CSR activities , companies may appoint a CSR committee or Social Audit Committee or a suitable, credible agency to a critically assess fulfillment of social obligations. CSR projects should also be evaluated by an independent external agency. This evaluation should be both concurrent and final.

In India, till very recently, the focus was on charity, which is not really CSR. Sustainable CSR programmes mean a unified mix of economic, legal, ethical and philanthropic doctrines. In today's changed business scenario, there is an increased focus on giving back to society and creating a model which works long term and is sustainable and it is essential that the best practices for inclusive growth are shared with the stakeholders. Getting multinationals to comply with local laws is not an easy task. Many countries, north and south, do not direct sufficient resources to enforcement. Management practices that dodge regulations preserve .Furthermore, labor laws can indeed be difficult to interpret. But suppliers, companies, and countries can't point to these difficulties to elude legal accountability. Legal compliance will be hard to achieve, whether within the CSR rubric or not, but extracting legal compliance from CSR has the advantage of bringing to light a range of workplace and wage issues that companies are required by law to attend to. Finally the author of this paper hopes that the companies’ attitude towards CSR is more on transformation rather than giving information in web sites.

Authors contact info - articles The  author can be reached at: poojapareek@legalserviceindia.com

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