CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
One of the terms frequently heard these days in boardrooms and at stockholder meetings is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). To some the term is a current fad or buzz word. To others it is a call for conscience by the corporate world. The term has various aliases: community responsibility, good corporate citizenship, corporate social involvement, and corporate social conscience. There are also various shadings and nuances. Not surprisingly, CSR has its supporters and its detractors. But whether one supports or derogates it, in this age of globalization, CSR cannot be ignored.
In 1965, the then Prime Minister of India presided over a national meeting that issued the following declaration on the Social Responsibilities of Business:
Business has responsibility to itself, to its customers, workers, shareholders and the community – every enterprise, no matter how large or small, must, if it is to enjoy confidence and respect, seek actively to discharge its responsibilities in all directions and not to one or two groups, such as shareholders or workers, at the expense of community and consumer. Business must be just and humane as well as efficient and dynamic.
WHAT IS CSR?
Broadly speaking, CSR delineates the relationship between business and the larger society. Ramon Mullerat, a foremost exponent of CSR and former president of the Council of the Bars, and Law Societies of the European Union, succinctly defined its elements “CSR can be defined as a concept whereby companies voluntarily decide to respect and protect the interest of a broad range of stakeholders and to con¬tribute to a cleaner environment and a better society through active interaction with all”. CSR is the voluntary commitment by business to manage its role in, society in a responsible way. CSR is the commitment of business to contribute to sustainable development working with employees, their families, the local communities in societies at large to...