Six Indian companies - Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Tea, NTPC, ONGC and MSPL - are the recipients of the Businessworld FICCI-SEDF CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Award 2007.
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, who gave away the awards, May 16, exhorted industry leaders to desist from non-competitve and cartel-type behavior and sustain growth by good governance and good politics.
The finance minister also urged the captains of trade and industry to provide employment to 100,000 differently-abled people for which the government will foot the ESI (employee state insurance) and EFP (employee family protection) bill for the first three years.
Management, boards of directors and employees of companies must be driven by a refined social conscience and social responsibility and not by short-term gains, Chidambaram said.
According to Harshpati Singhania, senior vice president, FICCI, the CSR award was of great significance to all, especially the corporate sector, as it recognizes the work of business in enhancing the well-being of the society at large.
"With the concept of CSR getting more relevant and focused, we realize that the companies operating in both global and domestic markets are increasingly required to incorporate the social, economic and environmental concerns into their business while building shareholders' value and taking care of stakeholders' interest. The field of responsible business practice is one of the most dynamic and challenging subjects facing corporate leaders today. Companies are learning that their involvement in finding solutions to the social issues also helps their own businesses in the long run," he said.
"The business decision-making, in a growing number of companies is now linked to ethical values, compliance with legal requirements, and with respect for people, communities and environment. Many companies are realizing that aligning CSR activities closely with business objectives is good for their business," he added.
According to P.M. Sinha, president, FICCI-SEDF and co-chairperson, FICCI Committee on CSR & Community Development, the general understanding of CSR in India is still deeply rooted in the concept of philanthropy.
"However," Sinha said, "on the larger canvas, philanthropy is only a miniscule part of it."
"CSR is gradually metamorphosing from a mere philosophy to a strong business case for Indian industry. Over the years, the nature of the involvement of business houses with social causes has undergone a sea change. It has moved away from charity and dependence to empowerment and partnership. This is necessary not only for growth of business, but also for 'inclusive growth' in the country," he added.
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