Its a thought-provoking article providing a balanced view; and also; as many suspect; the possibility of CSR being used just as a propaganda tool.
I especially liked the following:
- Of the top 40 Indian business groups, around 70% are family-owned or controlled. For many, the corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives of group companies are generally seen and treated as their own giving, with wives, daughters, or relatives at the helm.
- Ardeshir lived up to his mentor, the Mahatma’s, dictum—a trustee has no heir but the public—and also the beliefs of the world’s pioneering philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie—to die rich is to die disgraced.
- So, the days of using the CSR activities of a group or company as a fig-leaf are over. A high-profile Dhirubhai Ambani International School doesn’t cut much ice anymore.
- Moreover, the very concept of CSR has moved on, and is evolving into ‘corporate responsibility’ or ‘corporate sustainability’ with a focus on the triple-bottom line—profits, people and the planet.
- The Tata group, in fact, is attempting to banish the term CSR within the group and replace it with ‘corporate sustainability’.
- “Anil Agarwal of Vedanta Plc cannot continue to mine, plunder and displace, and then set up a few schools and hospitals, flaunt its CSR and say ‘we have done our bit; we are a good corporate citizen’,” says Tomy Mathew, director on the board of UK-based Liberation Foods CIC, a community interest company.