India: Corporate Responsibility Watch report 2018 finds CSR a cover up for irresponsible business

Author: Corporate Responsibility Watch, India, Published on: 17 January 2019

"CSR: A Cover-up for Irresponsible Business?", 17 January 2019

Corporate Responsibility Watch (CRW) launched its first ever CSR in India Report in the year 2016 with the objective of providing an overall status of Business Responsibility...In today’s India, growth occurs in a context where businesses pursue economic growth, and do comparatively little to integrate themselves within a holistic framework of social and environmental responsibility...CSR is now assuming an increasingly important and strategic role...Given its extensive role in public goods delivery, what begs questioning is the approach to development that characterises companies’ CSR efforts. The reality is that while businesses have been engaging across multiple domains of community development in India, they have negligible formal guidance on what to do, and how to do it...

[Key findings in the 2018 report include]: More than 50 per cent of the businesses had a male to female ratio of 10:1, or worse...Over 65% of businesses studied have either zero disabled employees, or 1% or lower...Freedom of association is Constitutional right, but one that is currently available only in 55% of India’s top 200 randomly selected companies...The ‘good news’ is that Human Rights is no longer a taboo word because as seen above, 94 percent of the study sample companies have claimed that they have human rights policies...[But, these rights are] defined...narrowly to mean a couple of provisions that are anyway mandated by law.

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