:Exhorting corporate enterprises to focus on “ethics as efficiency”, Chief Justice of India, Mr Justice Ranjan Gogoi, today said at an ASSOCHAM event that the industry should integrate Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) into a modern strategy, ensuring that the financial drivers and sustainable development metrics are embedded into the mainstream businesses.
Delivering the prestigious 2nd Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Memorial Lecture, instituted by the ASSOCHAM, Justice Gogoi said, ” In oder to achieve the goal of social justice in the best possible manner, it is necessary that CSR be integrated into our modern business strategy. ‘sustainable’. We can do that by making our businesses to adopt, demonstrate, and practice more holistic approaches to business, where financial drivers together with sustainable development performance (i.e. social equity, environmental protection, and economic growth) are incorporated into mainstream business strategy and embedded in organizational values”.
Emphasizing that CSR is much more than charity, he said it requires the companies and businesses to act beyond their legal obligations to integrate social, environmental and ethical concerns into a company’s business process.
In his welcome speech, the ASSOCHAM President Mr B K Goenka said, corporates have always been engaging themselves in philanthropy and charitable activities while embedding the same in law has given a new dimension to the CSR. Mr Goenka also shared the views of the Chief Justice of India who stated that doyens of Indian corporate world since the Independence struggle had contributed significantly in the form of deployment of their wealth to the worthy social justice causes.
Sharing his perspective, ASSOCHAM Senior Vice President Dr Niranjan Hiranandani said he whole-heartedly agrees with Justice Gogoi that the CSR should go well beyond the legal oblgation and it should become part of an enterprise, starting from the top management.
In his lecture, attended by legal luminaries, top industry leaders, senior bureaucrats and diplomats, the CJI touched upon several important issues , including sustainable development, corporate taxation and resource transfer to the state, investment in backward areas, juvenile shelter homes and human rights.
Justice Gogoi said, India is still a developing country, and ”although our economy began to thrive post privatization and globalization, our situation is different from that of the developed west. Therefore, having entered the global marketplace without a particularly robust regulatory infrastructure and without fully functional state services like schools, highways, or hospitals, we have experienced and continue to experience great inequities”.
Corporate taxation provides an important instrument for ensuring that a reasonable proportion of wealth must benefit the fellow citizens. ”Therefore, steps towards improving the transparency of resource transfers between business and the state is necessary. Moreover, one of the areas of greatest weakness in relation to social protection relates to the extremely limited attention within the CSR agenda to the vast majority of workers, producers and enterprises in our country that are associated with micro- and small enterprises, small-scale agriculture and the so-called informal sector’, he said.
Paying rich tributes to Dr Kalam, Justice Gogoi said he was not only a man of science, but also a human being with a scientific temper and an acclaimed and loved teacher who believed that application of scientific knowledge for the use of the community would be the greatest contribution of science in the progress of human life. Dr. Kalam may have worked in the frontier areas of Aerospace Engineering and Nuclear Science all his life; yet he never lost touch with the needs of his fellow citizens.
Proposing a Vote of Thanks, ASSOCHAM Vice President Mr Vineet Agarwal said the lecture delivered by the CJI has given a new perspective and inside to the concept of CSR and its dimensions.