Tuesday, November 30
Care and Concern for Environment is Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate social responsibility is the buzz word of present time. At a time when the developed countries are feeling the heat of financial tsunami, India has come out unscathed, growing at an unprecedented rate of above eight percent. India Inc. is shining. But, there is huge constrain on the natural resources to sustain this high rate of growth. Companies are increasingly looking for natural resources and they are ready to pay premium for raw materials security.
In this scenario, it becomes very important to ascertain whether the corporate sector has any obligation towards the environment or not. There is no doubt that protection of environment is primarily a job of the government. But, when so many companies are reaping the dividends of higher growth, it is expected from them to contribute something back to the society. The existence of industry is dependent on the existence of people. Any mad scramble or the bungling of resources will create future problems for the industry. The corporate sector will have to understand this in very clear terms.
Any development that occurs, keeping concerns for the environment aside, is not sustainable. In recent times, numerous instances have come into light where the green norms were not followed in setting up a plant. The Vedanta episode is a glaring example of this. The Industry appears to have taken the short sighted approach where there is too much emphasis on profit booking and less on the concern towards the environment. There is little brain storming on ‘how industry will secure raw materials supply for the days ahead’. The unholy nexus between the government and the business houses is a big obstacle in implementing tougher environmental laws. When the whole world is talking about global warming and the need to save mother earth, this kind of approach from India Inc. is very frustrating.
The corporate social responsibility should not be restricted to donation towards charitable trusts only. Rather, the policy of business houses should be to take an inclusive approach where development occurs not at the cost of environment. The companies engaged in mining, manufacturing and other polluting activities should follow environmental laws strictly and emulate the best practices of their counterparts in other parts of the world. They can also spend money on development and utilization of green technology. This will reduce pollution and help them in earning carbon credits. The government should think of making corporate social responsibility mandatory for organizations, a certain portion of their revenues or profits to be spent on environment protection. The environmental laws enforcement agencies need to be free from political interferences so that they can take an impartial approach during appraisals of different industrial plants.
All such efforts will be effective only if the corporate sector sincerely understands its responsibility. If the industry does not show genuine concerns and engages only in cosmetic acts, it will bear the fallout of environment degradation. Remember, the environmental catastrophe is not very far away. The earlier India Inc. understands this, the better they will be equipped to handle its effects on the Industry.
Mr Tharoor is a learned person...represented India in the UN ...lost the race to be its secretary general not because he was less competen...
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