Cooperative Social Responsibility Audit: Strategy or Compulsion? The Emerging Trend of Indian Cooperatives

Posted: 25 Mar 2008

Date Written: March 23, 2008


Cooperative Social Responsibility (CSR) is the commitment of cooperative business to contribute to sustainable economic development - working with employees, their families, the local community and society at large to improve the quality of life, in ways that are both good for business and good for over all development of society. Sustainable development is possible by optimizing economic, social & environmental benefits vis-à-vis costs.

Cooperative sector in India is considered as third pillar of economy, other pillars being private & public sector. Volume of business, population involvement, business penetration and type of business carried out by cooperative sector is unparallel and sine-qua-non in Indian society. Every third citizen is member of cooperative organization and there are as many as 600,000 cooperatives working in the country. By virtue of the principles of cooperatives, there is an integral relationship between a cooperative at its community. Cooperatives are essentially a response to community development, may be: opportunities or challenges. However CSR is not yet considered by Indian cooperatives as either part of organization policy, being responsibility towards society or as an opportunity to get an edge over corporate sector.

This Research Study aims at taking stock of Indian cooperatives, by way of "Social Audit" in general and detailed study of selected cooperatives. The research is composed of studying & analyzing primary and secondary data. Apart from identifying specific trend in CSR among Indian cooperatives, a detailed study will be carried out for three prominent cooperatives, namely: (1) AMUL (2) IFFCO & (3) MARKFED. Available literature will be reviewed to critically analyze how far these cooperatives are sensitive to CSR issues.

The analysis will focus on following matrix components of cooperative practices & performance indicators: Mandating, Facilitating, Partnering, Endorsing vis-à-vis · Environment, Human rights, Workforce/labor relations, Community involvement, Ethics/anti-corruption, Strategic vision, Financial performance and other suitable indicators. The research exercise ultimately aims at suggesting and building CSR Tool Kit that can be used as strategically guiding factor for the cooperatives to pursue best CSR practices for over all benefits and sustainable development of cooperatives, members and society at large.

Keywords: Cooperative Social Responsibility, CSR, Audit, India

JEL Classification: J5, J1, P13

Suggested Citation

Sapovadia, Vrajlal K., Cooperative Social Responsibility Audit: Strategy or Compulsion? The Emerging Trend of Indian Cooperatives (March 23, 2008). Available at SSRN:

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