Socially Responsible Business in India: Has the Elephant Finally Woken Up to the Tunes of International Trends?
Common Law World Review, Vol. 41, No. 4, pp. 299-321, 2012
23 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2012 Last revised: 14 May 2013
Date Written: June 15, 2012
This article critically examines the two recent Indian initiatives – the National Voluntary Guidelines on Social, Environmental and Economic Responsibilities of Business 2011 and the Companies Bill 2011 – aimed at promoting corporate social responsibility (CSR) in India. This examination is done in comparison to similar attempts to inject CSR into corporate laws in several other countries. I also investigate whether the Indian proposals really have a distinctly Indian identity, as claimed by the government, and if Gandhi’s trusteeship theory can be employed to develop an Indian approach to CSR. I argue that an Indian (or Asian) approach to CSR may fail to work in an era where companies operate globally and the ‘core’ of what socially responsible business entails is fast becoming a commonly accepted currency at international level.
Keywords: Corporate social responsibility, Indian Companies Bill, Humanising corporate law, CSR reporting, Triple bottom line, Trusteeship theory
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