Altered images: understanding and encouraging corporate responsibility in India

Altered images: understanding and encouraging corporate responsibility in India

What is the state of corporate responsibility in India?

This report presents the results of a poll on corporate responsibility in India. The first part of the document provides an overview and history of corporate responsibility, according to four different models, namely:

  • the ethical model, whereby there is voluntary commitment by companies to public welfare
  • the statist model, whereby state ownership and legal requirements determine corporate responsibilities
  • the liberal model, whereby corporate responsibilities are limited to private owners (shareholders)
  • the stakeholder model, whereby companies respond to the needs of stakeholders – customers, employees, communities, etc.

The second part of the report describes a poll of general public, workers and executives undertaken in India. It finds that although the concept of philanthropy specifically and responsibility generally is not new in Indian business but that trust levels of business, and especially of foreign based MNCs, is very low. The authors conclude that business needs to build trust among and that in order to do so they should work more with NGOs, who people do tend to trust, to build responsibility programmes. The report also finds that gender discrimination is common and calls for business to take the needs of women, such as childcare, into greater account. Finally, they find that working conditions, especially for unskilled workers, leave much to be desired and recommend that industry partners with NGOs to better address the needs and rights of workers.