| POLITICS, ETHICS AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY OF BUSINESS
largely by the environmental legislation and regulation in the 1990s and also due to the requirements of the
international markets. For example, compliance with ISO 14001 that deals with environmental management is
considered important for gaining access to international markets while SA 8000 that deals with social standards
is not given similar importance. In both India and South Africa, the current emphasis within the CSR agenda
is more on social challenges and the compliance with environmental legislation may suffer because of this. In
Chile, the main focus of the f rms involved in CSR is on their relationship with workers and communities.
There is therefore a need to integrate the social, environmental and economic issues into the CSR agenda,
especially, if we want to move towards developing global CSR standards.
The integration of differing aspects in different nations remains key problem while the same is coupled
with other unresolved issues.
22.7 EVALUATION OF CSR
While companies in North America and Europe are pressured by stakeholder to adopt CSR practices. In the
United Kingdom, some NGOs and commentators appear to be on the verge of withdrawing from the SR
debate, arguing that it is being used as a f g leaf while companies continue ‘business as usual’.
There is an
emerging critique of SR practice from civil society organisations in many countries. For example, in Chile
and South Africa, there is a widespread view (outside the private sector) that there is a large gap between the
discourse and practice of SR, due to a response from enterprises that is often superf cial and reactionary rather
than strategic. Likewise, surveys in India indicate that senior managers commonly lead SR initiatives, without
necessarily translating and internalising them across their organisations. CSR is generally acknowledged as
weak in India. Partners in change in collaboration with IMRB, the market research organisation conducted
a survey in 2003. The study related to institutionalising CSR in India. Only 17% of companies surveyed
have a written CSR policy according to this survey. The CSR activity was driven from top management
and did not relate to the core business of the company. Individual companies have taken the responsibility
of institutionalising CSR in India mainly, Tata Council for Community Initiatives remains the guiding focal
point of the institutionalisation process across Tata companies and others too. There is a need to develop a
more coherent and ethically driven discourse on CSR. However, CSR is still sometimes seen as ‘green wash’
to clean the sins of pollution, or ‘white wash’ to provide a facelift to the company’s image. It is often seen
as old wine in a new bottle – just another trendy name for good old philanthropic initiatives by companies.
There is need to move beyond such transitory illusions about CSR.
22.8 RECENT DEVELOPMENTS AND THE WAY FORWARD
In future, the global CSR concerns would get enmeshed with the local concerns. Though the trend is towards
local concerns of CSR getting priority over the global concerns; however, the global concerns should get
priority over the local concerns, particularly when it relates to environmental issues. For example, climate
change and fair trade practices must get the f rst priority over education, health and labour rights. Similarly,
corruption prevention and poverty reduction should get priority as a local concern in our country because the
country’s corruption index is quite high. Largely, the question of priority remains an unresolved issue. The
priorities may keep on shifting as the expectations of the society from industry changes. The list of concerns
given below shows the differences in terms of priority as far as CSR in India is concerned.
• Climate change,
See for example Christian Aid’s report Behind the Mask , at http://www.christian.aid.org.uk/indepth/0401csr/.