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Saturday, Nov 18, 2006

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`Corporates must wake up to social responsibility'

Our Bureau

Chennai , Nov. 17

Businesses must include corporate social responsibility (CSR) as part of their intrinsic operations. Only then could CSR activity be sustained, according to Mr Abhiram Seth, Executive Director - Exports and External Affairs, Pepsico India Holdings Pvt Ltd.

Speaking at a seminar organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Tamil Nadu State Council (FICCI - TNSC), he said CSR was imperative to business. "Businesses unconscious of this are in peril," he said.

The seminar also discussed how trade associations could promote CSR.

Ms Ranu Kulshreshta, Senior Assistant Director, Socio Economic Development Foundation, FICCI, said different companies understood CSR differently.

"Companies can associate with trade bodies to understand and implement CSR activities. For starters, they can recognise and reward employees," she said.

Ms Kulshreshta stressed that companies could use the workplace as a platform to further CSR work. "Social issues like healthcare and environment protection can be promoted at the work place," she said.

She said FICCI would be starting a resource centre to aid companies in implementing CSR activity. The centre would create awareness on CSR practices by collecting data on best practices from industries.

Mr D. Sampath Kumar, Associate Editor, Business Line, said companies often felt uncomfortable approaching the media to promote their CSR work. "If companies incorporate CSR as an intrinsic function, the media would cover it just like it would cover other activities of the company," he said.

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