Spotlight on: India
CORPORATE SUSTIANABILITY IN INDIA
Corporate sustainability in India remains largely philanthropic in
nature. Most initiatives focus on education, healthcare, community
livelihood and infrastructure development. The Indian Government’s Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has
developed Voluntary Guidelines on Corporate Social Responsibility. These are based on insights garnered through the Global Compact, GRI and OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises. These guidelines were drafted with the aim of encouraging sustainability disclosures by Indian companies on environmental, social and governance parameters. The Indian government was perhaps the first in the world to have formally mandated CSR through legal requirements in 2013. For-profit companies are required to invest a percentage of their profits in development projects identified by the Indian government.
THE LAUNCH OF THE NETWORK
In the early 2000s, participants in the Global Compact movement in India met in informal networking meetings in both Mumbai and New Delhi. On 24 November 2003 Global Compact Network India (GCNI) became the first Local Network to
be registered with full legal recognition.
The Network has engaged in a variety of activities since its launch, including networking, awareness-raising and capacitybuilding.
- Launch of the network website in 2004.
- Monthly knowledge-sharing and networking meetings.
- Launch of the Children’s Rights and Business Principles in 2012, the WEPs in 2013 and B4P in 2014.
- Establishment of the India CEO Forum on Business and Human Rights.
- Launch of the Asia-Pacific Resource Centre on Responsible Business Practices.
- Formation of the Sustainability Alliance Partners group.
THE ROLE OF THE LOCAL NETWORK IN CATALYSING CHANGE
The Global Compact Network India provides opportunities for networking while facilitating peer learning and the sharing of good practices among key stakeholders. The Local Network’s greatest impacts to date have been:
- Launch of the Collective Action Project (CAP) in 2011 with the objective of fostering collective-action platforms on anti-corruption by facilitating ongoing dialogue between the private and public sectors.
- Raising awareness on the issues of water scarcity and poor access to sanitation through organising a number of events together with the CEO Water Mandate. This includes the event ‘India Collaboration Lab: New Alliances for Water
and Sanitation’ and the 11th working conference of the CEO Water Mandate in Mumbai in 2013. Amongst other things, these events promoted partnerships among stakeholders that advanced innovative projects in water access, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and water risk management.
- The India CEO Forum was established with the aim of advancing human rights in a business context among Indian industry. GCNI has been raising awareness on what actions businesses can take to support and respect human rights in different industries.
CASE: CENTRE FOR EXCELLENCE FOR TRANSPARENCY & ETHICS IN BUSINESS
The need for a Centre of Excellence emerged from the Collective Action Project (CAP) of 2011 – 2015, which concluded that corruption must be combatted through private-public sector dialogue. The CAP project educated business executives, government officials and the general public about how corruption can be prevented through collective action. It also offered them examples of strategies to help them meet their goals. Drawing on the conclusions of the project, the Centre for Excellence opened on 1 March 2015 supported by the Siemens Integrity Initiative. It is designed to conduct research and training, provide a platform for dialogue and encourage policy change to strengthen transparency in business.
Network launch: 2003
Number of business participants: 188
Number of non-business participants: 82
Total number Global Compact signatories: 312
Hosting organisation:Global Compact Society (GCS) (2003)
Key focus area: Environment, human rights and anti-corruption
Notable fact: The India network was the first