“CSR isn’t a particular programme, it’s what we do every day, maximising positive impact and minimising negative impact.”

We live a dynamic life in a world that is growing more and more complex. Global scale environmental, social, cultural and economic issues have now become part of our every day life. Boosting profits is no longer the sole business performance indicator for the corporates and they have to play the role of responsible corporate citizens as they owe a duty towards the society, where they operate and draw resources from it and as such they are part of society. Corporate Social Responsibility [CSR] is underpinned by public policy and therefore, it has undeniable links with law. CSR is not something new to India and the concept of trusteeship advocated by Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation was embraced by many companies , in various forms over the years. The government perceives CSR as the business contribution to the nation’s sustainable development goals. Essentially, it is about how business takes into account the economic, social and environmental impact of the way in which it operates. Perception of the government about CSR gained shape and form in the Companies Act, 2013, which mandates Companies to undertake Corporate Social Responsibility, as one of the Board Agenda.

Corporate Social Responsibility is an important business strategy because, to some extent a consumer wants to buy products from companies he trusts, a supplier wants to form business partnership with companies he can rely on, an employee want to work for a company he respects, other concerns want to establish business contacts with companies seeking feasible solutions and innovations in areas of common concern.

As per Rule 2(1)(c) of Companies (Corporate Social Responsibility Policy) Rules, 2014

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)” means & includes but is not limited to –

  1. Projects or programs relating to activities specified in Schedule VII to the Act; or
  2. Projects or programs relating to activities undertaken by the Board of Directors of a company (Board) in pursuance of recommendations of the CSR Committee of the Board as per declared CSR Policy of the company subject to the conditions that such policy will cover subjects enumerated in Schedule VII of the Act.

In simple words, CSR can be understood as –

Business Dictionary defines CSR as –

“A company’s sense of responsibility towards the community and environment (both ecological and social) in which it operates.

Companies express this citizenship –

  1. through their waste and pollution reduction processes,
  2. by contributing educational and social programs and
  3. by earning adequate returns on the employed resources.”

History of CSR

The concept of CSR is not new in India.

Philosophers like Kautilya emphasized on ethical practices and principles while conducting business. In that period, Kings had an obligation towards society and merchants displayed their own business responsibility by building places of worship, education and various forms to charity for the needy. Although the core function of business was to create wealth for society and was based on an economic structure, the business community with their rulers believed in the philosophy of “Sarva loka hitam” which means ‘‘the well-being of all stakeholders”. Indian Scriptures have at several places mentioned the importance of sharing one’s earning with the deprived sections of society. There are different ways through which a firm can exert positive social change in society and collaborate with partners who have the explicit power to trigger such change.

The concept of corporate social responsibility generally, agreed by the historians, emerged in the 1930s to 1940s and became formalized in 1953 with the publication of book named ‘Social Responsibilities of the Businessman’ by Howard Bowen. However, the term CSR became only popular in the 1990s. According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, 1999 “Corporate Social Responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to the economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and the society at large.”

Corporate Social Responsibility is the way companies manage their businesses to produce an overall positive impact on society through economic, environmental and social actions.

CSR is no longer viewed as just a regulatory or discretionary cost, but an investment that brings financial returns. It is an opportunity for corporate to gain goodwill.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a concept whereby companies not only consider their profitability and growth, but also the interests of society and the environment by taking responsibility for the impact of their activities on stakeholders, environment, consumers, employees, communities, and all other members of the public sphere.

The vedic philosophy of “Sarva loka hitam” i.e. ‘‘the well-being of all stakeholders”, has regained importance in the current business environment. The concept has evolved over the years and now used as strategy and a business opportunity to earn stakeholder goodwill.

The term Corporate Social responsibility refers to the concept of business being accountable for how it manages the impact of its processes on stakeholders and takes responsibility for producing a positive effect on society.


CSR should not be viewed as a drain on resources, because carefully implemented CSR policies can help your organisation:

Generate positive publicity and media opportunities due to media interest in ethical business activities

  • Rohit Malhotra: rohit.m@thepositivetimes.org
  • Ravi Gupta: ravi.g@thepositivetimes.org
  • Payal Bafna: 8806778679
  • Email: connect@thepositivetimes.org
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