There are not many watchdog organizations in India that look specifically at CSR. In America and the rest of the world, there are many ‘lists’ that regularly point out the companies that have the best CSR programs and initiatives. These range from Corporate Knight’s Global 100 to Ethisphere Institute’s Most Ethical Companies and Corporate Responsibility magazine’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens. While many in the industry question the authenticity of these lists, it is undeniable that it does put a spotlight on CSR performance.
Karmayog is perhaps the only organization in India to produce CSR lists. This year the Karmayog CSR study and ratings present a snap-shot of the largest 500 companies in India, with specific focus on their CSR initiatives. The study shows how different kinds of companies (government owned, private, multi-national) from different industry sectors are responding to global and local conditions that demand and need more responsible behavior by all stakeholders, especially corporations.
Karmayog is an organization based out of Mumbai, India. It has evolved as an internet platform for nonprofits and supporters to inform others about themselves and their needs and offers. It also acts as a “NGO-citizen-government interface” that can enable a holistic view of the various problems that society faces. Citizens and corporates can list the availability of their time, talent, materials, services, money, and indicate their interest in supporting particular types of projects and nonprofits. They currently list over 1000 nonprofits in Mumbai and over 3000 in the rest of India. Due to the nature of their work, they have a firm finger on the pulse of the corporate world and are able to give a rather unbiased view of CSR activities.
This is the fourth year of the Karmayog CSR Ratings. Since the study was started in 2007, there has been a greater awareness and practice of CSR in India. The firm has found that more companies are reporting their CSR activities and that the government has framed voluntary CSR recommendations for companies. According to them, their objective of undertaking an annual CSR rating is to present a common person’s view and understanding of companies and how they behave. They have found that stakeholders play an important role and they are becoming more and more aware of a company’s operations.
Companies with a Level 4 rating include Ballarpur Industries, HDFC, Infosys Technologies, Jubilant Organosys, Kansai Nerolac, Larsen and Toubro, Mahindra and Mahindra, Moser Baer, Tata Consultancy, Tata Steel, Titan Industries and Wipro. The organization recommends that a company spend a minimum of 0.2% of its Sales on CSR activities. According to them:
We have seen over the last 4 years, a trend towards compartmentalising CSR and turning CSR into a specialised activity. In our view, CSR is intrinsic to all parts of a business, and hence is reflected in the actions of a company, in all aspects such as HR, Corporate Governance, Management, Accounting, R&D, Advertising, etc. and the ratings take these into account as well.
Over the past four years, there has been an increase in companies undertaking some form of CSR. The number of companies with a Level 4 or Level 3 rating, has remained similar. The study also includes sector-specific tables and ratings that show how companies in different industry sectors are undertaking CSR, and also highlight the best practices by companies in a sector.