Promoting Sustainability in India

CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development is one of the institutions that promotes sustainability in India. The Centre, which is based out of Delhi enables businesses to become more sustainable. It also offers guidance and resources to nudge Indian industries towards more inclusive growth and sustainable development.

The Centre also has formulated the CII-ITC Sustainability Awards to recognize companies which have successfully instituted sustainability in some elements of their business. Over the last five years, 350 organizations of various sizes and sectors have been considered fro this prestigious award. Companies like Tata Steel, Tata Consultancy, Toyota, Maruti Suzuki etc have been recognized for their efforts in the part. 

India is beginning to see a sustainability revolution of sorts with the new Companies Bill cleared by the cabinet in late November. This Bill is pretty revolutionary for Indian business and sustainability at it provides for stricter disclosure norms, penal provisions, greater shareholder democracy and the talks about CSR for the first time. Companies will have to earmark two percent of their profits of the previous three years for CSR activities and make a disclosure of it in their balance-sheets. The Bill also introduces the concept of class action suits for investor protection as well as a fixed term for independent directors and their liability in a company.

In a summit held last Friday by CII-ITC, the impact of the Companies Bill was discussed. On December 16th, the awards ceremony to recognize achievements in sustainability performance will be bestowed to numerous companies. In addition to four top levels of recognition, theme- and sector-specific recognition will be presented.

In June of this year, the Centre announced that over the next 18 months it will work towards developing an independent sustainability rating of the top 200 companies in India. Metrics for the survey will be developed independently by CII and this may be linked to a product or service so that there is a wider awareness of sustainability leaders. There is a severe lack of such consolidated information for Indian companies and this will be welcomed by many.

India still has a long way to do in terms of sustainability and CSR but the Companies Bill and organizations like CII-ITC will help it along. Even in the face of rather unsatisfactory negotiations at Durban, business focus on sustainability will help alleviate certain problems. Recognizing such effort is an essential part of good CSR and this is where awards such these come into play.

Thanks to Avantika Bahl for her time and input. 

Akhila is the Founding Director of GreenDen Consultancy which is dedicated to offering business analysis, reporting and marketing solutions powered by sustainability and social responsibility. Based in the US, Europe, and India, the GreenDen's consultants share the best practices and innovation from around the globe to achieve real results. She has previously written about CSR and ethical consumption for Justmeans and hopes to put a fresh spin on things for this column. As an IEMA certified CSR practitioner, she hopes to highlight a new way of doing business. She believes that consumers have the immense power to change 'business as usual' through their choices. She is a Graduate in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow, UK and in Environmental Management and Law. In her free-time she is a voracious reader and enjoys photography, yoga, travelling and the great outdoors. She can be contacted via Twitter @aksvi and also

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