Shri Ashish Kumar Chauhan; MD & CEO: Bombay Stock Exchange
Views on CSR and Sustainability
Corporate Social Responsibility is basically three words: Corporate, Social and Responsibility.
Corporate’s Social Responsibility is being highly talked about as one word lately – Only last 15 years or so. Earlier the corporates were only responsible to their shareholders, now they are being made responsible to the society, to the ecosystem they serve. This is basically a sign of evolving times: that the corporates that were earlier only answerable to the Shareholders are now being made responsible to the society at large. This slow evolution has been brought about in the last 600 years.
The first stock exchange in the World was set-up in very early 1600s in Amsterdam; the Exchange business is 400 years old and the corporates as we know it now – LLC, around 500 years old. Example: East India Company and other were set up as Limited Liability Company; their main objective was to fund people, project, activities and share profits.
Corporates are known to be main movers for the human progress that has happened over the last 600 years. Example: Industrial revolution, Information revolution, etc are broadly structured around corporates and the society has accepted as corporates as legal entities, they are not natural entities. You and I are natural entities, even dogs and cats are natural entity. But Corporates acts through its agents. Corporates are not natural entities. It is out of social contracts, out of our laws, that we make corporates as entities.
While corporates are great drivers of all the progress that mankind has seen, corporates are also responsible for the great bad! Example: East India Company, Union Carbide, etc… There are many other examples… (even in recent times)..
Society has now started asking several questions. Corporates now have to justify their existence and also their actions. Thus, Corporate Social Responsibility becomes very important.
Many people who have not grown with this idea as a central fulcrum – they may be great donor or great philanthropists, but they may not appreciate the idea of doing CSR !
Corporates have to justify their existence – they have to do good for the communities they serve.
Hence, even the rules have been modified to add that corporates of certain size have to spend towards CSR. Many large corporates have always been doing good for the society, even when the rule didn’t mandate.
India is probably the first in the World where CSR spend has been mandated for corporates.
Many corporates are spending more than the percent mandated. Corporates need to have a CSR committee within – And report the activities in their Annual Report.
As a corporate, BSE has been doing many activities under its CSR banner for: ‘Girl child, Education, financial inclusion, widows, etc.. ‘
Personally, I am associated with few NGO that are into Vocational training.
We firmly believe that Free WIFI is the next wave for including the ‘unincluded’ (not only financially). We are also talking with the government to include providing free wifi as an eligible activity for CSR spends for corporates. This will contribute towards digital India, Inclusive India, etc..
Some strata of the community (below a certain income level) should get free wifi – this will ensure all have equal opportunity & access to information and learning.
We encourage each employee to do community services and volunteering. I, myself do a lot of community services.
Many of our employees teach financial inclusion / literacy in various schools / colleges / seminars.
CASI teaches CSR and Sustainability right from “School student” level as we strongly believe that is the right age:
All the best.. This is very important and highly relevant without this the society cannot sustain. It is very important to inculcate these values in children and society at large. This will ensure all are treated equally and this will also create opportunities for all.
Many issues can be tackled and resolved if kids are taught at the right age.
Kids should be taught to care not only for other human beings but also for the environment, ozone, etc.. This will impact the existence of mankind – as our survival on this planet is under question. The survival of the planet itself is under question.