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The waves

As the Wind Blows

Location: Chennai, Tamilnadu, India

24 January 2005

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been a fashinable term in the corporate circles for quite sometime now. No.. when Birlas and Tatas built their educational instituions and hospitals, the term was not in vogue - nor the concept. Yet, they did what they believed in. Often the corporate welfare schemes were a kind of good hearted gesture, automatically inherited from in Indian ethos and culture.

But somewhere along the way, someone discovered that the "social Responsibility" is a wonderful backdrop for PR and marketing. After all when you wrap up the product in as angelic a virtue as " serving the society", won't you win the hearts and the purse strings too?

Well, I don't usually subscribe to cynic ideas. But on reading a recent survey in "The economist" on CSR, by Clive Crook, somehow, my mind went on the lines expresed above. Crook, begins his essay on this survey with tongue in cheek vein. Read this:

" CSR commands the attention of executives everywhere - if their public statements are to be believed - and especially that of the managers of multi-national companies headqautered in Europe or the United States. Today corporate social responsibility, if it is nothing else, is the tribute that capitalism everywhere pays to virtue.... " and then Crook goes on to take a dig at the companies which claim to lay more emphasis on theri "social service" than to profits in theri annual reports.

"... Such reports", writes Crook, " often talk proudly of efforts to improve society and safeguard the environment - by restricting emissions of greenhouse gases from the staff kitchen, say, or recycling office stationary - before tuning hesitantly to less important matters, such as profits. " !! :-)

I enjoyed this :-)


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