The Tata Group has emerged as the top corporate leader in sustainable development in India. The Tatas are followed by Reliance and Infosys, according to communication solutions and services provider BT, which launched India's first sustainability index last week. Respondents also mentioned companies like ITC, Wipro, Suzlon, Airtel, Honda, ONGC, IL&FS and Satyam.
Developed in collaboration with public opinion and research company, GlobeScan, the index is meant to assess the progress of businesses on sustainable development. The index is based on the responses of 215 opinion leaders from academics, businesses, government and NGOs. Besides, 1,168 IT employees joined in an online survey. The survey focused on questions related to long-term economic growth, inclusive employment, education, employment creation, health, corporate/government collaboration, land & displacement, natural resources, climate change, corporate governance, solid waste and water.
Launching the Sustainable Development Index: An Assessment of Business Performance in India, Teri's director-general RK Pachauri said, "The index is important because what gets measured gets managed." He added, "Major social challenges can't be addressed by only governments and NGOs. The role of businesses is crucial. Businesses can't succeed in societies that fail."
The report reveals that Indian companies are getting proactive on sustainable development, but their performance is still disappointing. The respondents blamed it on lack of awareness in corporates as well as lack of will in the political leadership. Said Nitin Desai, a former United Nations under-secretary general, "Sustainability has to be integrated in corporate strategy. Corporates have to look beyond CSR in their own self-interest."
Saying that China, Japan and the European Union are ahead of India in addressing issues like climate change, corporate governance and water resource management, Chris Coulter of Globscan added, "It's time for India to catch up. The world needs India to become a leader in sustainability. "
The index is planned as an annual event. Said BT India chairman Arun Seth, "It'll encourage companies to benchmark their sustainability initiatives." Locating the index in the current financial meltdown, Allen Ma, president BT Asia Pacific, added, "You don't look at 18 months of recession when you make decisions for the next 18 years. We don't have to be only lean and mean, but also clean now."
7 months ago