The corporate responsibility movement has come a long way in the past decade. (Although the current banking crisis reveals just how skin-deep the values change went in some sectors.)
When CSM was founded in 2000, the corporate responsibility movement focused largely on western multinationals. We sought to focus not on the ‘west’, but on the ‘rest’. Our rationale was if true change was to occur, domestic businesses and stakeholders in countries – and communities – such as our own, had to be engaged in values-based, social transformation.
From the beginning, therefore, CSM’s focus has been on two specific constituencies: (1) domestic industry and related stakeholders in countries such as India, and (2) the Indian Diaspora worldwide.
Through an energetic and targeted approach, CSM has pioneered awareness-raising programmes and campaigns on corporate responsibility and sustainability geared at these communities. The objective was to educate, mobilize and develop leadership which would deepen and embed a values-based approach to the issues. The changes in turn would be transmitted globally through the cultural and economic networks of the Indian Diaspora.
The approach has delivered results. Corporate responsibility is now an accepted business principle in countries such as India – if not always implemented. Minority communities are now recognized as important players in CR and sustainability debates – if not always engaged. The Indian Diaspora is more and more engaged on sustainability issues in host and home communities.
CSM cannot take credit for this development, but we have played a role. In 2007, following a review of CSM’s strengths and value-added in this changed context, we decided to focus on a select set of issues such as diversity, governance and climate change under the CR stream of work.
CSM is now a partner of the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre - A UN initiative. For more details, please click here.