IES's Management College and
Research Centre

Why Business Students Should Care About Ethical Business Practices and Corporate Social Responsibility

Dr. Ritu Sinha, Associate Professor - Marketing and Research
May 22, 2024

In today’s business environment, the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is gaining significant attention. Under CSR, companies voluntarily contribute to the betterment of society. Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013, mandates that select companies in India spend 2% of their average net profits from the preceding three financial years on CSR activities. This makes India the first country worldwide to make CSR mandatory for qualifying companies. These companies attempt to integrate ethics with organizational operations while also focusing on profit maximization.

The Importance of CSR in Modern Business

Presently, businesses are expected to consider their impact on society and the environment. They are evaluated based on their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance, compelling them to incorporate CSR initiatives into their management practices. These initiatives address environmental sustainability, social justice, community development, and societal welfare. Such practices help companies improve their brand image, gain increased media coverage, foster better customer loyalty, attract more investors, and create more investment opportunities. They also enhance employee morale, engagement, and foster a positive organizational culture.

The Rise of CSR Initiatives in India

There has been a considerable increase in CSR spending with a wide range of initiatives by Indian companies. These companies have aligned their CSR activities with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Growing collaboration between businesses, governments, NGOs, and other stakeholders aims to maximize the impact of CSR efforts. Companies are now expected to provide detailed reports on their CSR spending and outcomes, ensuring accountability to stakeholders. Many companies are also focusing on measuring the impact of their CSR initiatives more effectively.

The Relevance of CSR for Business Students

The significance of CSR extends beyond boardrooms and corporate strategies, especially for students from Top Management Colleges in India. As future business leaders, business school students should understand the broader implications of ethical business practices and social responsibility towards employees, customers, suppliers, and the community. The integration of ethics and CSR in management practices offers more responsible and sustainable business models. It helps build trust and credibility, along with long-term value for shareholders and stakeholders.

The Benefits of Understanding CSR

One primary reason CSR should matter to business students is the opportunity it presents for making a meaningful difference in society. Understanding CSR can help them navigate ethical dilemmas and make informed decisions that balance profit motives with societal impact. Some global companies strongly committed to CSR include Adidas, Starbucks, IKEA, Patagonia, Bosch, Apple, Coca-Cola, BMW, Dell, Walt Disney Company, Microsoft, and many more. Indian companies known for their CSR activities include Reliance Industries Limited, SBI Limited, ITC Limited, Hero Motocorp, JSW Steel, Godrej Consumer Products, Dabur, Mahindra and Mahindra, Wipro, Infosys, Tata Consumer Products, L&T, and HUL.

In summary, CSR is more than just another buzzword; it is a significant topic in the business world. It serves as a cornerstone of business ethics, guiding firms towards socially responsible conduct. CSR is a way for businesses to act for society and stakeholders, and for individuals to make ethical decisions, manage business risks, and seek innovative, long-term solutions. Hence, there is a pressing need for students from Top Management Colleges in India to adopt habits and processes that prioritize social responsibility on a larger scale. Students from Top Management Colleges in India have the potential to contribute to a more resilient and sustainable future by integrating CSR principles into their academic pursuits and future career endeavours.


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