Dec 26, 2008

World - Mainstreaming CSR

The first global forum on the Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) held in New York to mainstream environmental, social, and governance issues in the business school curricula assumes significance in the context of today’s financial crisis and the looming challenge of climate change. The initiative is part of a concerted drive, under the 2000 United Nations Global Compact of over 5000 multinational corporations from 100 countries, to enforce accounta bility and avoid conflict of interests in decisions concerning investment and the use of natural resources. The PRME, drawn up in 2007 by some of the leaders in business education has been adopted by some 180 institutions. They are guided by the need to integrate the imperatives of enterprises to create value with the larger objectives of sustainable development. Indeed, the statement adopted at the New York meet re-emphasises that “the long-term viability and success of business will depend on its capacity to manage environmental, social and governance concerns and to create sustainable value through innovation and new business models adapted to a changing global environment.”

The significance of promoting the relevant principles in management programmes cannot be overstated, given the fact that large sections of populations have not benefited from the impressive global economic growth rates of recent years and an overwhelming majority of the workforce in the developing countries still remains in the unorganised sector. Moreover, such advocacy is needed to project corporate social responsibility as a substantive principle that entails recognition of the workers’ right to collective bargaining and association, dispelling the notion that gives it a philanthropic tag. Genuine moves to put these principles into practice can go a long way in addressing the acute loss of credibility and confidence in the financial institutions and the system of open markets in general. The voluntary codes of behaviour business bodies are adopting increasingly represent a welcome recognition of their responsibility to the wider society

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