Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) aims at a social and ecologically sustainable way of running business. In Germany, which already has a set of high mandatory social and ecological standards, CSR is an instrument to improve sustainability even further.
Germany already has stringent laws regarding social and environmental standards. Nevertheless, the Government, major companies and civil society aim at implementing a comprehensive set of sustainable business practices.
In Germany, CSR is understood not only as social, but also ecological, responsibility. A number of companies started reporting on CSR more than 10 years ago, following increasing demands from consumers and the society to get informed about business practices. Germany’s Federal Ministry of Labour (BMAS) announced an action plan on CSR in 2010. This action plan aims at fostering the CSR concept within the whole business community, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
There are a number of stakeholders in the CSR process in Germany, as represented in the National CSR Forum set up by BMAS. They include a number of companies, consumer representatives, trade unions, employer associations, research bodies, environmentalists, etc.
In India, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) is running the CSR initiative as a part of India’s ‘Inclusive Growth’ policy. The MCA has published the second version of voluntary guidelines regarding sustainable business. The Indian Institute for Corporate Affairs (IICA) and Germany’s international cooperation agency GIZ are running a CSR project together. This will facilitate Germany's expertise flowing into the CSR discussion in India. In May 2010, the then Secretary of the MCA R. Bandyopadhyay visited BMAS in Berlin, and had an interaction on CSR with the Secretary of State, Andreas Storm.