Could this trigger the responsible investing movement in India?

18th Jun 2008
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The Economic Times reports that a new Government of India regulation would imply that Indian companies report the finer details of their CSR spending in financial statements filed with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Its an interesting move by the Government of India, especially given the recent focus on the ‘Inclusive Growth’ agenda:

To facilitate a socially responsible corporate climate in the country, the ministry of corporate affairs now wants India Inc to show in their financial statements finer details of their money spent towards social activities.
Even as the company law awaits amendment to ensure greater transparency and shareholder responsibility, the ministry’s efforts are in consonance with globally accepted principles on CSR.

Arguably, such a move would enable companies to think more about their CSR efforts and could be the early trigger to kick-start the Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) movement in India. The responsible investing movement has gained good momentum in the developed world, with large institutional investors like TIAA-CREF starting to think about the social impact of their investments.

However, simply CSR related information is grossly inadequate to gauge the social impact of any company. If the Government is serious, then they need to stipulate stronger sustainability reporting, on the lines of the Global Reporting Initiative.

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