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Corporate Social Responsibility : Background & Perspective

By John Samuel, Anil Saari

We live in an age in which companies equivalent in wealth to countries call the shots and control much of the earth's resources. Because corporates intervene in so many areas of social life, they must be responsible towards society and the environment. In India as in the rest of the world there is a growing realisation that capital markets and corporations are, after all, created by society and must therefore serve it, not merely profit from it. And that consumers and citizens' campaigns can make all the difference

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Profiting from the needy

Samir Nazareth questions cause-related marketing which extends a corporation’s markets – for water purification sachets or sanitary napkins -- in the guise of providing essential services to the poor

drinking water

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Chronicle of a disaster foretold?

40% of the Maruti Manesar workforce are contract or casual workers with a take-home of around Rs 6,000, and no paid leave. All structures for dialogue between management and workers had been disrupted, writes Rahul Varman, resulting in the unforgivable violence of July 18

Maruti Manesar plant

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What’s really at stake in the Vodafone tax case

The Supreme Court judgment in the Vodafone case argues that the 'corporate veil' cannot be pierced as long as there was no intention to avoid taxes. Rahul Varman on how and why corporations in India manage to undermine the law and the public good for the sake of private profit

Vodafone tax case

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Corporate personhood: Rights without responsibilities

By Rahul Varman

Why is the Occupy Wall Street movement protesting corporate personhood? How and why did corporations come to enjoy – and exploit -- the legal rights and freedoms granted to individual citizens, even while they are exempt from the social responsibilities that go with those freedoms?

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Satyam and the truth about CSR

Can a company that has indulged in a massive corporate swindle get away by quoting its many social development projects as proof of its good intentions, asks Rahul Varman

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The merits of affirmative action

By Meher Gadekar

An important pillar of affirmative action in the US has been the preferential allotment of tenders and contracts in the corporate sector to blacks. What have opinion-makers and industry in India done to build a just society for dalits? Most recently,industry turned down the government's request for reservations in the private sector

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Days of rage signal the onset of change

With thousands worldwide joining the Occupy Wall Street protests against corporate greed and irresponsibility, this is no longer a movement confined to leftists and ageing hippies. Is this the tipping point when the discourse will change, asks Mari Marcel Thekaekara

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Indian tobacco giant turns carbon philanthropist

By Keya Acharya

Environmentalists and international justice groups are voicing their concerns over proliferating tree plantations, as developing countries try to profit from a growing carbon trade. The India Tobacco Company claims to have stepped into the carbon sinks business in order to benefit village communities. But who really profits?

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Protecting vanilla farmers against global cartels

By N P Chekkutty

Set up to protect the interests of vanilla-growers in India, Vanilco is a model for farmers who face volatile market conditions and monopolies within the market

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Steel City tackles its water woes

By Manipadma Jena

The Steel City of Jamshedpur suffers severe water stress. But over the last decade, steel giant Tata Steel has reduced pollutant discharge by 98% and cut water consumption by 67.3%. Today, India's largest iron and steel production facility boasts a zero groundwater extraction record. The conservation efforts of the industry that dominates this town are being replicated by citizens in the old city. InfoChangeIndia travelled to Jamshedpur to document this pathbreaking corporate-citizens initiative

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Win-win: Why companies should invest in development

Five years on, a company that shows no respect for the environment and social justice may have no access to international markets. A new report from SustainAbility cites evidence from developing countries, including India, to prove that sustainability IS profitable, even in emerging markets. The greatest benefits to a company are from cost-saving and productivity, revenue growth and market access

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25% of Sharayu's workforce is disabled

By Huned Contractor

At Sharayu Precision, Subhash Chuttar employs over 36 mentally and physically challenged men and women who work at jobs ranging from riveting, drilling and greasing to polishing and packing. Chuttar has just won the Helen Keller Award instituted by the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People

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Small interventions, big change in Sidmakudar

In Sidmakudar village, Jharkhand, every house has a biogas dome. The homes and streets are lit by solar energy. And village development committees make all the decisions

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Tata Steel's 'Operation Muskaan' brings back smiles

Hundreds of people born with cleft lips or cleft palates have been operated on, for free, through 'Operation Muskaan' a project initiated by steel giant Tata Steel. It's a small operation that has made a huge difference to people's lives

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Protecting the environment, the corporate way

Ion Exchange makes profits in a socially-relevant way: through water treatment, afforestation and organic farming

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Basic change in rural India

Basix (India Ltd) provides integrated technical and financial assistance to the rural poor

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Ethical business the Alacrity way

Chennai's leading construction company has proved that ethical business is profitable

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From diamonds to development

The Bhansalis have ploughed a substantial part of their profits from the diamond trade into health, women's education and disaster management since 1969

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Change in the desert

Lupin India Ltd has helped ensure sustainable development in 154 villages in Rajasthan

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