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History and Evolution

Origin of CSR
The need for Corporate Social Responsibility can be traced can be traced to ancient times even though the concept of corporation emerged much later. Worldwide interest in CSR has fluctuated over time.

Public pressure and the level of criticism of the business system had risen sharply during the 1970s and played a partial role in the development of the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility. The pressure led to the emergence of New Social Movements. Such movements embodied community based coalitions that are made up of a combination of labour, environmental groups, students, human rights groups and NGO's. Their mission is to make issues such as equity, dignity, well being and sustainability as important as profitability and capital accumulation and to ultimately create a global civil movement.

Different stakeholders have started to step up and adopt the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Social Reporting. Additionally, the development of the internet made it easier for people to gain access to information about a company's social and environmental performance, and allowed different groups to communicate and interact. As a result, investors were able to exert pressure on companies to be more socially responsible. Today, increasing numbers of shareholders bring proposals before annual meetings of corporations all over the world.
Recent Trends
There has been a significant increase in the level of corporate responsibility reporting in most countries in recent years. A range of drivers for corporate social reporting that businesses considered important are -
  • Economic Considerations
  • Ethical Considerations
  • Innovation and Learning
  • Employee Motivation
  • Risk Management
  • Risk Reduction
  • Reputation or Brand
  • Cost Saving
Increase in public demand for socially responsible investment has sent a strong message to all companies that investors are increasingly concerned about the issue of Corporate Social Responsibility.
Evolution of CSR in India
CSR in India has evolved in four phases. In the first phase, charity and philanthropy were the main drivers of CSR. During the second phase, there was increased stress on Indian Industrialists to demonstrate their dedication towards the progress of the society. The third phase of CSR had its relation to the element of mixed economy, emergence of Public Sector Undertakings and laws relating labour and environmental standards. During this period the Private sector was forced to take a backseat.

In the fourth phase, Indian Companies started abandoning their traditional engagement with CSR and integrated it into a sustainable business strategy. Increased growth momentum of the economy helped Indian companies grow rapidly and this made them more willing and able to contribute towards social cause.
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