EVALUATION OF A CORPORATE ETHICS OR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY PROGRAM29th SEPTEMBER, 20081.1 INTRODUCTIONCorporate social responsibility is an expression used to depict an organization’s commitment and obligation to be answerable to all of its stakeholders in regard to all kinds of activities and operations undertaken by the company. Corporate responsibility focuses on the impact of company’s decisions on the communities and environment in which an organization works. Ethics program of a company integrates business environmental concerns including social, economic and political aspects in their business functions. In other words CSR means care for the community by creating opportunities for the underprivileged communities through imparting knowledge, better means of livelihood, improving the living conditions etc.
According to H. Stephen Grace Jr. and John E. Haupert, 2006, social responsibility can be achieved when the unchecked consolidation of power is prevented. One such organization which has actively contributed in establishing a CSR in its work structure is the well renowned company ITC. Through its trailblazing e-choupal system, ITC has helped the rural people to turn their wastelands into productive land, incorporating techniques such as rain water harvesting etc to turn the dry lands into productive manor through irrigation.
ITC has been able to change nearly three million lives by encouraging women empowerment, aiding infrastructural support and various other areas (Catalyst Special Issue on CSR, 2007)International Tobacco and Cigarette Company is a private company personified through its values of quality, service and price with a market capitalization price of approximately US $ 15 billion and turnover of US & 4.5 billion. It was established in 1992, revealing the distinct leadership, creativity and flexibility in its business approach. ITC diversifies in various product and service lines such as cigarettes, hotels, paperboards, packaging, confectionery, greeting cards, branded apparels and many more.
The company’s desire for excellence has aided in a steady growth in the company’s graph since 1994. Its sense of integrity and creativity in community approach has resulted in an increased number of workforces supported by the company. Financial assistance, donations and charities is a regular feature of the CSR exhibited by the organization. It drives towards attaining international competitiveness along with the larger value chain of which it is already a part off. 1.2 ITC AND CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITYITC is well acknowledged through its E-Choupal concept initiated towards incorporating corporate responsibility in its work culture.
The concept deals with the integration of the rural workforce and the technological advancements. The company has installed a computer with solar charged batteries thereby relieving itself from the trouble of power supply in such areas. A conductor is assigned the responsibility to operate the computers on behalf of ITC, just for the farmers. The e-Choupal initiative taken by ITC is a step towards conferment of knowledge to every farmer, facilitating him in the decision making and keeping the farmers update about the market demands, pricing, and quality and productivity concerns.
TC understood the importance of corporate responsibility towards the village community thereby rendering five main services through the unique concept of E-choupal. Information regarding the price fluctuations of the crops, daily weather forecast etc, knowledge about various farming methods, soil testing, means of purchase of fertilizers, seeds, pesticides, tools and other Equipments, awareness about the local market for selling the products, access to health and education is also included in the process.
The ITC’s creatively framed e-choupal opens up the path for the welfare and upliftment of the small and poor farmers through resource development initiatives. On the whole it can be said that ITC has always laid utmost importance to its social responsibility of extending a helping hand in the protection, conservation and enriching the environment. ITC integral part of the corporate social responsibility is its triple bottom line approach creating several sustainable livelihoods. ITC joined hands with NABARD to work on water shed development plants which created a direct of 5.36 lakh person-days.