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RESEARCH ON CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY

India’s development plans are crafted with a balanced emphasis on economic development and environment. The planning process, while targeting an accelerated economic growth, is guided by the principles of sustainable development with a commitment to a cleaner and greener environment. Planning in India seeks to increase wealth and human welfare, while simultaneously conserving the environment. It emphasizes the promotion of people’s participatory institutions and social mobilization, particularly through the empowerment of women, for ensuring environmental sustainability of the development process.

The discussion on how best to promote sustainable and inclusive development is incomplete without a full consideration of issues of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI). Access to new and appropriate technologies promote steady improvements in living conditions, which can be lifesaving for the most vulnerable populations, and drive productivity gains which ensure rising incomes. In addressing these issues, STI will need to be made more participatory and inclusive so that there is public engagement in the scientific endeavor from the full spectrum of social actors, including women, young people and indigenous communities. The less developed countries will require dedicated support to reinforce their efforts to build STI capacity.

 

Overview on Sustainable Development

There are many definitions of ‘sustainable development’, but what is most frequently quoted is that formulated by the Brundtland Commission in 1987. According to this definition, “sustainable development” is that pattern of development which “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs.” In addition to emphasizing the intergenerational equity, this broad definition also covered two other key concepts. The first is the concept of “needs”, especially the needs of the world’s poor which are seen to have overriding priority. The second concept is the idea of “limits” on the ability of the environment to meet the present and future needs. The Brundtland Commission also saw sustainable development as a process of change rather than a fixed state of harmony.

Sustainable Development encourages the conservation and preservation of natural resources and of the environment, and the management of energy, waste and transportation. Sustainable Development is development based on patterns of production and consumption that can be pursued into the future without degrading the human or natural environment. It involves the equitable sharing of the benefits of economic activity across all sections of society, to enhance the well-being of humans, protect health and alleviate poverty.

The very meaning of sustainability has grown beyond the endurance aspect to a Triple Bottom- Line (TBL) approach. TBL essentially focuses on the financial, social and environmental performances of a firm. Ministry of Corporate Affairs in India, as part of the Companies Act 2013, mandated Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) spent and annual CSR reporting to be performed by all the listed public and private companies in India. Public Sector and Private Sector Enterprises ought to take this obligation positively by investing on CSR for the development of society and environment. Businesses need to design their CSR policies in alignment with their business strategy for a smoother execution.

 

Why Centre of Excellence in Corporate Sustainability:

O.P. Jindal Global University is among the foremost institutes in Social Sciences and it has created its niche and impact in very quick time. Since its establishment, the institute has played a vital role in providing the country with quality students. JGU is a non-profit global university established by the Haryana Private Universities (Second Amendment) Act, 2009. JGU is established in memory of Mr. O.P. Jindal as a philanthropic initiative of Mr. Naveen Jindal, the Founding Chancellor. The University Grants Commission has accorded its recognition to O.P. Jindal Global University. The vision of JGU is to promote global courses, global programmes, global curriculum, global research, global collaborations, and global interaction through a global faculty. JGU is situated on a 80-acre state-of-the art residential campus in the National Capital Region of Delhi. JGU is one of the few universities in Asia that maintains a 1:15 faculty-student ratio and appoints faculty members from different parts of the world with outstanding academic qualifications and experience. JGU has established six schools: Jindal Global Law School, Jindal Global Business School, Jindal School of International Affairs, Jindal School of Government and Public Policy, Jindal School of Liberal Arts & Humanities and Jindal School of Journalism and Communication.

In the light this and the recent developments in the field of Corporate Sustainability, a proposal for the establishment of Centre of Excellence for research in Corporate Sustainability with the aim of contributing to national development and fostering a research culture is put forward.

With a focus on new and emerging technologies, multidisciplinary and translational research relevant to national development goals, the center targets the basic areas of improvement in the order of priority, which is called as Sustainable Development.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of diseases and providing universal primary education, form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and the entire world’s leading development institutions. These goals are illustrated below:

  • Developing a global partnership
  • Education 
  • Improve Health Systems 
  • Eradicating extreme poverty & hunger
  • Ensuring environment sustainability
  • Sanitation and Waste Management,
  • Energy security

The centre will operate by selecting a geographic location in India, and the above given areas would be tapped by providing all the intellectual and financial resources available. Enterprises can route some or total percentage of their annual CSR spent through the centre of excellence for research in Sustainable Development and CSR. The funds received from all the enterprises in this fashion would be pooled up, and the Sustainable Development activities will be carried out in the respective geographical location. The centre will take care of the strategizing part and the execution part by partnering with some external agencies

 

Thematic Areas

The JBGS Center for Corporate Sustainability aims at emphasizing on various thematic areas and taking initiatives to pilot or rollout pragmatic approaches to sustainable development challenges and hence, assist in developing sustainable long-term development pathways.

For this, the centre would form various thematic groups. These groups would be comprised of leading scientists, engineers, academics and corporates to promote solutions to key challenges of sustainable development. The approach would be research oriented as well as solution oriented. Various thematic areas of focus would be:

 

Objectives of the center

The JGBS center for Corporate Sustainability is a multidisciplinary research and education centre which visualizes becoming a prominent Centre of Excellence through Teaching, Training, Research and Advocacy in the area of Corporate Sustainability by creating and disseminating knowledge and providing a strong support to the country in achieving economic empowerment and environmental sustainability by enabling the enterprises to pursue their sustainability goals, resulting in a prosperous India. It intends to facilitate, strategize, nurture and promote the feasible, sustainable and relevant sustainability activities by utilizing the intellectual caliber that includes the best of the faculty members in varied disciplines of science and technology and management and thereby creating the positive impact of the sustainability initiatives of both the Public and Private sector enterprises to the society.

Some of the objectives that can be met through the Centre are:

 

Activities of the Center:

  • Capacity Building of Enterprises and NGO’s
  • Identification of current industry, academic and R & D needs.
  • Identification of funding sources under CSR activities
  • Identification of Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) and Private Sector for need based funding
  • To establish collaborations with various research agencies, universities and practitioners in India and abroad.
  • To disseminate the knowledge on Corporate Sustainability by associating with recognized National & International Institutions, Research Agencies and different business forums engaged in similar activities.
  • To conduct training courses, conferences, seminars, management development programs and undertake consultancy.
  • To promote and develop the research capabilities and the professional activities; and offer assistance to   industries by Initiating advanced research projects that will strengthen its role as a leading centre for research under hot and harsh environment in the world.
  • To Guide the enterprises and NGO’s to expand their horizons of CSR initiatives by our technical and management expertise.
  • To conduct baseline, need assessment and social impact assessment surveys on behalf of enterprises.

The proposed Center of Excellence promises to strike the odds by reemphasizing the participation of Educational Institutions in achieving the National Development Goals, especially in terms of goals that can be achieved through Science and Technology innovations. The proposed CoE will also be positive on taking up research scholars in the said areas. 

  • R&D
  • Executive Development Programs
  • Short Term Certificate Courses
  • Masters and PhD level Programs
  • Academia – Industry Tie Ups and Joint projects
  • Conferences and Workshops
  • An International Journal Publication on CSR and Sustainable Development 

 

Research Areas

Principles of Sustainable Development

Environmental Justice & Sustainability

Sustainability, Economics, and Development

Corporate Governance & Social Responsibility

Innovation & Change Management

Inclusive Growth

Rural Development

Social Sector Policies and Management

Policy Analysis and Design for Sustainable Development

Global Sustainable Development
Biodiversity Conservation and Management
Global Energy Policies and Resources
Green and Eco Philosophy

Business Models for Sustainable Energy

Natural Resource and Energy Economics

Sustainability: The Social Dimension

Microeconomics for Policy Analysis

Comparative Governance Paradigms

Quantitative Techniques and Research Method

Corporate Finance & Financial Markets

Designing & Managing Programmes

Managing People and Performance in Organizations

Environmental Policies and Perspectives
Island Development and Biodiversity
Fragile Ecosystem Development
Forest and Wildlife Protection

 

Creating Social Impact:

The proposed center would make a social impact in the ways mentioned below:

  • By sensitizing the students of JGU on the community development issues and develop a sense of social responsibility amongst them. The Independent Student R&D centre will also be constituted for implementing few of these projects. The objectives of this R & D centre will be formulated with the major challenges of the community in mind. These objectives will further help the students to lay the foundation of a model, directed to meet the problems.
  • The center will promote the two way partnership in which the faculty and staff of the institute will be taking up the initiatives towards sustainable development. In addition to this, center will initiate number of joint research based programmes like Ph.Ds. and Master degree in the proposed area. This center will be primarily funded by MHRD (GOI), industry and the participating University/ institute in India/abroad.

 

Long term Sustainability

The Centre will strive to develop strong industry linkages to obtain specific areas based and solutions based project financing from the industry to develop core competence. Once settled in activities, the CoE should be primarily supported from the external funds like student fee, technical course sponsorship, endowment, and industrial tie- ups and Joint Ventures, and research grants, inclusive of bilateral research grants. Strong engagement with the industry will be permanent focus of the centre to create win-win situations for the industry in India. However, wherever possible, leverages from the already existing funding agencies like government and endowment funding can be used to support CoE in the initial years.

 

Operating Model

 

Service Offerings

  • Capacity Building of Enterprises, NGO’s and related: Involves providing education, training and sharing of information. It aims at mobilizing resources by enhancing cooperation amongst all stakeholders on issues concerning corporate responsibility. This synergy would result into more equitable development through various initiatives such as decent health services, education, housing, water and sanitation, energy, financial services or apt technology and preparedness for coping with natural disasters.
  • Designing, Drafting and communicating the annual Sustainability Reports: Involves guiding clients through the sustainability reporting process by providing them tools, strategies and effective solutions for designing, drafting and communicating the Sustainability reports to various stakeholders. It aims at bringing about business communication transparency, which would result into a work environment of mutual benefit by incorporating trust amongst various stakeholders.
  • Impact Assessment, Monitoring and Evaluation: Involves evaluation of consequences of various prospective and ongoing Sustainability initiatives, monitoring their progress, identifying problems and suggesting relevant solutions to corporates. Aims at productive implementation of the Sustainability activities and guiding future decision making by the stakeholders.
  • Knowledge Management Initiatives: Involves initiatives for knowledge creation and knowledge dissemination. Aims at creating awareness of corporate responsibility.  
  • Needs Assessment: Involves analyzing needs of an organization on the basis of competition and social issues being faced by it. Aims at creating equity between profitability and fulfillment of responsibility towards society.
  • Recognizing and honoring innovations in Sustainability area: Involves fostering innovation and encouraging new ideas that benefit business, customers, environment and the society at large. Aims at raising the standard of living of the poor by providing them necessary goods and services taking into consideration both quality and performance.  
  • Research and Development: Involves carrying out case studies for effective research, finding out the requirements to be met for the progress of economically weaker sections of society and accordingly performing developmental work for fulfillment of these requirements. Aims at getting optimal solutions to application of Sustainability initiatives by the corporate. 
  • Seminars, Workshops and Conferences on Sustainability and related functions: Involves conducting interactive sessions, training programs for dissemination of information on Corporate Sustainability. Aims at communication of ideas for facilitating better understanding of Sustainability initiatives.
  • Advisory Role for Enterprises on Policy and Program Implementation: Involves guiding companies on policy development and actualization of programs keeping in view the interests of various stakeholders. It involves working with companies to deliver strategies oriented towards sustainability. Aims at proving pragmatic roadmap to the corporate for implementation of corporate responsibility.