Global meltdown needs SMEs for business growth and CSR

November 10th, 2008 - 6:52 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Nov 10 (ANI/Business Wire India): The global financial crisis has led to the increasing need of the Small and medium Enterprises (SMEs) to participate in the wider movement for sustainable business growth and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), especially in a country like India.

It was with this belief to build capacities and encourage Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) with HSBC organized a workshop on ”CSR and Sustainability- Securing success in SMEs”.

The workshop was structured to provide an in-depth analysis of the policy and regulatory aspects in the SME sector. Present in the workshop were Malini Thandani, Head Group Communications and Corporate Sustainability, HSBC India TERI, Prabir Sengupta Former Secretary, Ministry Commerce and Industry and Distinguished Fellow, TERI, Dr. Parthasarthi Banerjee, Director, NISTADS, Annapurna Vancheswaran, Director (Sustainable Development Outreach) and other members of the SME sector.

The conference recognised that the SME sector is the backbone of any economy, particularly in terms of its contributions towards employment generation and is reliable partners of large organizations to whom they provide products and services. However, so far CSR practice is concerned, the entire focus remains on the large organisations and SMEs are often overlooked.

The distinguished speakers conferred that with the current economic state, there will be a growing need for interdependence between large companies and this sector. The issue of governance and regulation are important to stimulate the SME sector that will also ease out the sharp impacts of the financial meltdown in India.

With increasing awareness about social and environmental issues, stringent regulations, and increasing direct costs of natural resources (such as water), the social responsibility among the corporate sector is stronger than ever before.

The concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is wide encompassing and takes care of social as well as environmental responsiveness of enterprises to attain sustainable development. Companies have realized that contributing to betterment in these areas helps establish the credibility of the industry as a part of the solution rather than the problem.

Emphasising on the initiatives undertaken by TERI-Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD), India to encourage SMEs, Ms Annapurna Vancheswaran, said, The SME sector can take advantage by drawing resources from the big companies who are members of TERI-BCSD.

Giving a case study of a TERI Project in Khurja involving the ceramic industry, she said that technological innovation has helped the SME sector to not only control environmental hazards, but also boost production as well as cut costs.

Elaborating on the TERI- HSBC partnership and the role of SMEs in CSR, Thandani, said, In order to encourage the SME, HSBC has emulated in India its own program ”Living Business Award” running successfully in Hong-Kong, through which the SME’’s are actively involved in CSR initiatives.

This year in May, TERI, in collaboration with HSBC India, started the HSBC Living Business Award, to recognize SMEs who have made outstanding contribution to the environment and community in India to sustain long-term business success. (ANI)

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