The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) on Wednesday (14 March) released the first-of-its-kind guidelines on responsible business conduct and urged businesses to “actualise the principles in letter and spirit.” It also revised the National Voluntary Guidelines on Social, Environmental and Economic Responsibilities of Business, 2011 (NVGs).
Though the National Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct (NGRBC) are not mandatory and no firm can be compelled to adhere to them by any court, they still act as guideposts in responsible decision-making in companies.
While some principles mentioned in the Guidelines ask businesses to conduct themselves in an “ethical, transparent and accountable” manner, others ask them to respect and promote ‘human rights.”
Firms are advised to “respect and promote the well-being of all employees, including those in their value chains.” The Guidelines also states that businesses should be responsible and transparent when engaged in “influencing public and regulatory policy.”
The last of the nine principles asks corporate India to “engage with and provide value to their consumers in a responsible manner.” According to the government, these principles will go a long way in helping India achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
Not Just Duties
Apart from these responsibilities, MCA is also in the process of developing India’s National Action Plan on Business & Human Rights (NAP) in consultation with various Ministries and State Governments by 2020.
Also Read: CSR Is Good Business Sense