FORE-ICC India Corporate Governance And Sustainability Summit

Corporate governance and sustainability are an integral part of business operations now. Organizations must comply with these norms to balance and ensure the interests of the stakeholders. As part of corporation’s relationship with the stakeholders, the framework of rules and practices which the board decides must ensure accountability, fairness and transparency. In future, the businesses are expected to become more transparent, accountable and sustainable to survive in the global volatile markets, which means the businesses have to become more vigilant.
Despite other economies virtually going through recessions, India remains positive from the global investors perspective. The principles of corporate governance and sustainability in India are gradually being incorporated by businesses in the last two decades. It may be understood that the business environment in India is significantly different to that of western countries.

With a 1.324 billion population, India needs to grow rapidly for the next two decades to be able to meet the demands of its citizens. The government has been working to make India a business-friendly destination, for attracting investors from across the world to be part of India’s growth story. Make in India is a campaign to attract foreign direct investments (FDI) to various sectors, urging them to manufacture in India where proper governance and sustainability will play a large role.

If these campaigns provide a major boost to the manufacturing sector to grow at a rate of 14-15 percent, it is expected that the Indian GDP will grow at 8-9 percent. However, only 10 percent of the manufacturing sector is essentially on a sustainability framework. Not only sustainability, corporate governance of these manufacturing firms is also crucial to improve the present situation.

In order to understand the various facets of corporate governance particularly in the matter of implementing them and also the efforts that are required to overcome the challenges and be successful in the area of good governance and sustainability, Indian Chamber of Commerce organized its 8th Edition of the India Corporate Governance and Sustainability Vision Summit on 22nd February 2018 at Hotel Le Meridien, New Delhi. 

The prestigious summit and the awards over the years have provided the right platform to organizations for effectively showcasing their corporate governance practices.

The Award was conferred to those organizations which have shown exemplary performance in the area of Corporate Governance and Sustainability.

Mr Bibek Debroy, Member, NITI Aayog, Government of India and Mr Anil Swarup, Secretary, Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India attended the Award session. Other eminent dignitaries attending the award ceremony were Mr Anil Razdan, Former Power Secretary, Government of India & Chairman, ICC National Expert Committee on Energy,  Dr Jitendra K Das, Director, FORE School of Management and Dr Rajeev Singh, Director General, Indian Chamber of Commerce.

Mr Bibek Debroy, Hon’ble member, NITI Aayog, Government of India in his inaugural address said that India will change only when the citizens of India change. The Government of India does not exist in isolation. The government brought in changes like the smart city mission where the citizens of the city interpreted their smartness. No government can work without the citizens of the country. The government has brought in changes like the subsidies in LPG, Swachh Bharat etc but unless we judiciously do our duties, nothing is possible. Sustainable Development goal has too many targets and indicators. However, there is a cost to protect the environment. He said that per capita income of India is USD 1700 whereas per capita income of US in 1870 was more than USD 3000. So getting prices right and property right is an issue. He also spoke about environment protection act. But at the end, he again repeated that in order to make India a better place to live in, the people of the country has to come forward and help the government and create an example to the rest of the world.

Mr Anil Swarup, Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy, Government of India, shared his experience as coal secretary a few years back and now secretary of school education and literacy. He also shared the experiences of his visits to schools of interior villages and districts. In one of the schools in remote Maharastra, where there is no access to electricity, the will of the teacher made the school digital. This initiative also helped to raise funds for digital equipment.This model has been adopted by 60000 schools across states and raised RS 328 crores for the purpose. Solutions are available in the country, it is important to understand them. He also quoted the example of Akshay Patra who supplies midday meal to schools. Their reach has increased from 1.5 million children to 3.0 million children. He said that education is the best way to contribute to the society.

Mr Anil Razdan, Former Power Secretary, Government of India & Chairman, ICC National Expert Committee on Energy said that the way urbanization is taking place it is important to think the environmental issues attached to the overuse of resources due to the same. The dilemma of sustainable development lies in the challenges for economic growth and development that are directly linked to the immense risk of climate change.

Water management is very important nowadays as the underground water level is diminishing. Likewise, it is important to take into consideration the air quality. Air quality is deteriorating day by day and industries must take initiatives to reduce this.

Regarding corporate governance, India had not paid adequate importance till now. However, things are changing now. There is a need to build transparency in the system where the board of management has to share details with the shareholders and vice versa.

Dr Jitendra K Das, Director, FORE School of Management spoke about global perspective of corporate governance where he said that world population increased 9 times and gross world production increased 208 times over the years. In this huge demanding environment, the environment is getting polluted. India is in growing stage and it will grow in manifolds in future. It is important to know how to cope up with the growing demand and increasing pollution. He also said that Corporate law exists in our country where 2 % of the profit is mandatory to be contributed to the social sector. Businesses also must contribute to a considerable extent so that the bottom billion people can be taken care of.

The Awards were given by the Dignitaries present at the summit. There were 4 categories of awards. In sustainability performance Shree Cement and Yes Bank were the joint winners, in sustainability reporting Birla Carbon and Yes Bank were joint winners, in water stewardship Tamil Nadu Newsprint won the first prize and Vizag Steel won the second prize and the last category in Corporate Governance, Tata Metaliks won the first prize and WAPCOS Ltd got the second prize.

There was also a release of ICC – E & Y knowledge report by the Dignitaries and other speakers present on the stage.