O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) hosted a three day-long Northern Conclave for Building CSR Partnerships in association with Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) from November 1-3.
The sustainability conclave organised collaboratively by JGU- CECRAS (Centre for Excellence in Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability) and TISS AESDII (Assessment and Empanelment Standards for Development Institutions in India) is designed to be a multi-stakeholder platform bringing together corporations, non-profit organisations (NPOs), government entities and higher education institutions.
The conclave was held on three-point mandate-day one was, amplification based workshop on skills, participation and developing partnership. Day two saw a transition from theory to practice. Day three culminated with best practises that would pave way to play a much larger larger leadership role in this paradigm changing business and human rights treat negotiations being currently negotiated in Geneva at the UN.
Gyaneshwar Singh, Joint Secretary of Ministry of Corporate Affairs inaugurated the conference. In his opening remarks he spoke about the enforcement regime that the ministry is considering in order to drive home that corporations in the country have to become more responsible towards the society and environment in which they operate. He also mentioned the institution of a new national award on CSR and the rigor of the criteria it entailed.
In his keynote session Dr. Bhaskar Chatterjee, Secretary General, Indian Steel Association shared his insights on ‘CSR in India: Past, Present and Future’ while highlighting the milestones and challenges faced by the committee when drafting the bill.
Dr Chatterjee was largely instrumental for drafting the singular section 135 of the Companies Act 2013 dedicated to mandating CSR spending for eligible companies, of the more than 400 sections.
Dr. David Bilchitz, Secretary – General, International Association of Constitutional Law and Director, SAIFAC and Professor at Constitutional Law and Fundamental Rights, The University of Johannesburg also spoke at the plenary session. He said, “While CSR is a responsibility that we owe to each other, it is also vital to realise and build a treaty between businesses and human rights. With the rise of globalisation, these treaties are important to address the challenges of international law and ensure adequate protection of human rights.”