Indians are increasing their expectations of what companies should be doing with respect to corporate social responsibility (CSR) according to the latest Nielsen India Corporate Image Monitor. CSR can be an effective way of building goodwill for a company, and survey respondents most admired Reliance Industries, the nation's largest conglomerate, Tata Motors and Tata Steel. These companies are most closely associated with promoting education, improving healthcare infrastructure and promoting environmental consciousness.
According to the survey, half of respondents said that better healthcare infrastructure is the top social issue that they believe corporations should tackle, followed by fighting diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB and cancer (38%) and education and adult literacy (30%). Furthermore, 86 percent identified "countering terrorism" as a CSR initiative that should be taken up by corporate India. Environmental protection is now expected and no longer identified as a CSR initiative by respondents.
More than half of respondents felt that corporations are honest toward their CSR activities, while one-third are skeptical of the motivations behind CSR, believing them to be simply publicity stunts.
"The public's expectations of companies are on the increase as stakeholders see the significant impact they are having in various spheres, be it in educations, healthcare infrastructure or environmental conservation. Their confidence in organizations undertaking socially beneficial projects is greater than their confidence in other channels that try to bring about positive social change," said Vatsala Pant, associate director, consumer research at Nielsen.
The Nielsen Corporate Image Monitor is an annual survey of 1,800 people from a range of occupations in the top seven metropolitan areas. Stakeholders range from the general public to media and policy makers.