UK set to invest millions in CSR in India
London: British companies are expected to contribute as much as 100 million pounds per year for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) work in India under the country's new Companies Act.
The research conducted by NextGen, one of India's largest sustainability and CSR management company working with Fortune-500 clients across 16 sectors, was hailed by Hugo Swire, Britain's Minister of state for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, during his visit to Delhi yesterday.
"The Companies Act (2013) will have a profound impact on the CSR landscape, and I am delighted that British companies are working closely with Indian business and developing partnerships to help share UK expertise in this area," he said.
"The wide range of work and initiatives already being undertaken emphasises that we are here as a long-term partner with India, working in support of India's goals and objectives," he added.
Swire hosted a roundtable with some of Britain's top businesses in India, including Rolls Royce, John Lewis Partnership, Standard Chartered, JCB, Pearson, BAE, HSBC, PwC, AoC, KPMG, British Airways and Rio Tinto, at the recently launched UK India Business Council's (UKIBC) British Business Centre in Gurgaon to analyse their inputs in various CSR initiatives in India.
The minister also oversaw the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the UKIBC and Delhi British Business Group (BBG) as part of a broader partnership to strengthen the support network available to British companies seeking to enter or expand into the Indian market.
Under the latest arrangement, BBG members will receive discounted rates for using the UKIBC Business Centre's facilities, including hot-desking, meeting, event and training space. They will also receive complimentary market intelligence, including sector and market reports from the UKIBC.
"The MoU between the UKIBC and the British Business Group in Delhi will enhance collaboration between UKIBC and the BBG in order to provide British businesses looking to enter or expand into the Indian market with an even better support system," said UKIBC managing director Richard McCallum.
"The relationship between UKIBC and the BBGs is vital in helping British businesses arriving in this country, given the wealth of experience which exists in the BBGs. We look forward to working increasingly closely with UKIBC to support the commercial relationship between the UK and India," added Mark Runacres of BBG Delhi.
Swire's visit is the latest in a series ahead of Prime Minister David Cameron's stopover on his way to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka this week.
It highlights the importance of India as the third-largest investor in the UK.
In 2011 alone, UK-India bilateral trade grew by 26 percent, bringing the total to 16.4 billion pounds and of the 1,200 Indian companies operating in the European Union, 700 are based in Britain.