Let us identify the area in which business can effectively discharge its social obligations
Pollution Control: Today, perhaps the biggest problem confronting society is pollution of all kinds of air, water, sound etc. Installing pollution controlling devices and other related actions might cost the business considerably in terms of money and effort. It might also mean lesser profits. But the amount of goodwill and image that the business concern comes to enjoy as a result of such voluntary steps will more than offset the losses, if any, envisaged in the beginning. It is, therefore necessary that business must take preventive measures for pollution control and it must view the costs involved as a long term investment in public image.
ABB: At ABB’s Vadodra facility vermi culture has helped the company dispose off tones of wooden wastes besides generating 5,000 tons of organic manure per month.
Coromandel Fertilizers: With investment of around Rs 40 crore the company has been able to set up a fluorine recovery unit, effluent treatment plant, molten Sulphur handing facility and install pollution control equipment at the Visakhapatnam city where the plant covers an area of around 500 acres. The setting up of the four stage scrubbing system recently has led to reduction in ammonia emission elastically .
Health and Hygiene:
A manufacturing company or a factory throws up lot of wastes and chemicals which prove to be health hazards. Although normally business takes all preliminary precautions to keep away from inhabited areas and to safeguard the health and hygiene of workers it usually tries to shirk its responsibility towards the people residing in the vicinity often business or factory premises. If business conveniently ignores its obligation safe guard the health of not only the workers but also the people outside the business premises. Government or society will force it to see reason which might prove most costly in terms of money and reputation. Therefore, business must realize that to protect the public interest is in its own interest.
The Tata Steel Rural Development Society delivers health care services to the rural population around its operational areas through the Life Line Express . The company uses mobile medical care vans to reach out to rural areas. Through 25 clinics in Jamshedpur it serves over 6 lakh people, including non employees.
National Aluminum Company has given great importance to medical and health programs. Full fledged hospitals with outdoor and specialized indoor treatment facilities at Damanjodi and Angul have been established. The facilities are extended to nearby villages also. Regular health consultation sessions, family welfare camps, rehabilitation of handicapped persons are the major thrust areas at NALCO.
Training and Self help:
Big business provides big opportunities for both direct and indirect employment. Self employed persons outside the premises of a factory can contribute to the growth of business if they are well aware of the product and its raw materials needed by the manufacturing company. In that event the business might not have to depend on suppliers at far off places. If the people in the surrounding areas of the business premises are enlightened about the product and its raw materials requirement and also trained to develop the necessary skills, they will readily come forward to serve the business interests which by the way helps them to earn their livelihood. Hence, business can profitably think of educating and training the people outside the factory and the cost involved might be meager when compared to the benefits accruing to it by such a wise and farsighted step.
The performance of some charitable trusts promoted by big business houses is far from satisfactory and even smacks of favoritism and partisan ends. Genuine philanthropic activity must benefit the people in their day to day life. Hence, by building educational institutions or hospitals businesses will be spending its enormous profits in a useful and meaningful way at the same time showing its real and genuine concern for the welfare of the society at large. Such philanthropy will help build a bridge of goodwill between the business and society.
Excerpts from HRM VSP