SEBI releases FAQs for Business Responsibility Reporting

SEBI, in its circular dated dated August 13, 2012, mandated inclusion of Business Responsibility Report (BRR) as a part of the Annual Report for top 100 listed entities. This was in-line with the ‘National Voluntary Guidelines on Social, Environmental and  Economic Responsibilities of Business (NVGs)’ as notified by Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), Govt. of India. While this move was welcomed by the watchdogs, development sector, businesses and shareholders alike, there was confusion for specific cases among the organisations planning to release a report. Based on various queries received from these organisations, SEBI has released this FAQs to provide some answers. You can download the complete document from SEBI’s website here. Summarising the content of the FAQ’s, these are the basic rules/guidelines we can think of to help you file your Business Responsibility Report well: 1. While Business Responsibility Reporting is mandatory for all the top 100 listed companies, other companies are encouraged to report as well. 2. Try to stick to the format prescribed by SEBI. This is to ensure …

Introduction to National Voluntary Guidelines – Business Responsibility Reporting

  Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, in July 2011, came out with the ‘National Voluntary Guidelines on Social, Environmental and Economic Responsibilities of Business’ – NVGs. SEBI – as a part of its circular on 13th August 2012, makes it mandatory for top 100 BSE and NSE listed companies (as on March 2012) to disclose their Business Responsibility Practices through a report adhering to the NVG framework. Are you on the list? Check here. If you are in the list then read on… Even if you are not, nothing stops you from reporting how responsible you are in conducting your business. So read on in either case… The NVG Framework talks about Sustainability. Govt. of India, through the National Voluntary Guidelines want companies to: Give back something to the society Be responsible Be accountable for its actions and Be sustainable in itself and in the environment it operates in. That’s not much to ask for, is it? Also, NVGs are applicable to all businesses operating in India and …

Australia, Europe Link Emissions Trading Systems

Source: Environmentalleader.com European climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard and Australian climate change minister Greg Combet today announced that Australia and Europe will link their emissions trading systems, which will allow businesses to use carbon trading units from either trading scheme for compliance under either system. A full two-way link between the two cap and trade systems — the first full international linking of emission trading systems — will begin no later than July 1, 2018. Together, the linked Australian and European emissions trading systems will be the world’s largest carbon market, according to the EU and the Australian government. As an interim arrangement, a partial link will allow Australian businesses to buy and use European Union Emissions Allowances to meet up to 50 percent of their liabilities under the Australian scheme from July 1, 2015 until the full link takes effect. Australia’s carbon tax, which took effect July 1, requires about 300 companies to pay A$23 (US$23.50) per metric ton of carbon emissions. To facilitate linking, the Australian government has said it will …

Too May Eco-Labels ‘Overwhelming,’ Companies Say

Source: Environmentalleader.com Consumers and companies alike are becoming “confused” and “overwhelmed” by eco-labeling, according to a survey of more than 1,000 international companies including Hewlett-Packard, Nestlé, Canon, Sara Lee and E.On. The joint study by the International Institute for Management Development and the Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne concludes that eco-labeling has nearly reached the saturation point with companies and consumers increasingly concerned about the practice’s over-proliferation and credibility. Germany’s Ministry of the Environment introduced the world’s first eco-label, the Blue Angel, in 1978. Now more than 400 are used across 25 industries in 250 countries. Only a minority of customers, called “dark green” in the report, are especially cognizant of the notion of sustainability. Their “light green” counterparts are unaware or uninterested, while “mid-green” consumers may think sustainability is important but they don’t want to take the time to find out why. Because of this, study authors say the idea that the average buyer will spend time sifting through eco-labels is unrealistic. In interviews, companies listed brand strengthening, addressing consumers’ sustainability demands and …

Energy Efficiency as Important for Branding as for Bottom Line, Deloitte Says

Source: Environmentalleader Improving energy efficiency at America’s businesses is as important to brand building as it is to growing the bottom line, according to a new Deloitte report. The study, reSources 2012, shows that while 85 percent of companies claim that electricity cost reductions are essential to staying financially competitive, almost as high a proportion – 81 percent – believe they are critical to brand building.  In fact, more than three-quarters of the organizations surveyed say they are actively promoting their energy efficiency efforts to their customers. Deloitte says that there is now a clear consensus in corporate America that energy efficiency is an important competitive advantage and that senior business leaders are beginning to see it as as a strategic business driver. Survey respondents say they have achieved close to 60 percent of their targeted energy reduction levels.  However, much of this progress is the result of initiatives that are easy to implement, such as installing more efficient light bulbs. As companies move away from the “low hanging fruit” and on …

Can Brands Be Too Big To Do Good?

Source: Fastcoexist In kindergarten we’re all taught to play fair. It’s the golden rule, the ethic of reciprocity: treat others as you would like to be treated. Yet when it comes to the business world, what becomes of this golden rule? The individual rule of “being good to one another” does not have an equivalent proverb when we consider larger human systems, especially in regards to the corporate world. Still, being viewed as “good” is golden. It’s a desirable and elusive status that triggers businesses to invest large amounts of marketing dollars. Yet nobody seems to have successfully branded themselves as a truly good multinational corporation. In which big business do you have 100% faith in long-term social and environmental sustainability commitments? I’ve been quick to sing the praises of smaller businesses that have built “good” into their brand architecture. But it is significantly easier for small to mid-size businesses to understand their social and environmental impacts. Monitoring down-the-line suppliers is, in theory, a more manageable task. The greater question is about …

How Coca-Cola, McDonald’s worked with nonprofits to get greener

Source: Greenbiz Businesses and nonprofits used to have a one-way relationship: Nonprofit asks for donation; business says yes or no. That relationship has evolved dramatically as the two sides found ways to develop mutually beneficial relationships, and — more recently — collaborative partnerships. In this model, the goal is to create shared value. Nowhere is this more relevant than in the environmental and sustainability arena, where conveying and exemplifying true green value has such a critical impact on the triple bottom line. Of course, no single nonprofit, business or group can do it alone. Solving problems requires the strengths, perspectives and talents that each type of organization brings to the table. When we developed our Impact Awards program, for example, our primary focus was to brainstorm with our corporate partners to create online collaborations resulting in compelling and beneficial experiences for their brands, their consumers and the participating nonprofits. True collaboration So what is true collaboration? Mark Tercek, CEO of The Nature Conservancy [TNC] – a founding EarthShare member charity – believes when we move past donating …

Tide turns towards undersea energy

Source: Edition.cnn (CNN) – A 30-meter- turbine anchored to the seafloor off the Scottish coast is proving that tidal farms are a turn closer to being a viable renewable energy source. Scottish Power completed preliminary trials of the giant undersea turbine in the fast-flowing coastal waters off the Orkney Islands. It found that the turbine produced one megawatt of electricity, enough to power 500 homes and businesses. “We’re very pleased with the initial results and we’ve operated at full power already,” says Alan Mortimer, head of innovation at Scottish Power Renewables. If the next stage of testing goes according to plan, Mortimer says that work will soon begin on a fleet of the turbines — manufactured by Andritz Hydro Hammerfest — and will be installed at another site in the Sound of Islay off the west coast of Scotland. Although there are examples of similar stand-alone operations in Norway and the UK, the Sound of Islay turbines would be the first large group of its kind anywhere in the world. When …

Supermarkets’ Energy-Savings Potential Can Be Sustained ‘Up to 10 Years’

Source: Environmentalleader Supermarkets are able to continually improve their energy efficiency for much longer than is commonly believed, according to UK researchers. Dr. Rory Sullivan and Professor Andy Gouldson, who lead the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy project “Governance Beyond the State? Corporations and the Transition to a Low Carbon Economy,” found that the seven UK supermarkets that report on their environmental performance experienced energy efficiency improvements between 2.5 and 5.5 percent a year over the past three to five years. Additionally, these companies continue to achieve annual energy efficiency improvements between 2 to 3 percent for up to 10 years, the authors say. Writing for the Guardian, Sullivan and Gouldson say that these companies’ targets indicate that they will be able to sustain this level of energy efficiency for at least five to 10 more years. There is “no silver bullet” for delivering these results, the authors say. Instead, the energy efficiency improvements come from a range of activities directed at reducing energy use and GHG emissions. …

Creating Practical Consumer Value from Sustainability

Source: bcgperspectives Green products are in vogue. Consumers are increasingly interested in products that use resources more efficiently. But outside certain niches, consumers have resisted paying the high prices that these products usually require. In order to profitably connect with environmental concerns, companies in the home improvement sector are beginning to reorient green products around the direct material benefits to consumers. They emphasize savings more than green credentials. A Challenging Opportunity The housing bust of recent years further dampened what was already a mature home-improvement market. With household formation and home construction slowed, companies in affluent countries are eager for any area of potential growth.  On the face of it, sustainability offers a great deal of potential, but converting theory into commercial viability is difficult. Like companies in many other industries, home improvement companies have worked on improving the sustainability of their products. They’ve developed new lines and features and explored emerging technologies. But the results of these efforts have so far proved largely disappointing. The Boston Consulting Group’s annual survey …

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