Business entities are generally used resources of society in their development. They are utilising various resources such as human, infrastructure, minerals, water, environmental etc., in their business activities. They are running their business and trade with help of social as well as governmental support. The common society provides them huge market place for their products and services. These business entities are also responsible to protect social environment, safety and development of the society, within which they are working. They are accountable to society at large and thus to have adopt business practices, which are in the interest of society at large.
National Voluntary Guidelines on Social, Environmental and Economic Responsibilities of Business introduced by Ministry of Corporate Affairs in, 2011 urged businesses to embrace the “Triple Bottomline Approach” whereby its financial performance can be harmonised with expectations of society, the environment and many stakeholders, which are affected by working of business.
SEBI vide its Circular No. CIR/CFD/DIL/08/2012 dated 13th August, 2012, notified requirements related of Business Responsibility Report.
SEBI has issued Circular No. SEBI/HO/CFD/CMD/CIR/P/2017/10 dated 6th February, 2017 for voluntary adoption of integrated reporting from Financial Year 2017-18 by top 500 companies.
An integrated report aims to provide information about how an organisation’s strategy, governance, performance and prospects create value over time. The information will be given in Annual report of entities by a separate chapter or in Business Responsibility Report.
Regulation 34(2)(f) of SEBI (LODR) Regulations, 2015 provides that, annual report of a listed entity, which is in top 500 listed entities based on Market Capitalisation calculated on 31st March of every financial year, shall include a Business Responsibility Report describing the initiatives taken by entity from an environmental, social and governance perspective.
The format of BRR has been provided in Annexure I of Circular No. SEBI/HO/CFD/CMD/CIR/P/2017/10 dated 6th February, 2017. Following details are required to be disclosed;
1. Central Information about listed entity, namely, CIN, address of Registered Office, website, etc.;
2. Financial details of listed entity, namely, paid up capital, total turnover, profit before tax, profit after tax, etc.;
3. Other details including details of its subsidiaries, associates etc.;
4. Details of Director(s) responsible for implementation of BR policies;
5. Details of principle wise BR policies and its compliances;
6. Frequency of assessment of BR performance of the Company;
7. Frequency of publication of Business Responsibility or Sustainability Report and hyperlink for viewing the Report;
8. Principle wise performance with respect to all the nine principles shall be given in the report incorporation information and replies to questions given in Section of E of the said Annexure I of the Circular.
Note: listed entities, which are submitting business responsibility/sustainability report, to overseas regularity agencies/stakeholders based on internationally accepted reporting frameworks need not to prepare separate report for the purpose of this circular. Such entities shall furnish the said report to their stakeholders along with the details of framework under which their report has been prepared and a mapping of the principles contained in Circular to the disclosures made in their sustainability report.
Annexure II of Circular No. SEBI/HO/CFD/CMD/CIR/P/2017/10 dated 6th February, 2017 lays down nine principles to assess compliance with environmental, social and governance norms as follows;
1. Business should conduct and govern themselves with ethics, transparency and accountability;
2. Business should provide goods and services that are safe and contribute to sustainability throughout their life cycle;
3. Business should promote the wellbeing of all employees;
4. Business should respect the interests of, and be responsive towards all stakeholders, especially those who are disadvantaged, vulnerable and marginalised;
5. Business should respect and promote human rights;’
6. Business should respect, protect and makes efforts to restore the environment;
7. Business, when engaged in influencing public and regulatory policy, should do in a responsible manner;
8. Business should support inclusive growth and equitable development;
9. Business should engage with and provide value to their customers and consumers in a responsible manner.
CONCLUSION; a business entity cannot separate it selves from society in which it is doing business. They are doing business for profit by utilising resources available in society and their vicinity. It is general principal that when you are taking something to do business from society and making profit, then it is your duty to return to the society its share in profit. It is corporate responsibility of an entity to develop social, environment and infrastructure facilities in the area in which it is doing business. The government through various legislations make accountable business entities to act in welfare of society as well as their stakeholders. They have to think about social, environmental and infrastructural development, while thinking of their profits. They have to utilise some portion of their profits in development of society, eradication of poverty, removal of illiteracy, providing of drinking water, education etc.