'PSUs more aligned with responsible business practices'

Public sector companies are showing "stronger policy alignment" with responsible business practices compared to their private sector counterparts, says a study.

The findings are based on an analysis top 100 companies listed on the BSE that focused on five aspects, including non-discrimination at the workplace. As per the index released by India Responsible Business Forum (IRBF) , public sector undertakings are showing stronger policy alignment with NVGs than the private sector companies.

The index was developed by non-profit group Oxfam India along with Corporate Responsibility Watch, Praxis and Partners in Change. The National Voluntary Guidelines for Social, Environmental and Economic Responsibilities of Business (NVGs) was introduced by the government in 2011. It was developed by Corporate Affairs Ministry along with civil society organisations.

For the study, the companies were ranked on the basis of five factors -- non-discrimination at the workplace, employee well-being, community development, inclusiveness in supply chain and community as business stakeholders. "PSUs make up for almost one half of the top 10 positions across the five elements. They are also the top companies in four of the five elements including community as business stakeholder, non-discrimination, employee well-being and community development," Oxfam India said in a statement.

Namit Agarwal, Private Sector Advisor at Oxfam India, said there is also a problem of transparency. "The top 100 businesses are, on the whole, not yet ready to formulate or disclose policies that make them truly accountable to their local communities," Agarwal noted.