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A

COMPARATIVE

ANALYSIS

OF

CORPORATE

SOCIAL

RESPONSIBILITY REPORTING OF PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTOR


BANKS IN INDIA
Clement Cabral1

ABSTRACT
This paper is a comparative analysis of public and private sector bank in India i.e. State Bank of
India and ICICI bank on the basis of quality of the Corporate Social Responsibility report as per
sustainability reporting indicators given by Global Reporting Initiatives. Data of two financial
years i.e. 2012-13 and 2013-14 have been collected from publicly available information through
company websites, annual reports, Business Responsibility report, third-party websites and other
nonfinancial information disclosure used to gather base information for the study. Qualitative
analysis has been conducted by using seven key quality aspect with the appropriate scoring
weightage criteria assigned to each of the quality aspects. Results of this study show that the
quality of CSR reporting of public and private banks are average. The quality can be improved
by addition of certain indicators. Main limitation of this study is that it is based only on
secondary data and sample size i.e. two banks, is small. This study can be conducted on larger
sample size.
Keywords: Business Responsibility Report, Corporate Social Responsibility, Global Reporting
Initiatives

INTRODUCTION
Corporate social responsibility reporting plays a vital role in performance of an
organisation. Inorder to sustain the long run the corporates are required to perform socially and
economically. CSR reporting enables to improve organisations value, governance, its
commitment towards various stakeholders. In India, regulatory developments over the past three
years have set the momentum for higher CR reporting rates.
1

Lecturer, Department of Commerce, The Cochin College, Kochi 2, Ernakulam, Kerala

Email:clement.cabral@gmail.com

Release of National Voluntary Guidelines on Social, Environmental and Economic


Responsibilities of Business (NVG-SEE) by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, India in 2011 was
a key development to gain the attention of the larger industry audience on the need for adoption
of CSR practices by businesses and for transparent CSR disclosure. This voluntary guidance was
progressively adopted by Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in 2012 to mandate
compulsory disclosure of adoption of NVG-SEE for the financial year ending on or after 31
December, 2012. The mandate, through Clause 55 of the listing agreement with stock exchanges
in India, makes Business Responsibility Reporting compulsory for top 100 listed entities (by
market capitalisation). Similarly, the Department of Public Enterprise (DPE) has issued
Guidelines on Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability for Central Public Sector
Enterprises which sets the requirements for CR reporting to assess the overall performance of
Central Public Sector Enterprises. The other key development that will impact CR disclosure is
the new Companies Act of India, 2013. The landmark legislation includes Corporate Social
Responsibility (CSR) as a mandatory agenda item at the Board level and requires companies to
report on their CSR policy, governance and initiatives along with CSR budget spent. The
legislation advocates 2 per cent of net profits as a prescribed allocation for CSR expenditure. At
the same time, markets have also responded with positive developments such as the launch of
S&P BSE Greenex and Carbonex market indices which separately track companies with better
CR performance and disclosure frameworks. These domestic developments coupled with
international developments like the release of GRI G4 Guidelines is expected to significantly
alter the CR reporting scenario. Many individuals today are basing their corporate loyalties on
how companies are positively impacting their community. A corporations public image is at the
mercy of its social responsibility programmes and how aware communities are of them. Despite
being a vital issue, there is scarce information to understand about CSR in India. The need for
business transparency and accountability has strongly felt by stakeholders and shaped increasing
demand for responsible corporate behaviour and transparent corporate reporting. The purpose of
this study is to study how effectively CSR Reporting is being practised by public and private
sector banks in India i.e. SBI and ICICI bank respectively. This study helps to understand more
about the present state of CSR disclosure in public and private banks in India.

STATE BANK OF INDIA


State Bank of India (SBI) is the nations largest and oldest bank with a network of 15869
branches. The Banks three major products/services categories, each of which individually
comprises of several products/services, are: Deposits, Loans and Advances and Remittances and
Collections. Corporate Social Responsibility is integral part of the State Bank of India covering
various social, environmental and welfare activities. This is rooted in the Banks belief that it
owes a solemn duty to the less fortunate and underprivileged members of the society to make a
sustainable social change in their development. In fact since 1973 the Bank is actively involved
in nonprofit activity called Community Services Banking. All its branches and administrative
offices throughout the country sponsor and participate in large number of welfare activities and
social causes. The budget for the Banks Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) spending for FY
13-14 was 1% of the previous years PAT which amounts to INR 141 crores. The Banks actual
spend on CSR activities for FY 13-14 was INR 148.93 crores. The Banks CSR activities touch
the lives of millions of the poor and needy across the length and breadth of the nation. While
CSR is embedded in many of the Banks business initiatives it covers various social,
environmental and welfare activities. The Bank has a comprehensive Corporate Social
Responsibility (CSR) Policy, approved by the Executive Committee of the Central Board in
August 2011.
The focus areas of the Banks CSR activities are listed here under:
Supporting education.
Supporting healthcare.
Assistance to poor & underprivileged.
Environment protection.
Entrepreneur development programme.
Help in National calamities.
ICICI Bank Limited
ICICI Bank Limited incorporated in Vadodara, India is a publicly held banking company
engaged in providing a wide range of banking and financial services including retail banking,
corporate banking and treasury operations. As of 2014, it is the second largest bank in India in
terms of assets and market capitalisation The Bank has approximately spent 2.0% of its average
profit after tax for the three financial years ending March 31, 2012, March 31, 2013 and March
31, 2014, on donations & grants primarily to the ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth (ICICI

Foundation), and on the Banks financial inclusion initiatives. The above expenditure has been
undertaken by the Bank, directly and through ICICI Foundation, primarily on

Elementary education

Skill development & sustainable livelihoods

Primary healthcare

Financial inclusion

OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY


To study about Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting
To analyse the quality of Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting of public and private
sector banks in India.
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
Data collection -To accomplish the above stated objectives of the study, secondary data of the
two financial years i.e. 2012-13 and 2013-14 have been taken into consideration. This data has
been collected mainly from

Company websites

Annual reports

Business Responsibility report

Third-party websites

Other nonfinancial information disclosure

The Sample - For the purpose of study, the largest public sector bank in India, State Bank of
India is selected and largest private sector bank in India, ICICI Bank is selected. These banks
mandate through Clause 55 of the listing agreement with stock exchanges in India makes
Business Responsibility Reporting compulsory.
Statistical Tools Used - Percentage is used for analysis. A checklist is prepared to study the
Corporate Social performance on the basis of social performance indicators given by GRI G3
guidelines.
Reliability of data - Data is collected from annual and sustainability reports which are authentic
and reliable source of collecting secondary data as these reports are audited externally.
Results and Discussions - Qualitative analysis was conducted by using seven key quality aspect
( maximum score of 100) with the appropriate scoring weightage criteria assigned to each of the

quality aspects. The seven key quality aspects were considered from Global Reporting Initiatives
G3 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. For detailed study these seven key quality aspects were
again divided into twenty five sub criteria as mentioned. Inorder to quantify the data four points
(25/100) each was assigned to sub criteria. If sub criteria is present in the BR report, four points
is assigned and absence attracts zero points. Two points is assigned if the bank satisfies half of
the criteria. The aggregate point obtained by both banks are computed and scaled. If the
aggregate point falls between 0-20, 20-40, 40-60, 60-80 and 80-100 corresponds to very poor
quality, poor quality, average, good quality and very good quality respectively.
FINDINGS
1. Strategy, risk and opportunity
Businesses today operate in an increasingly resource constraint world and are exposed to an
array of sustainability megaforces which will impact the way businesses will operate in the long
term. These megaforces are complexly interconnected with the potential to amplify the impacts
multi-fold. Megaforces include deforestation, climatic changes, energy and fuel, material
resource scarcity, water scarcity, population growth, wealth, urbanisation, food security and eco
system decline.
Qualitative
aspects
1.Strategy, risk
and opportunity

Sub criteria

State Bank ICICI Bank

1.1 Awareness on social and environmental

of India
4

mega forces and their impact on the business


1.2 Understand and, ideally, quantify the

resulting risks and opportunities


1.3 Strategy in place to minimise risk and

10

10

exploit opportunities and is clear about the


actions taken
Total

With ever expanding global complex supply chains and diverse customers base,
companies will have to demonstrate the understanding of a full range of impacts of these
sustainability mega forces and articulate appropriate strategies to minimise risks and maximize
opportunities that these megaforces present as well as in the future.

1.1

Yes, SBI and ICICI bank are aware on social and environmental mega forces and their

impact on the business. Among the megaforces, SBI gave more importance to environmental
megaforces such as energy and fuel, climatic changes, deforestation, ecosystem decline and
material resource scarcity. But, there is no mention about water scarcity. SBI states social
megaforces such as food security and urbanisation.
ICICI bank gave more importance only to environmental megaforces such as climatic
change, energy and fuel, material resource scarcity, water scarcity and ecosystem decline. The
Bank through its Technology Finance Group assists projects that promote clean technology,
preserve biodiversity and protect the environment. ICICI Foundation focuses on social initiatives
such as elementary education, sustainable livelihoods, primary healthcare and financial
inclusion.
1.2

Yes, SBI and ICICI bank understand about the risks and opportunities, and but, fails to

quantify the resulting risks and opportunities. Both banks has understanding about several
opportunities such as innovation, cost savings, improving market position, improving reputation,
improving employee motivation etc. However banks fail to quantify these risks and
opportunities.
1.3

Yes, there are strategies in place to minimise risk and exploit opportunities and is clear

about the actions taken. SBI introduces sustainable products and services such as SBIePay for ecommerce, State Bank MobiCash Easy a mobile wallet, Green Channel Self Service Kiosk,
Green Remit Card, prepaid cards like Smart Payout card, Ez Pay Card, VishwaYatra Card etc.
are some of the initiatives of the Banks green initiatives and have social benefits also.
ICICI bank provides sustainable banking products to cater to different classes of
customers through an expansive ATM network, mobile, phone, internet, doorstep banking.
Customised products include personal loans, home loans, loans for asset purchases and a wide
range of accounts and deposits. The Bank also offers a selection of cards for convenience to
complement the distinct lifestyle needs of customers. In addition, the Banks Rural & Inclusive
Banking Group focuses on rural and below poverty line customers.
2 . Materiality

Materiality means the information in a report should cover topics and Indicators that
reflect the organisations significant economic, environmental, and social impacts or that would
substantively influence the assessments and decisions of stakeholders.

Qualitative
aspects
2.Materiality

Sub criteria

State Bank ICICI Bank

2.1 Clear identification and disclosure of all

of India
4

material issues
2.2 Regular materiality assessment which is

stakeholders
2.3 Consideration of internal and external

stakeholders inputs for assessing materiality


2.4 Management approach for material issues

an ongoing process to assess the changing


significance of issues to the business and its

to improve performance over a period of


time.
Total
2.1

Yes, Business Responsibility Report of SBI has clear identification and disclosure of all

material issues. SBI, under community service banking, various welfare and social activities are
undertaken by the Bank both in Banking and Non-Banking areas to raise the quality of life of the
downtrodden and under-privileged sections of society Environmental factors are achieved by
launching sustainable products and services, environmental friendly initiatives etc.
ICICI bank has clear identification and disclosure of all material issues. The Bank
through its Technology Finance Group (TFG) involved in social initiatives such as soft
loan/grant assistance to entities engaged in a number of activities that benefit the underprivileged, including medical research & facilities and vocational training & rehabilitation of
physically challenged persons (including defence personnel who have suffered injuries as a result
of which they are unable to continue in the defence forces). The environmental initiatives
undertaken through Technology Finance Group (TFG) includes soft loan/equity/grant assistance

for development & distribution of fuel efficient cook stoves & solar lanterns, seed-stage
sustainable energy and clean technology development and wildlife & forest conservation.
2.2

There is no regular materiality assessment in SBI and ICICI bank, which can be

considered as an ongoing process to assess the changing significance of issues to the business
and its stakeholders
2.3

Both banks have no consideration of internal and external stakeholders inputs for

assessing materiality
2.4

The banks have management approach for material issues to improve performance. SBI

has laid down a well-defined Code of Conduct for its Directors on the Central Boarde and ICICI
through the Group Code of Business Conduct & Ethics. This Code of Conduct attempts to set
forth the guiding principles on which the Bank operates and conducts its daily business to
improve performance.
3. Targets and indicators
Well defined targets and key performance indicators (KPIs) are important for companies
to achieve continual improvement and to drive innovation. Targets have to be linked to material
CSR issues. Clear baselines need to be established along with timelines to monitor progress and
achievement. Targets have to be supported by defined KPIs to measure and manage the
achievements.

Qualitative
aspects
3. Targets
and indicators

Sub criteria

State Bank ICICI Bank

3.1 Identify CR performance targets that are

of India
4

time-bound with a clear baseline and timeline


3.2 Assign targets to relevant material CR

issues

3.1

3.3 Define KPIs for targets to measure

progress against targets


3.4 Disclose performance against CR targets.
Total

0
4

0
4

The budget for the SBI Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) spending for FY 13-14

was 1% of the previous years PAT which amounts to INR 141 crores. The Banks actual spend
on CSR activities for FY 13-14 was INR 148.93 crores. ICICI has approximately spent 2.0% of
its average profit after tax for the three financial years ending March 31, 2012, March 31, 2013
and March 31, 2014.
3.2 No data to specify targets to relevant material CR issues.
3.3 KPIs for targets to measure progress against targets are absent in the BR report of both banks
3.4 Banks fail to disclose performance against CR targets.
4. Supply Chain
Corporate social responsibility issues beyond their own operations have a far greater
impact on businesses and thus it is imperative for companies to identify such CSR issues across
the value chain environmental and social issues of supply chain; environmental and social
concerns related to products and services. There is also growing stakeholder pressure on
companies to acknowledge and address especially supply chain CR issues. Owing to the nature
of complex supply chains and limited influence on customer choices, it is rather difficult to
measure and mitigate value chain CR issues. This requires concerted efforts by companies to
have constant dialogue and partnership with suppliers and also innovate for sustainable products
and services.

Qualitative

Sub criteria

State Bank ICICI

aspects
4.Suppliers

4.1 Formal CR requirements for supply chain and

of India
0

Bank
0

and Value Chain

development of mechanisms to improve supplier

performance (such as a supplier code of conduct


and CR criteria for supplier selection)
4.2 Involvement with suppliers to help them
address their CR impacts

4.3 Audit suppliers against code of conduct


4.4 Set targets for reducing the impact of supply

0
0

0
0

chain and measure the progress against these


targets
4.5 Identification of social and environmental
impacts associated with the use and disposal of
products and services.
Total
4.1

Both banks has no formal CR requirements for supply chain and development of
mechanisms to improve supplier performance

4.2

Yes, SBI and ICICI bank has involvement with suppliers to help them address their CR
impacts

4.3

No, banks do not audit suppliers against code of conduct

4.4

No, SBI has no targets for reducing the impact of supply chain and measure the progress
against these targets

4.5

State Bank of India has no identification of social and environmental impacts associated
with the use and disposal of products and services
State Bank of India and ICICI banks banking operations do not have a complex supply

chain and thus the business partners ie. Suppliers and distributors are also quite limited, which
leaves very little scope for the engage them in its Business responsibility initiatives. The bank
expects and encourages its supply chain to conduct their business in a responsible manner.
5.Stakeholder engagement
The stakeholder engagement means identifying its stakeholders and explain in the report
how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests. Stakeholder engagement
processes can serve as tools for understanding the reasonable expectations and interests of
stakeholders. Organisations typically initiate different types of stakeholder engagement as part of
their regular activities, which can provide useful inputs for decisions on reporting.
Qualitative

Sub criteria

State Bank ICICI Bank

aspects
5.Stakeholder

5.1 A process in place to identify and engage

of India
4

engagement

key stakeholders

5.2 Response to stakeholder feedback and

action taken where necessary


5.3 Process to seek and gather stakeholder

views on CR reporting and performance and


report these transparently
Total

5.1

Yes, the SBI has process in place to identify and engage key stakeholders. The Banks

approach to stakeholder engagement helps to minimize risks, identify ideas for new products and
services, and understand and respond to the issues that matter to the communities it serves. The
Bank communicates with the stakeholders through a variety of channels, such as e-mails,
website, conference call, Press Meets, Advertising, one-on-one meeting, analysts meet and
attendance at Investor Conference throughout the world. Stakeholder engagement is embedded in
all areas of the Bank. The Bank seeks feedback through all their customer-facing channels,
listens to all shareholders concerns and provides opportunities for employees to provide
feedback. The engagement with stakeholders is through social media like Facebook & twitter,
and active participation in a variety of industry and community associations.
ICICI bank through its various financial inclusion initiatives are expanding its outreach to
rural and semi-urban markets and providing financial solutions to customers in this market. The
banking and the financial services being provided by the Bank to the unbanked and below
poverty line customers is providing an opportunity to the target customers to improve their
livelihoods. ICICI Foundation encourages the active engagement of key stakeholders such as the
Governments, NGOs, Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), communities and other local
institutions in the project planning and implementation to facilitate developing and building
community ownership while ensuring the sustainability of the programmes
5.2

Yes, State Bank of India has response to stakeholder feedback and action taken where

necessary. The Banks vision statement clearly spells out the centricity of the customer in the
Banks business strategies and operations. A multi-tiered structure of committees constantly
review existing services and suggest improvements. Important issues raised by these Committees
and action taken thereon, as well as analysis of the consolidated data for customer grievances for
all Circles are placed before the Customer Service Committee of the Board every quarter, to
identify common systemic and policy issues that require rectification.

ICICI bank has response to stakeholder feedback and action taken where necessary. But
elaborate details are not mentioned in the BR report.
5.3

No, The Banks have no process to seek and gather stakeholder views on CR reporting

and performance and report these transparently.

6. Governance of CSR
CSR governance structure at the apex levels with clearly defined roles and
responsibilities demonstrates the commitment of an organisation to integrate CR across levels
and functions. Board level oversight on CR will enable the Board to understand broader CR
trends that affect long term sustainability of the company and provide strategic guidance to
address them.

Qualitative

Sub criteria

State Bank ICICI Bank

aspects
6.Governance

6.1 A primary person and/or function is

of India
4

for CSR

assigned with the ultimate responsibility for


4

and report to the company Board


6.3 Linkage of CR performance to

remuneration exists.
Total

CR at the highest levels of the organisation


6.2 An individual/function is appointed to
manage sustainability on a day-to-day basis

6.1

Yes, SBI and ICICI have a primary person and/or function is assigned with the ultimate

responsibility for CSR at the highest levels of the organisation. The Business Responsibility
Policy is circulated across all Departments / Business Groups / Verticals of the Bank. Further, it
is communicated to all employees through induction programs, orientation sessions and internal
portals. The designated Nodal Officer (BR officer) heads the BR function of the Bank. He / She
reports directly to the Managing Director & Group Executive (NB), and is responsible for
implementation of the policy, identification of various initiatives and ensuring their effective
implementation by the BR Function staff. The BR Officer, who would head the BR Function is
responsible for implementing the BR initiatives, provide clarifications on the policy, guiding the
staff in implementation, review the results, audit, impact assessment etc.
6.2

Yes, In SBI, an individual/function is appointed to manage sustainability on a day-to-day

basis and report to the company Board. The head of each Bank unit (Branch / Department /
Business Group / Vertical) is responsible for compliance of the BR Policy. He / She would
update the BR Officer about the policy implementation, initiatives taken, discriminatory
complaints received, cases of incidents of violation of freedom of association and collective
bargaining etc. The BR Officer would update the Top Management. The BR Policy will be
updated from time to time by the BR Officer i.e. General Manager (Corporate Communication &
Change), in the light of amendments to laws, rules and regulations, as applicable, and an annual
review report shall be submitted to the Board.
In ICICI bank, the CSR Committee would comprise of three or more Directors including
at least one independent Director. The Bank has a CSR Committee which is duly constituted in
accordance with the provisions of the Act with respect to its composition and terms of reference.
6.3

Non existence of linkage in State bank of India and ICICI banks Corporate Social

Responsibility performance and remuneration.


7.Transparency and balance
Transparency can be defined as the complete disclosure of information on the topics and
Indicators required to reflect impacts and enable stakeholders to make decisions, and the
processes, procedures, and assumptions used to prepare those disclosures.

Qualitative

Sub criteria

aspects
7. Transparency

State Bank ICICI Bank


of India

7.1 Acknowledgement of challenges,

7.2 Use of data to monitor performance year-

on-year
7.3 Presentation of monitored performance,

available to stakeholders.
Total

10

10

dilemmas and failures, as well as


achievements

7.1 SBIs BR report highlights more positive achievements and misses out reporting the key
challenges and dilemmas.SBI has several achievements such as 10,000 of the 15,869 branches
are located in rural and semi urban areas, leader in agricultural finance, have more than 48,000
ATMs making it the one of the largest ATM networks in the world and its ATMs are located in
all parts of the country including some of the remotest and inaccessible parts, one of the largest
employers in the country having 2,22,033 employees, 100% coverage under financial inclusion
in 31,729 villages during FY 2013-14 etc
ICICI banks BR report highlights more positive achievements and misses out reporting
the key challenges and dilemmas. The bank states about achievements such as launch of
sustainable banking products to cater to different classes of customers through an expansive
ATM network, mobile, phone, internet, doorstep banking. Customised products include personal
loans, home loans, loans for asset purchases and a wide range of accounts and deposits. Selection
of cards for convenience to complement the distinct lifestyle needs of customers etc.
7.2 State Bank of India and ICICI bank use data to monitor performance since 2012-13.
7.3 SBI and ICICI bank prepares Business Responsibility report in accordance with SEBI
requirements and published on an annual basis. The BR report of SBI can be accessed at banks
website http://www.sbi.co.in or http://statebankofindia.com under the link Corporate Governance
CSRBR Report. The BR report of ICICI bank can be accessed at banks the hyperlink
http://www.icicibank.com/aboutus/annual.html.

Qualitative aspects

Maximum

State

1.Strategy, risk and opportunity

points
12

India
10

10

2 Materiality

16

3.Targets and Indicators


4.Suppliers and Value Chain

16
20

4
4

4
4

5. Shareholder Engagement
6. Governance of CR

12
12

8
8

8
8

10
52

10
52

7. Transparency and Balance

12
Total 100

Bank

of ICICI Bank

The above data indicates the score obtained by State Bank of India and ICICI bank after
assessing with seven qualitative aspects.

SBIs scores 52 points out of 100 points (falls in the range of 40-60) which shows its
CSR Reporting is average.

ICICI bank scores 52 points out of 100 points (falls in the range of 40-60) which shows
its CSR Reporting is also average.

SBI and ICICI banks CSR reporting scores high points in strategy, risk and opportunities
as well as transparency and balance.

SBI and ICICI banks CSR reporting scored lowest in supply chain and satisfied only
one criteria.

SUGGESTIONS
Inorder to improve the quality of CSR Reporting the public and private sector banks need to
inculcate several qualitative sub criteria such as
Quantify the resulting risks and opportunities
Continuous regular material assessment
Consideration of internal and external stakeholders inputs

Linkage of CSR performance to remuneration


Assign targets to relevant material CR issues
Define KPIs for targets to measure progress against targets
Consideration of internal and external stakeholders inputs for assessing materiality
Identification of social and environmental impacts
Audit suppliers code of conduct
Set targets for reducing the impact of supply chain and measure the progress against
these targets
Process to gather views on CSR reporting and performance from stakeholders
Linkage of CSR performance to remuneration
Acknowledgement of challenges and dilemmas
CONCLUSION
Corporate Social Responsibility is a abroad subject which leads to variety of opinions and
can be considered in a number of different ways. CSR reporting has gained prominence in India
during recent year after voluntary guidance was progressively adopted by Securities Exchange
Board of India (SEBI) in 2012 to mandate compulsory disclosure of adoption of NVG-SEE for
the financial year ending on or after 31 December, 2012.The quality of CSR reporting of public
and private sector banks are assessed by seven qualitative indicators. The quality of both CSR
reporting is average and can be improved by adjoining nonexistent indicators. CSR reporting is
now generally considered to be an integral part of strategy for any organisation and built into the
strategic planning process.
This study was to analyse the quality of CSR reporting and suggest remedies to improve
the CSR reporting. The study has accomplished its objective successfully.
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