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|Title:Does conserving biodiversity matter to Corporations?. In: Corporate Biodiversity Management for Sustainable Growth: Assessment of Policies and Action Plans. Year: 2019|
Gurudas Nulkar and Madhura Bedarkar
The juggernaut of globalization and the forces of hyper competition have kept Indian corporations busy pushing growth and profits. The Companies Act and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) rules in India mandate certain categories of businesses to fulfill their social and environmental responsibilities. Twelve activities are listed where CSR funds can be employed. However, most companies choose to spend their funds on healthcare and sanitation, education, rural improvement, and arts and culture. This is hardly surprising, as it can potentially improve the company’s image in the eyes of its customers. On the other hand, the natural environment is a distant seventh preference of the top 100 companies. This prompts a question— does nature conservation, specifically biodiversity, matter to companies? Even as increasing production and consumption have impacted natural systems, the answer to this question is hardly encouraging. In this chapter, we discuss the findings from our study of CSR spending of corporations in India. We examined the CSR expenditure data of select companies, from their 2017 annual reports, National CSR India portal data, and CSR surveys such as KPMG CSR Reporting Surveys of N100 (ranked on National Stock Exchange on the basis of market capital) companies. From this study, we try to understand the motivations behind nature conservation, expected outcomes from this expenditure, and challenges in biodiversity and nature conservation as a CSR goal. This chapter concludes by arguing why biodiversity conservation should matter to businesses and what could be the possible policy measure to enhance this funding.