For Tata group companies, it is costly to do big business with big heart, but they consciously and consistently choose to do business following the highest ethical standards even if that means losing out businesses to competitors.
There is a determinate cost to the corporate social responsibility initiatives a company undertakes, and then there is the indeterminate cost. The latter is what honest enterprises sacrifice by refusing to take the crooked route to success. Observers just dont seem to take this into account. We are in the unfortunate situation today of seeing corrupt corporations being feted for their achievements, of hearing applause for accomplishments that have been gained through immoral and unethical business behaviour, writes Ratan Tata, chairman, Tata Sons, in the forward to Code of Honour: Nurturing people, enriching life, a book of Tata groups corporate sustainability efforts.
The philosophy of the Tata group and its approach to corporate sustainability has been documented in the book. Talking about the reasons to take this book to general public Kishor Chaukar, managing director, Tata Industries and chairman of Tata Council of Community Initiatives (TCCI), said, Lots of people want to know and they are curious to know what is it that make Tatas different and the reasons for such recognition for Tatas in the market place.
According Chaukar, the book has been the guiding principle for every Tata employee and will continue to be so despite the general audience getting a chance to know the Tata way of doing business.
The book details the groups endeavours through, what they call the four pillars of corporate sustainability: governance, employees, environment and the community. It does this through a series of stories that narrate how Tata companies are working to benefit the community, shareholders, customers and people in different parts of India and the world. This is a story of big business with a big heart, said the books introduction.
The how of doing business is as important as the why of doing business, said Naronha about the message and purpose of the book. Elaborating on this message Chaukar said compromising in the Singur issue would have been very easy. It would have cost much less. But we would have lost our reputation, whose worth is equivalent or more than what we would have probably if we remained invested.
Even after following the best ethical practices, Tatas do face protests. Like the protest by environmentalists and Greenpeace associates against the Dhamra Port in Orissa, a joint venture between Tata Steel and L&T. Such events let us cross check our own activities and we do that. And if they have a reason we hear them out, said Chaukar.
The book, released in Mumbai on Monday, will be available across India.