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Abstract

This case captures primarily the Indian corporate''s changing attitude towards addressing sustainability issues, the challenges lying ahead to achieving sustainable development, and the various indices that have come up to quantify the overall performance of companies with respect to the same. With growing concern over issues like global warming, depleting natural resources and other burning issues, environmentalists, non-governmental organisations and others concerned began to raise their voice against companies, which were operating at the cost of the environment and society. Companies across the globe have come under scrutiny, which in turn forced them to reinvent their business models on the basis of the concept of sustainability. Banking on this trend, a series of sustainability indices named Dow Jones Sustainability Index, Global 100 Sustainability Index, etc, have come up to measure the true performance of companies in terms of safeguarding natural resources, ensuring corporate governance, etc. The changes in the global perspective towards protecting the environment for future generations reflected even in the investment decisions of international companies. As such, companies from developing countries like India began to incorporate sustainability issues into their corporate strategies. However, the sustainable development index of British Telecommunications Plc, which assessed Indian companies on sustainability issues under 12 parameters, revealed that the overall performance of Indian companies was not satisfactory in comparison to the European Union, China and Japan. As such, the case facilitates a discussion on the need for Indian companies to address sustainable issues in the light of growing concerns over sustainability, globally. This case can be used to: (1) understand the growing need for sustainability in the current global environment; (2) analyse and debate on the role of government, companies and other stakeholders in achieving desirable standards in sustainable development; (3) examine the efficacy of the sustainability index (SI) as an effective tool for measuring sustainable development; and (4) analyse and debate on the relevance of SI for Indian companies and the challenges lying ahead.

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Abstract

This case captures primarily the Indian corporate''s changing attitude towards addressing sustainability issues, the challenges lying ahead to achieving sustainable development, and the various indices that have come up to quantify the overall performance of companies with respect to the same. With growing concern over issues like global warming, depleting natural resources and other burning issues, environmentalists, non-governmental organisations and others concerned began to raise their voice against companies, which were operating at the cost of the environment and society. Companies across the globe have come under scrutiny, which in turn forced them to reinvent their business models on the basis of the concept of sustainability. Banking on this trend, a series of sustainability indices named Dow Jones Sustainability Index, Global 100 Sustainability Index, etc, have come up to measure the true performance of companies in terms of safeguarding natural resources, ensuring corporate governance, etc. The changes in the global perspective towards protecting the environment for future generations reflected even in the investment decisions of international companies. As such, companies from developing countries like India began to incorporate sustainability issues into their corporate strategies. However, the sustainable development index of British Telecommunications Plc, which assessed Indian companies on sustainability issues under 12 parameters, revealed that the overall performance of Indian companies was not satisfactory in comparison to the European Union, China and Japan. As such, the case facilitates a discussion on the need for Indian companies to address sustainable issues in the light of growing concerns over sustainability, globally. This case can be used to: (1) understand the growing need for sustainability in the current global environment; (2) analyse and debate on the role of government, companies and other stakeholders in achieving desirable standards in sustainable development; (3) examine the efficacy of the sustainability index (SI) as an effective tool for measuring sustainable development; and (4) analyse and debate on the relevance of SI for Indian companies and the challenges lying ahead.

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