Scaling Up Indian Responsible Business Initiatives

SAI, BSCI & GIZ Partner to Build Capacity of Suppliers on Social Compliance 

Center For Responsible Business

Project at a glance

In an effort to address the lack of adequate and competent support structures for developing responsible business practices by the large, medium, small and micro enterprises, the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) and Social Accountability International (SAI) have joined forces with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH/German Development Cooperation (GIZ). The project aims at supporting scaling up of current initiatives for responsible business practices in India, by developing local enabling and qualifying structures which are harmonized with relevant national and international human rights and sustainability statutes and covenants, correspond with local conditions, and are affordable – particularly for the micro, small and medium enterprises. The project aims to help significantly increase the number of India based suppliers and sub-contractors that have management systems in place, enabling them to comply with a range of widely accepted codes of conduct and standards. 


The international Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) movement has made headway in developing and implementing systems that enable companies to produce efficiently with high quality while complying with social and ecological standards systems and ethical norms. Major emerging economies such as India have an ever-growing interest in facilitating the adoption of voluntary standards systems. In India, the CSR movement is spearheaded by strong national leaders, often large industrial companies which advocate for sustainable development as well as actively integrating CSR standards and management systems. However, the current proliferation of standard initiatives often causes a burden for suppliers and producers, as they increasingly have to comply with the various requirements of compliance standards that all address the same or similar topics. This leads to a certain audit and implementation fatigue, potential for inefficiencies, and high costs from redundancies.

This is compounded by the fact that the CSR support structures currently available in India vary widely in quality, consistency and comparability. Particularly small and medium-sized companies are often prevented from standard implementation, as the services offered are often too expensive for them to afford and sometimes do not meet with their needs, as the systems are mainly export-oriented with little impact on the domestic markets. 


The project aims at scaling up current CSR initiatives in India, by developing local enabling and qualifying structures which are harmonized, correspond with local conditions, and are affordable for companies. The project duration is three years, starting from April 2010 until April 2013.


The project will use a multi-stakeholder approach, seeking expert inputs from the key stakeholders on the services that are required by the large, medium, small and micro enterprises. These inputs will feed into setting up of a Centre of Excellence for Responsible Business in India whose purpose will be to provide responsible business-related support services - information, advisory and capacity building - to the India based manufacturers and stakeholders. The Centre’s main aim will be to support coordination and linkages among related initiatives and foster the mainstreaming of responsible business practices in India.

For capacity building, the local trainers will be trained and qualified to provide responsible business (e.g. responsible supply chain management standards) related services by the Centre. In order to develop a modular training toolbox, to respond with tailor-made approaches to specific capacity building needs, the project will pilot different training and advice programmes for 150 India based manufacturers and suppliers. The experience gained during the pilot trainings will be fed into the final capacity building service portfolio to be offered by the Centre. The Centre therefore will enable India based manufacturers and suppliers - from large to small and micro - to access relevant and affordable training and advice in the field of responsible business to put them in a strong position to implement credible policies, and improve their social, ecological and ethical performance.

The approach will enable Indian producers and suppliers, from large to small, to access relevant and affordable CSR related training and advice beyond the conclusion of this Development Partnership with the Private Sector Scaling up Indian CSR Initiatives project. An important aspect of the project is to support India based manufacturers and suppliers become competitive and sustainable in a fast growing Indian economy, both domestically and internationally. Intensive engagement and dialogue with local stakeholders is a key component towards achieving this aim, and will be facilitated through the Centre. For more information on how your company can participate, download Company Briefer PDF.


Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Working efficiently, effectively and in a spirit of partnership, we support people and societies in developing, transition and industrialised countries in shaping their own futures and improving living conditions. This is what the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is all about. Established on 1 January 2011, it brings together under one roof the long-standing expertise of the Deutscher Entwicklungsdienst (DED) GmbH (German development service), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH (German technical cooperation) and InWEnt– Capacity Building International, Germany. As a federally owned enterprise, we support the German Government in achieving its objectives in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development. We are also engaged in international education work around the globe.

Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI)
BSCI was formed in March 2003 by the Foreign Trade Association (FTA), an association for European commerce specialised in international trade issues, as part of the association’s effort to establish a common platform in response to the proliferation of various different codes of conduct and monitoring systems and to lay the groundwork for a common monitoring system for improving social compliance. BSCI has over 600 corporate members representing some of the largest retailers in Europe.

Social Accountability International (SAI)
SAI is a non-governmental, multi-stakeholder organisation dedicated to improving workplaces and communities by developing and implementing socially responsible standards. SAI convenes key stakeholders to develop consensus-based voluntary standards, conducts cost-benefit research, accredits auditors, provides training and technical assistance, and assists corporations in improving social compliance in their supply chains. In 1997, SAI launched SA8000 (Social Accountability 8000) – a voluntary standard for workplaces, based on International Organisation and United Nations conventions – which is currently used by businesses and governments around the world and is recognised as one of the strongest workplace standards. SAI currently has over 300,000 individuals employed in 458 SA8000 certified facilities throughout India.

"Scaling Up Indian CSR Initiatives" Project Briefer Download PDF

Click here to read an interview with SAI's India Project Director, Rishi Singh (November 2010)
Click here to read an interview with Richa Gautam, Consultant- IICA-GTZ CSR Initiative about the potential impact of this PPP Project in India (May 2010)