"Responsible business conduct is not just about doing what's required: it's about doing what's right, considering the impact of your decisions on people, the planet, and profits."
NGRBC stands for “National Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct.” These guidelines were introduced by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) in India on March 15, 2019.
The NGRBC aims to encourage businesses to adopt responsible and ethical practices that align with sustainable development goals. It covers various aspects of responsible business conduct, including ethical behaviour, stakeholder rights, human rights, environmental protection, workers’ rights, consumer protection, and anti-corruption measures.
The guidelines are voluntary, meaning companies can choose to adopt them as a demonstration of their commitment to responsible practices.
What are the Objectives of NGRBC
The primary objectives behind launching NGRBC are as follows:
Encouraging Corporate Responsibility: The guidelines seek to encourage businesses to take responsibility for their actions and decisions, not only from a financial perspective but also from social and environmental standpoints. By promoting responsible business conduct, the government aims to create a positive impact on society, workers, and the environment.
Sustainable Development: The NGRBC aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), emphasizing the need for businesses to contribute to sustainable development. By adopting responsible practices, companies can support the attainment of these global goals and address pressing societal and environmental challenges.
Stakeholder Welfare: The guidelines emphasize the importance of considering the interests and rights of various stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, local communities, and others affected by a company’s operations. By prioritizing stakeholder welfare, businesses can build trust and sustainable relationships with the communities they serve.
Ethical Conduct: NGRBC stresses the significance of ethical behavior in business operations. Companies are encouraged to uphold high ethical standards, transparency, and accountability to gain public trust and maintain their social license to operate.
Voluntary Adoption: The guidelines are voluntary in nature, meaning companies are not legally obligated to comply with them. However, businesses that voluntarily adopt the NGRBC can showcase their commitment to responsible practices, which may lead to enhanced reputation and a competitive advantage.
Indian government launched NGRBC to promote responsible and sustainable business conduct, contributing to the country’s socio-economic development and environmental protection.
NGRBC important ?
Yes, the “National Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct” (NGRBC) are important for several reasons:
Encouraging Ethical Business Practices: The guidelines emphasize the importance of ethical behaviour in business operations. By adhering to responsible conduct, companies can avoid engaging in unethical practices, which can protect their reputation and build trust with stakeholders.
Promoting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): NGRBC encourages businesses to go beyond mere profit-making and consider their impact on society and the environment. By incorporating CSR initiatives, companies can contribute positively to the communities they operate in and help address social and environmental challenges.
Supporting Sustainable Development Goals: The guidelines align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. By adopting responsible practices, companies can actively contribute to achieving these global goals.
Enhancing Stakeholder Trust: Companies that prioritize responsible business conduct can build stronger relationships with their stakeholders, including customers, employees, investors, and the community. Increased stakeholder trust can lead to long-term loyalty and support.
Addressing Environmental Concerns: NGRBC emphasizes environmental protection and sustainable practices. By reducing their environmental footprint and implementing eco-friendly measures, companies can contribute to a cleaner and healthier planet.
Supporting Inclusive Growth: Responsible business conduct also includes considerations for labour rights and fair treatment of employees. By ensuring fair wages, safe working conditions, and equal opportunities, businesses can contribute to inclusive growth and social development.
Strengthening Corporate Governance: Adhering to NGRBC can lead to improved corporate governance practices within organizations. Transparent and accountable governance can enhance the effectiveness of decision-making processes and reduce the risk of misconduct.
Competitive Advantage: Businesses that voluntarily adopt responsible practices may gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Consumers and investors increasingly prefer companies that prioritize social and environmental responsibility, which can lead to increased customer loyalty and improved financial performance.
It plays a vital role in promoting a more sustainable and responsible business environment, contributing to the well-being of society, the environment, and the economy.
By encouraging businesses to adopt these guidelines, the Indian government aims to create a positive impact on multiple fronts and pave the way for a more responsible and sustainable future.
9 Principles of NGRBC
The nine thematic pillars of business responsibility which are called Principles, the guidelines have been articulated in the form of nine Principles with the Core Elements to actualize each of the principles.
Principle 1: Businesses should conduct and govern themselves with integrity, and in a manner that is ethical, transparent, and accountable.
Principle 2: Businesses should provide goods and services in a manner that is sustainable and safe.
Principle 3: Businesses should respect and promote the well-being of all employees, including those in their value chains.
Principle 4: Businesses should respect the interests of and be responsive to all its stakeholders.
Principle 5: Businesses should respect and promote human rights.
Principle 6: Businesses should respect and make efforts to protect and restore the environment.
Principle 7: Businesses, when engaging in influencing public and regulatory policy, should do so in a manner that is responsible and transparent.
Principle 8: Businesses should promote inclusive growth and equitable development.
Principle 9: Businesses should engage with and provide value to their consumers in a responsible manner.
Steps involved to implement NGRBC
Implementing the “National Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct” (NGRBC) by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) involves several steps that businesses can follow to incorporate responsible practices into their operations.
While the guidelines are voluntary, adopting them can demonstrate a company’s commitment to responsible conduct and sustainability.
Here are some steps to implement the NGRBC:
Familiarize Yourself with the Guidelines: First, businesses should thoroughly read and understand the NGRBC document. Familiarize yourself with the principles and recommendations outlined in the guidelines.
Assess Your Current Practices: Conduct a comprehensive assessment of your company’s current practices and policies in relation to the NGRBC principles. Identify areas where you are already aligned with the guidelines and areas where improvements are needed.
Formulate a Responsible Business Policy: Develop a written policy statement that reflects your commitment to responsible business conduct. This policy should align with the NGRBC principles and outline your company’s approach to social responsibility, sustainability, and ethical behaviour.
Engage Stakeholders: Involve your stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, investors, and local communities, in the implementation process. Seek feedback and input from them to understand their expectations and concerns.
Develop Action Plans: Create specific action plans to address the gaps identified in your assessment. These plans should detail the steps you will take to align your practices with the NGRBC principles.
Appoint Responsible Business Champions: Designate individuals or teams within your organization to be responsible for implementing and overseeing the NGRBC initiatives. These champions can drive the process and ensure its successful execution.
Training and Capacity Building: Provide training and capacity-building programs to employees and other stakeholders to raise awareness and understanding of responsible business practices and the importance of the NGRBC.
Integrate Responsible Practices: Integrate responsible business practices into your company’s core functions, including procurement, production, supply chain management, and human resources.
Reporting and Disclosure: Establish mechanisms for reporting and disclosing information on your responsible business initiatives and progress made towards implementing the NGRBC. Transparent reporting enhances accountability and builds trust with stakeholders.
Monitor and Evaluate: Continuously monitor the implementation of responsible practices and evaluate their effectiveness. Regularly review and update your action plans as needed.
Engage in Stakeholder Dialogue: Engage in ongoing dialogue with stakeholders to understand their evolving expectations and to inform them about your responsible business initiatives.
Share Best Practices: Participate in forums and networks related to responsible business conduct to share best practices and learn from other companies’ experiences.
Note : NGRBC is voluntary, and each company’s approach to implementing these guidelines may differ based on their unique circumstances and business objectives.
By adopting responsible practices, businesses can contribute positively to society, the environment, and their own long-term sustainability.
NGRBC how do they relate to BRSR reporting
The NGRBC is designed for all businesses, regardless of their ownership, size, sector, structure, or location. It comprises nine thematic pillars of business responsibility known as Principles, which are interdependent, interrelated, and non-divisible, and all businesses are urged to address them holistically.
BRSR (Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting) is a reporting format that aims to establish links between the financial results of a business with its ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) performance.
The BRSR requirements are based on the NGRBC principles, which mandate that businesses conduct and govern themselves responsibly and report on their ESG performance, The base document behind which the BRSR has evolved is the extant Business Responsibility Report (BRR) and the NGRBC principles.
The NGRBC suggests two versions for BRSR reporting – “Comprehensive” and “Lite” .The ‘Comprehensive Version’ of reporting is for listed organizations, and the ‘Lite Version’ is for unlisted companies, SEBI has mandated that BRSR will be applicable to the top 1,000 listed entities (by market capitalisation) for reporting on a voluntary basis for FY2021–22 and on a mandatory basis from FY2022–23.