Corporate Social Responsibility on Green Initiatives

A Case Study of Bhilai Steel Plant

A Research Article on

Corporate Social Responsibility on Green Initiatives

A Case Study of Bhilai Steel Plant



Every country should embrace the remarkable concept of individuals and businesses forming a partnership to support social causes. In the context of India, such a partnership has enormous potential for strengthening society. Corporate social responsibility and volunteerism have no boundaries and are not constrained by race, color, or religion. More and more companies are accepting corporate citizenship as a new strategic and managerial purpose requiring their attention. Once seen as a purely charitable activity–a source of general goodwill, with no bottom-line consequence–citizenship is moving from the margins of concern to the center at leading companies. Harmony between man and environment is the essence of healthy life and growth. Therefore, maintenance of ecological balance and a pristine environment has been of utmost importance to BSP. Environment protection continues to be a key area of activity in BSP along with growth in generation of power. The objective of this paper is to understand the importance of green initiatives and activities taken-up by PSUs like BSP as a part of CSR. The goodwill firms can generate from acts of social responsibility may, in fact, be worth far more to the businesses than the amounts they give. Corporations collectively can make India a better place for every citizen.

Key Words:
CSR, Green Initiative, PSU, HRM, Environment, SAIL



In recent years, interest in socially responsible investing has grown around the world. In the corporate world, corporate social responsibility is increasingly accepted as creating a positive impact on performance. CSR is essentially a concept whereby companies decide voluntarily to contribute to a better society and a cleaner environment (European Commission, 2001). There is increasing evidence to suggest that corporations need to explore innovative ways of doing business so that all the stakeholders are able to participate; when differences are value, policies are inclusive and the impact on society is positive. There are no indicators of measurement to help evaluate the CSR initiatives but increasingly the companies are building an integrated model that is in alignment with the business processes and functions.

India is moving from corporate philanthropy to the stakeholder’s model. By and large Indian companies have a long way to go in imbibing CSR as a business strategy. Corporate philanthropy is only a part of CSR. The perception of CSR among the Indian corporations is that of ethical conduct including compliance and transparency of business and nation building (UNDP, British Council, CII, PwC, 2002).

In India, the increase in domestic environmental legislation in the 1990s followed from the commitments made in the international environmental initiatives. The environmental acts and notifications in the 1970s and 1980s covered intrinsically domestic pollution problems, especially those of air and water. In contrast, the domestic initiatives and legislation of the1990s cover aspects of sustainable development and global environmental concerns as well as the depletion of the ozone layer, loss of bio-diversity, patenting of biological resources etc.

SAIL has taken great initiative to assume Corporate Responsibility for Environmental Protection (CREP).


2. About Bhilai Steel Plant :

The Precursor SAIL traces its origin to the formative years of an emerging nation – India, after independence the builders of modern India worked with a vision – to lay the infrastructure for rapid industrialization of the country. The steel sector was to propel the economic growth. Hindustan Steel Private Ltd. was set up on January 19, 1954. The President of India held the shares of the company on behalf of the people of India.

Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP) is India’s sole producer of rails and heavy steel plates and major producer of structural. The plant is the sole supplier of the country’s longest rail tracks of 260 meters. With an annual production capacity of 3.153 MT of saleable steel, the plant also specializes in other products such as wire rods and merchant products. Since BSP is accredited with ISO 9001:2000 Quality Management System Standard, all saleable products of Bhilai Steel Plant come under the ISO umbrella.

At Bhilai IS0:14001 have been awarded for Environment Management System in the Plant, Township and Dalli Mines. It is the only steel plant to get certification in all these areas. The Plant is accredited with SA: 8000 certification for social accountability and the OHSAS-18001 certification for Occupational health and safety. These internationally recognized certifications add value to Bhilai’s products and helps create a place among the best organizations in the steel industry

Beginning as a frontier town planted in the broad plains of erstwhile Madhya Pradesh in the late fifties by the Government of India, Bhilai is now a booming and bustling cosmopolitan town on the move and the premier industrial centre of Chhattisgarh with the Bhilai Steel Plant as its hub. Bhilai is today the nerve centre of nearly all enterprise and activity in the region – economic, social and cultural, education & sports. Bhilai continues with the broad philosophy of making the best use of its assets of production at its command while ensuring the best possible life for its employees, their families and the community at large.

Spread over 9103 acres, the steel township has more than 35,954 quarters in 16 sectors. Each sector is self-sufficient with schools, health centre and shopping complex. 535 kilometers of well-maintained wide carpeted roads and lush green surroundings are its distinguished features.

The 48-odd schools run by BSP including those in the mines have over 30,500 students and a teaching staff of around 854. The result is a competitive and conducive environment in which scores of wards of employees get into professional colleges and institutions of the country every year.


3. Corporate Social Responsibility: What does it mean?

Today, there are many references to corporate social responsibility (CSR), sometimes referred to as corporate citizenship, in our workplaces, in the media, in the government, in our communities. While there is no agreed-upon definition, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development defines CSR as the business commitment and contribution to the quality of life of employees, their families and the local community and society overall to support sustainable economic development. Simply put, the business case for CSR–establishing a positive company reputation and brand in the public eye through good work that yields a competitive edge while at the same time contributing to others–demands that organizations shift from solely focusing on making a profit to including financial, environmental and social responsibility in their core business strategies. Despite what the phrase corporate social responsibility suggests, the concept is not restricted to corporations but rather is intended for most types of organizations, such as associations, labor unions, organizations that serve the community for scientific, educational, artistic, public health or charitable purposes, and governmental agencies.


3.1 How CSR help the companies?

Globalization, the explosion of information technology, advances in the biological sciences, and the growth of democracy and diversity can be considered among the positive developments in our world today. On the other hand, poverty, environmental crises such as global warming, epidemics such as AIDS, and terrorism are also part of today’s world. What do these positive and negative aspects have in common? They reflect the breathtaking increase in global interdependence, to the extent that borders don’t count for much anymore and local communities are increasingly affected by things that happen a long way from home.Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been proposed as a way to respond to some of these issues, both locally and globally. According to “Integrating Responsibility,” most companies that have initiated CSR programs have done so in response to one problem or another; for example, in the thermal pwer station, it was environmental issues. CSR programs have also surfaced in the sourcing departments of companies facing supply chain issues.

CSR is built on four key points:

  • Reputation : Building trust in a company is a long, uphill battle, but losing it can have dramatic effects on share prices and customer loyalty.
  • Retention and recruitment : Employees want to work for responsible companies that care about their employees and contribute to society.
  • Operational efficiency : CSR can improve the bottom line by using materials efficiently and minimizing waste.
  • Increased sales : Cause-related marketing, ethical and environmentally conscious labels, and new product innovation can influence the top line.

Every business has an impact on the communities in which it operates, and the business depends on a basic set of social conditions–an educated workforce, available natural resources, health care, good government–in order to operate and compete. Communities also depend on business. The economic and social welfare of the population is dependent on having companies that can sustain the local economy. Every company draws on different resources and produces different effects in different locations. CSR practices and philanthropy must address these specific interactions between a business and the social conditions in which it operates:

  • Generic social issues : which neither significantly affect nor are significantly affected by the business.
  • Value chain impact :the consequences of a company’s operating activities, good or bad.
  • Competitive context: those aspects of the social environment that constrain the productivity of the business in its operating location. Schools, for example, may affect the competitiveness of companies that depend on a local workforce, even if the companies’ activities do not have a direct impact on the schools.

To be an effective and socially responsible business, companies need to move beyond generalized concepts of good citizenship. The benefits of CSR to businesses vary depending on the nature of the enterprise, and are typically very difficult to quantify. A major meta-analysis has been conducted seeking to draw a correlation between social/environmental performance and financial performance.

It should be noted that the definition of CSR used within business can vary from the strict ‘stakeholder impacts’ definition and will often include charitable efforts and volunteering.

The business case for CSR within a company will likely rest on one or more of these arguments:

Human Resources
Corporate Social Responsibility can be an important aid to recruitment and retention, particularly within the competitive graduate market. Potential recruits are increasingly likely to ask about a firm’s CSR policy during an interview and having a comprehensive policy can give an advantage. CSR can also help to build a ‘feel good’ atmosphere among exisiting staff, particularly when they can become involved through payroll giving, fundraising activities or community volunteering.

Risk Management
Managing risk is a central part of many corporate strategies. Reputations that take decades to build up can be ruined in hours through incidents such as corruption scandals or environmental accidents. These events can also draw unwanted attention from regulators, courts, governments and media. Building a genuine culture of ‘doing the right thing’ within a corporation can offset these risks.

Brand Differentiation
In crowded marketplaces companies strive for ‘X Factors’ which can separate them from the competition in the minds of consumers. Several major brands, such as The Co-operative Group and The Body Shop are built on ethical values. Business service organizations can benefit too from building a reputation for integrity and best practice.

License to operate
Corporations are keen to avoid interference in their business through taxation or regulations. By taking substantive voluntary steps they can persuade governments and the wider public that they are taking current issues like health, safety, diversity or the environment seriously and so avoid intervention. This also applies to firms seeking to justify eye-catching profits and high levels of boardroom pay. Those operating away from their home country can make sure they stay welcome by being good corporate citizens with respect to labour standards and impacts on the environment.

Diverting Attention
Major corporations which have existing reputational problems due to their core business activities may engage in high-profile CSR programmes to draw attention away from their perceived negative impacts.


3.2 The business case for CSR

At BSP, the Plant took up the task of development work in its periphery very seriously and with great zeal, concentrating on developing rural infrastructure, literacy programmes and community health programmes.

The ambit of development work being carried so far by the Plant through its Peripheral Development Programme has now been expanded to include areas beyond the radius of 16 kilometers around Bhilai. The range of development work includes installation of hand pumps, construction of wells, school buildings, bridges and approach roads and organizing Health and Veterinary camps. An average of 21 free health camps is being organized in the peripheral villages every month. Special eye camps followed by cataract surgery with free intraocular lens transplantation and post-operative care are organized regularly.

Creation of Model Steel Villages:
Twenty one villages in the periphery of Bhilai have been identified for adoption as model steel villages where the Plant’s CSR Department is engaging in a number of sustainable activities such as empowering the rural folk, specially the women under the Swyamsiddha or self-employment project, providing basic infrastructure facilities development as well as activities aimed at providing school children opportunities to express their talent.

Providing Free Education & Treatment:
In 2007, the Plant established Bhilai Ispat Vikas Vidyalaya and Ispat Kalyan Chikitsalaya for the benefit of the economically backward section of society in the township and its periphery.

The Plant has also adopted over 100 tribal children, providing free residential education, accommodation and meals. The mega-sports event that Bhilai has been organizing in Narayanpur for Adivasi school-children for three consecutive years since 2006 attracts more than 1500 students from schools in remote areas of Bastar every year. Bhilai has also adopted four girls from Aboojhmar area of Bastar for their education in Bhilai Nursing College.

Sports & Culture:
Bhilai throbs with sports and cultural activities all year round. With six stadia, National Handball Academy, SAIL Athletics Academy and other sports infrastructure and coaching facilities that would be the envy of any city, Bhilai has produced sportsmen and women by the dozen. The annual Chhattisgarh Lok Kala Mahotsav that Bhilai has been organizing for 32 years remains the piece-de-resistance of our cultural scene providing an ideal launching pad for many lesser-known folk artists to achieve national and international fame.

When the steel men with their families take time off from the rigours of steel-making, Maitri Bagh offers a perfect setting for recreation. The country’s biggest musical fountain adds to the beauty of Maitri Bagh that already boasts of well-laid lush lawns, biggest zoo in the region, boating in artificial lake, toy train and Pragati Minar offering a panoramic view of the steel plant and surroundings. Karmanya Vatika at Civic Centre is the latest attraction.


The Green initiative:

Green Initiative is a program that works to create a culture of environmental responsibility. The a forestation activities of the industrial region not only serve as foreground and background landscape features but also contribute to the overall improvement in the environment. The crucial need for conservation and restoration of the degraded ecosystem and preservation of genetic resources of the country led to the enactment of the “Wild Life Protection Act” (1974) and “Forest Act” (1980) in addition to legal Acts of Air, Water and Environment.

Maintenance of ecological balance and pristine environment therefore, has been of utmost importance at NTPC. Environment planning and preservation is an integral part of its project activities. NTPC undertakes a forestation program covering vast tracts of land in and around its projects in a concerted bid to counter growing ecological threat.

Going green means many things to different individuals as well as to different business enterprises. Corporate may wish to reduce energy use or support the use of alternative energy sources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and global warming or do what they can to minimize the environmental impact in your own region. Perhaps their motivating factors are primarily business-based, including cutting operating costs, enhancing employee health and productivity, enhancing their business reputation or reducing the risk of running afoul of environmental regulations.

Organizational Structure at BSP to support green initiative:

BSP’s Environment Management Department is equipped with modern Environmental Laboratory and a strong team of 30 personnel for monitoring and assessing the environmental quality in and around the plant for complying with the statutory requirements and improving the environmental performance under the guidance of AGM-Environment & Lease and DGM Environment Management.

ANM Consultants inspa
Environmental Legislations and Evidence of Compliance:

There have been provisions at Bhilai Steel Plant to follow the Environmental legislations and establishing compliance:

Name of Law/ Regulation/ Legislation Year Status of Compliance Prevailing
The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution Act & Rules)
1974 (Amended up to 1988) and Rules 1975
Measurement and analysis of effluent water, Operation and maintenance of ETP, Water consent
The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act & Rules
1977 (Amended Act 2003) and Rules 1978
Payment to Statutory Authorities
The Air (Pollution, Prevention & Control) Act & Rules
1981 (Amended in 1987) and Rules 1982
Stack emission monitoring Work area environment & Ambient Air quality, O&M of PC equipment, air consent
The Environment (Protection) Act
1986 (Amended in 1991) and Rules 1986 (amended up to 2003)
Recycling/rescue of water, solid waste, disposal, Reduction of specific raw material consumption, Water & Energy Conservation
The Hazardous Waste (Management & Handling) Rules
1989 (Amended up to 2003)
Compliance as per HW rules 2003
Manufacture, Storage & Import of Hazardous Chemicals rules
1989 and Amendment Rules 1994 &2000
Safety Audits, MSDS Disaster management plan & mock drills
The Public Liability Insurance Act & Rules
1991 (Amendment-1992) & Rules, 1992 (Amendment-1993)
Composite insurance by SAIL
The Noise Pollution (Regulation & Control) Rules
2000 (Amendment Rules 2002)
Noise monitoring & Control of Noise Pollution.
Compliance Reporting for above mentioned legislations
Submission of Environment Compliance report & finding of returns & Assessments
Ozone Depleting Substances Rules
Complied. Filing of returns.
The Battery (Management Handling) Rules Notification of Flash utilization
Complied. Filing of returns.
Environment Impact Assessment Notification
Notification of Flashy utilization
Amended up to 2003
Compiled. Submission of Annual Report.
Bio-medical wastes (Management & Handling) Rules, Gas Cylinder Rules
Gas Cylinder Rules
Amended up to 1993
Factories Act
1948 amended in 1989


Land Usage:

BSP does not fall in protected and sensitive area. Areas of operations do not have any World Heritage sites or Biosphere reserves/Protected Area. The Environmental impact Assessment studies conducted for all the units have revealed that, no reportable changes to natural habitants have occurred from the company’s products, services and activities.

Out of the land under BSP, 1100 Hectare is used for Water reservoir.

Units Revenue area in Hectares Forest area in Lease in Hectares Non-forest area in Lease in Hectares
Bhilai Steel Plant (Works)
Bhilai Township


New Generation Products:

The iron and steel industry can contribute to energy conservation and reduction of Carbon dioxide emission on the part of users by improving the quality, properties and application of steel products in addition to energy-saving in the manufacturing processes. BSP is contributing to energy conservation by developing high-performance steel products, which reduce both material consumption in the manufacturing process and finished product weight.

BSP’s eco-friendly products create value to customers and also help in reducing the GHG emission during use stage by lower steel needs with high strength, high temperature resistance, fuel saving during light weight plates etc. Other initiatives are:

  • Use of ultra-high-strength steel (UHSS) reduces the need for heavy load bearing beams save energy and green house gas emissions.
  • Compared to concrete, steel intensive buildings have less impact on the environment during on the site work.
  • The double hull large vessel made from a new generation high strength and lighter steel plates increase fuel efficiency.
  • Steel is the main material used in wind turbines. 3.0 megawatt wind turbine generate 2, 80,000 MW in 20 years resulting in saving of about 2, 30,000 Tons of CO2.

The manufacturing of the eco-friendly high functionality steel material resulted in savings of 1.5 Million Tons/ year of GHG emission during its use.


Other Green initiatives at BSP:
  • BSP supplied 6289T of Steel plates to M/S Suzlon BSP for wind mill projects.
  • From the existing Karanj trees in plant and township, seed were collected and 100 liters of bio-diesel produced and used in plant vehicles.
  • 18000 Jatropha saplings planted in 2007-08 and Plantation of 30, 000 Jatropha saplings planned in 2008-09.
  • Replacement of 472 old Air-conditioners by energy efficient Air-conditioners.
  • Replacement of HPMV/HPSV by energy efficient FLT for street lights, works building in 2008-09.
  • 400 MW mercury lamps have been replaced by 250 MW sodium vapor lamps inside the factory premises.
  • To increase natural lighting during day time, 16.5% of the roof sheeting has been made of transparent sheet in one major shop.

The top management of Bhilai Steel Plant gives prime importance to environment management and green initiatives. BSP, as a responsible corporate citizen is fully committed to safeguard, maintain and improve the quality of the environment and protecting human health. BSP is contributing to reduction of 45 million tons of carbon dioxide considering 30 years service life of its new generation products. BSP has also adopted various environmental protection measures through natural resources conservation, pollution control systems implementation and waste minimization, recycling and reuse strategies. These efforts have resulted in minimizing the adverse impacts on the environment and health of employees and people inhabiting the surroundings. BSP is the first public sector company in India to have published this report and second steel plant in world to publish sustainability report as per GRI G3 guidelines. As a symbol of a “New Age” in India, Bhilai Steel Plant has been consistently performing on various grounds including CSR and green initiatives, despite several odds and has achieved profit for the twenty first consecutive years. Their journey is marked by indomitable Bhilai spirit which enabled organization to scale newer heights every year.

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Nishant Saxena (HR Consultant)
Dr. J. H. Vyas (Professor)