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Corporate Social Responsibility within the Dynamics of Aviation Industry – with Special Reference to India

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Document pages: 23 pages

Abstract: Airlines sacks 1900 Employees!! Aviation Industry suspected of Cartelization!! Noise causes problem to the dwellers near airports!! In the year 2008, the Airlines sector was in news for all bad reasons. However, another side of the coin is brighter in the form of low-cost airline service providers entering the market, Indian Airlines receiving the GETW Awards Special Category for its CSR initiatives. Whether providing low-cost airlines service is CSR? CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility has become the buzzword for corporate sector. Often CEOs of the companies use this abbreviation in their speech to speak about their companies’ social concerns. Whether aviation industry has sufficiently addressed on CSR is a question searching its answers. Second half of this paper finds out the CSR initiatives taken by the prominent Indian and foreign airlines players. CSR is no longer only associated with the philanthropic functions of a company; rather it has acquired an ingrained status in the corporate culture. CSR has become a barometer to test the permeation of a company into society. Society, now, to an extent judges a company on the basis of its ‘CSR Quotient’. CSR now is turning to Corporate ‘Strategic’ Responsibility, where a corporate does a strategic investment in its CSR initiatives. No longer has it remained a voluntary exercise; and at times even is pressurized by various stakeholders. However, CSR in the aviation sector has not seen that strategic level of investment compared to steel industry or a consumer product company. At times it is ‘just pious words with little or no action.’ CSR by companies is demonstrated by various means, opening hospitals, schools, devising environmental protection programs, or even funding some charity. There is no coherence in the investment made by companies in CSR. Same applies to the aviation industry. The present paper makes an humble attempt to suggest that CSR investment should be strategic keeping into mind the sector in which the company is operating, for e.g. in the aviation sector, investment could be on environmental programs in developing fuel efficiency, controlling emission, controlling noise pollution, expenses on training and development of infrastructure. There would be a suggestion to draft model guidelines by IATA or ICAO about voluntary CSR investments, which would suggest the investment objectives and provision for incentives in the form of awards recognition. There are two prominent views about CSR; one is the positive one which supports it and even extends to develop a more wider concept of ‘Creative Capitalism’ whereas the other view treats CSR as one of the tools to decrease shareholders value, a model just to have publicity or a public relations tool, and at its worst a model of ‘greenwashing’ or ‘bluewashing’ to hide illegalities of a company. Initial pages of the paper take a brief inroad into these discussions while discussing the concept of CSR.

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