MSMEs' role in Enterprise Social Responsibility

What Mandatory Regulations and Laws do Enterprises have to Comply With?

There are few regulations or authorities that monitor and control ESR activities across enterprises in India. Nevertheless, there are certain mandatory regulations and laws adhered by any enterprise in India that are related to environmental and health safety and include the following:

Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act

Provides for the prevention and control of water pollution and for setting up of ‘Boards’ to prevent and control water pollution.

Source: Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act


Air Pollution Act

Provides for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution, for establishments of Boards and assigning these Boards relevant powers and functions relating to the same.



Environment Protection Act

Provides for protection and improvement of the environment and establishment of authorities that mandate prevention of environmental pollution and tackle specific problems related to the same.

Source: Environment Protection Act


Are there Voluntary Standards that Enterprises Comply With?

Yes. There are some voluntary social compliance standards and certifications available for MSMEs that attempts to enable social responsibility across their business activities. These standards / certifications emphasize on rules of social accountability that address health, safety and fundamental rights of the enterprises, employees and other stakeholders. The main purpose of such certifications is to protect and enhance the community and the environment and fight ills like child labour, forced labour, occupational hazards and discrimination.

The market place, the media, and the public increasingly demand that imported products be produced under conditions that respect the rights and comply with labour and environmental laws, and that meet other international standards.


Can You Name Some Major Global Standards & Certification Programs for Social & Ethical Compliance?

SA 8000

It is a global social accountability standard for decent working conditions, developed and overseen by Social Accountability International (SAI). It contracts with a global accreditation agency, Social Accountability Accreditation Services (SAAS) that licenses and oversees auditing organizations to award certification to employers that comply with SA8000.

AA 1000

It provides a basis for designing, implementing, evaluating and assuring the quality of stakeholder engagement by organizations. It is developed by Accountability, a not-for-profit British organization.


Business Social Compliance Initiative is the common European platform of retailers, industry and importing companies for monitoring and improving social standards in supplier countries for all consumer goods. Audits within the BSCI can be conducted in any production facility worldwide. The type of articles covered by the BSCI varies widely – soft goods, clothing, home textiles, small appliances, toys and accessories.


Worldwide Responsible Apparel Production is a certification programme for manufacturers of apparel, footwear and accessories. WRAP is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to the certification of lawful, humane and ethical manufacturing throughout the world. WRAP apparel certification is now a requirement by most garment retailers in the U.S. A WRAP certification is widely accepted by retailers, brand managers, licensers, as evidence that your facility is socially responsible.

OHSAS 18000

It is an international occupational health and safety management system specification that was developed to cater to the health and safety obligatory needs of enterprises in an efficient manner. This specification comprises of two parts:

OHSAS 18001 that specifies assists in controlling health and safety risks
OHSAS 18002 that highlights procedures for implementation and registration

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ECS 2000

It is issued by the Business Ethics Research Project, Reitaku Center for Economic Studies, Reitaku University. Corporate ethical standards systematically specifying the development of management systems to ensure ethical practices.

ISO 26000 or ISO SR

It is a family of standards, under development, which will provide guidelines for social responsibility that will be applicable to any business regardless of its size, location or income.


Are There Similar Compliance Certification Programs for Environmental Standards?


ISO 14000

This series is a family of standards for environment management systems and the supporting audit programme that is applicable to any business or organization, regardless of size, location or income. It is developed by International Organization (ISO). Following are few indicative ISO 14000 series

  • ISO 14001 specifies a framework of control for an Environmental Management System against which an organization can be certified by a third party
  • ISO 14004 that provides guidance on the development and implementation of environmental management systems
  • ISO 14010 provides general principles of environmental auditing (now superseded by ISO 19011)
  • ISO 14011 provides specific guidance on audit an environmental management system (now superseded by ISO 19011)
  • ISO 14012 provides guidance on qualification criteria for environmental auditors and lead auditors (now superseded by ISO 19011)
  • ISO 14013/5 provides audit programme review and assessment material.
  • ISO 14020+ labelling issues
  • ISO 14030+ provides guidance on performance targets and monitoring within an Environmental Management System
  • ISO 14040+ covers life cycle issues


Are There Agencies that can Help MSMEs Through the Compliance Procedures?

Certifying and consulting agencies provide the following services

  • Training across all designations, suppliers, distributors, etc
  • Implementation through gap identification, documentation, deployment and verification
  • Auditing, certification and surveillance

Some popular agencies include:

ALGI Certification Pvt Ltd

The company focuses on social environmental and security responsibility and accordingly involved in providing services such as:

  • Social compliance certifications such as SA 8000
  • Providing information that describes audits and certification processes for granting, maintaining, extending, renewing, reducing, suspending or withdrawing certification and about the certification activities, types of management systems and geographical areas in which it operates

ALGI has developed partnerships with trade and professional organizations such as the Fair Labour Association (FLA), Worldwide Responsible Apparel Production (WRAP), Social Accountability International (SAI) and Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI).


DAS Certification India Pvt Ltd

The company is accredited to United Kingdom Accreditation Services (UKAS) for certifications under the schemes of Quality Management System, Environmental Management System and Information Security Management System. The company also provides audit services for OHSAS 18001:2007, I SO 22000:2005– FSMS and HACCP and has a Regional Office in Chennai.


Quantum Systems

The company provides consultancy for ISO 9001 (2008 version), ISO 14000, ISO 18000 for BSCI, ETI based code of conduct audit. Accordingly, the company consists of experienced counselors with expertise in developing and implementing simple and effective Quality / Environmental Management Systems, would be in a position to provide you the right kind of guidance in your QMS (ISO 9000)/ EMS(ISO 14000)/ SMS (ISM Code) implementation efforts.