Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries (RIL) is the sole Indian firm to get a perfect score in a list of Asia's best companies in terms of corporate social responsibility (CSR), which also identified Tata Motors as among the laggards on this front.
In a report titled 'Ethical Asia' by global research firm CLSA, RIL, Australian airline Cathay Pacific and Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi UFG have been named as the companies maintaining the highest CSR standards in the region. They have been termed the region's 'corporate good guys'.
In the same report, two other Indian companies - Tata Motors and ITC - have been named among the six companies that need to make a significant improvement in terms of CSR disclosure.
The other companies in the league of laggards include China Merchants Bank, Dongfang Electric, SK Energy and Telkom Indonesia, CLSA said.
The companies were identified from among the 50 largest entities in Asia, CLSA said, adding, it found many of them did not have a strong culture of disclosure and transparency.
"Of the 50 companies we analyse for this report, Cathay Pacific Airways, Mitsubishi UFG and RIL display the highest CSR standards. Meanwhile, China Merchants Bank, Dongfang Electric, ITC, SK Energy, Tata Motors and Telkom Indonesia need to significantly improve their disclosure," it added.
CLSA ranked the companies on a scale of one-to-five for their CSR standards and found RIL, Cathay Pacific and Mitsubishi UFG as the only three companies to get the highest score of five.
Naming RIL among its top picks, CLSA said it was an Indian energy company that "provides very good data and goes well beyond required disclosure."
Terming ITC as among the companies with the 'most room to improve', CLSA said the "Indian consumer company only provides an online version of its CSR report and self-declared it as an A+ report, when there is clearly a lack of information and data to come close to that grade."
CLSA further said most of the companies that scored the lowest score of 'one' on the list were headquartered in China and India. Among the other Indian companies on the list, Infosys, Larsen & Toubro and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) were given a score of four each, while Sterlite Industries scored three.
CLSA said while ITC's CSR activities were hyped by "talking loud", Tata Motors had run into "bumps in the road". In sharp contrast, RIL was "always reliable" when it came to giving back to the people.
The ranking was based on how well the CSR reporting by the companies depicted the five criteria of environmental impact, social impact, corporate governance, transparency and level of detail.