Corporate Culture & Spirituality India 2013 Conference
8 – 9 February 2013, Bangalore, India

Impressions from the conference

Corporate Culture & Spirituality (CCS) India 2013 was held in Bangalore, India on February 8-9, 2013. CCS is an annual event where leaders from business, governance, academia, civil society and faith-based organisations come together to engage in dialogue, network and explore business potentials, and discover the benefits of emerging paradigms in leadership. It provides a platform to share experiences and expertise on the value of an ethics based approach, the impact of this approach on the bottom line and to enable business leaders to understand the integration of spiritual values in business practices.

CCS India 2013 was hosted by the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FKCCI) and The Art of Living in association with the World Forum for Ethics in Business (WFEB). Representing WFEB were Mr Jo Leinen, Member of European Parliament, Germany, and Board Member of the WFEB, as well as Mr Nirj Deva, Member of European Parliament, UK, ar, WFEB. Ms Rajita Kulkarni, President, WFEB, was also present at the event. Attended by around 700 business heads, global leaders and parliamentarians, the conference emphasized on the role of spirituality and ethics in business.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, co-founder of the World Forum for Ethics in Business, set the tone for the conference, saying “Just as you need both scissors and a needle to make a garment, business and spirituality go hand in hand. One cuts and the other joins, and both have an important role to make the garment. In spirituality, we tap into the world of intuition, which is an important aspect of success in business.”

The keynote speaker, Mr K.V. Kamath, Chairman ICICI Bank said that “An organization’s DNA is its culture and one needs to fine tune it in a holistic manner”.
Mr Jo Leinen felt that “The need of the hour is to have a common, consensual set of values, principles and standards. Shareholder value must go hand-in-hand with stakeholder value and benefits to society at large.”

Mr Nirj Deva said that “An effective framework can be created to encourage trust-based capitalism.’’ Adding that people have exploited not only the market but also the environment, he said that the time has come to take up responsibility and create a legacy for the future generation. The key themes of the conference and deliberations of the same are listed below.

Impact on Sustainable Growth through Ethical Practices
Mr Mahesh Gupta, Chairman Kent Ro stated that “There is no choice between spirituality and sustainability: both can coexist. Spirituality drives honesty, caring, and sharing that can take a business to new heights. Taking care of the employees increases productivity, and if the customer is well cared for, business is bound to flourish.”

The Law of Attracting Abundance
Mr Harish Bhat, MD, TATA Global Beverages stressed the importance of purposefulness. He quoted the example of the TATA Group’s successful endeavour to build an indigenous car which was based on perseverance and purposefulness.

A successful organisation needs to give its employees money, knowledge and power in the view of Mr Kishore Biyani, CEO Future Group.

Corporate Social Responsibility – Boon or Bane
Prof Maya V Chakravarti, Director, Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication said that “Trust is the breath of business,” adding that honesty and trust are essential for technology and innovation. Her view was that the concept of CSR is sharing and caring.

Mr R.N.Nayak, Chairman & MD, Power Grid Corporation of India shared that “Corporates have a role in wealth creation. It’s important for us to envision long term sustainability. Apart from the shareholders of a business, other stakeholders in society also need to be nurtured.”

Inspiration and Implementation
Mr N.T. Arun Kumar, MD, UBS Group Operations was of the view that “Sustainable Inspirational leadership comes from being a servant-leader, being able to get down and talk the language of the person lowest on the workforce chain. A servant-leader nurtures the principle of service orientation by cultivating an environment where people can give.”

Mr Binod Chaudhary, President Chaudhary Group, Nepal said “Any organization that fails to command respect both within and externally will not be able to inspire its stakeholders or its employees.”

Mr Jan Creemers, Mayor, Maseik, Europe outlined that “Spirituality is essential for business ethics and leadership in business. Both concepts strive for a search of meaning in daily life and enterprise. Both people and organizations are searching for purpose and confidence in future.” He added that spirituality applied to business is inspirational leadership.