Current Events: Business & Economy
World's 100 most accountable firms: No Indian company makes the cut
Two companies lead by persons of Indian origin are in the Fortune magazine list
Indian billionaires may be standing head and shoulders with those in global rich lists, but
when it comes to the world's 100 most accountable firms in terms of their commitment to the
society and environment, not a single entity from the country has managed to make the cut.
However, there are two companies led by persons of Indian origin — steel tycoon Lakshmi
Mittal-run ArcelorMittal and Vikram Pandit led Citigroup — that have been included in the
annual global list published by US business magazine Fortune.
The list has been topped by British telecom major Vodafone, which is present in India
through a joint venture with Ruias-led Essar group.
Vodafone, which has moved to the top from its fifth position last year, is followed by
American diversified conglomerate General Electric, British financial services giant HSBC
Holdings (3rd), French telecom firm France Telecom (4th) and UK banking major HBOS in
the top five.
British Petroleum, which topped the list in 2007, has slipped to the ninth position in this
year's list. Others in the top 10 include Finnish phone maker Nokia (6th), Electricite de
France (7th), Suez (8th) and Royal Dutch Shell (10th).
Fortune partnered with AccountAbility, Csrnetwork and Asset4 to rank the companies in the
list 'by the quality of their commitment to social and environmental goals'.
Pandit-led Citi has jumped 15 places to the 17th rank in the accountability ranking, while
ArcelorMittal is now placed at the 73rd position, making significant improvement from last
year's 96th rank.
The 100 most accountable companies are selected from among those included in the Fortune
Global 500 list, which ranks the companies on the basis of annual turnover. The
accountability rating is mainly based on four parameters — strategic intent, governance and
management systems, engagement and operational performance.
Strategic intent focusses on whether the business strategy is designed with a consideration of
relevant social and environmental trends and impacts.
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Governance and management systems examines whether senior executives and the advisory
board consider stakeholders' issues when making strategy and formulating corporate policy.
Engagement analyses whether the company engaged in dialogue with people who have an
interest, on account of being affected by, or can affect its business.
Operational performance is based on whether the company is managing its most important
social and environmental impacts.
On Vodafone, the report said that it "reclaimed the top spot in 2008 (it ranked No 5 last year
and No 1 in 2006) by upping its green game. Vodafone in April said it would chop half of its
carbon dioxide emissions by 2020..."
Noting that the company also gets good grades for reporting the details of the campaign —
and whether or not it's going well — on a continuous basis, the magazine said such
transparency apparently is part of the Vodafone culture.
First pan-Indian luxury train
Other luxury trains operating currently are region specific
The first Indian luxury train to have a pan-country presence will commence operations from
third quarter of 2009. The train is part of a joint venture agreement between Indian Railways
Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and Cox and Kings India (CKIL). The cost of
the project will be around Rs 45-50 crore with both parties sharing the amount equally. The
joint venture will operate on profit sharing basis.
The train will be managed and operated under a joint venture company called Royale Indian
Rail Tours Ltd, for which the agreement was signed by IRCTC and CKIL Managing
Directors, Nalin Singhal and Peter Kerkar, respectively.
There will be two specially designed itineraries for the train. The first is the Princely India
Tour, which is a seven-night itinerary that follows the Mumbai-Ahmedabad-Udaipur-
Jodhpur-Jaisalmer-Jaipur-Delhi route. The second is the Classical India tour, which is also a
seven-night itinerary through Delhi-Agra-Gwalior-Khajuraho-Varanasi and Patna.
India currently has three luxury trains: Palace on Wheels in Rajasthan, Deccan Queen in
Maharashtra and Golden Chariot in Karnataka. However, all are region-specific and operated
by the State governments.
The fares for this train journey are not yet finalised. It costs about Rs 14,700 ($300) per night
for travel on existing Indian luxury trains.
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The new train could cost excess of Rs 24,500 ($500) per night.
IRCTC will operate the train, while CKIL will be responsible for marketing and all off-board
Maruti reveals fuel efficiency of all its brands
All automakers will make such disclosures by March 31
India's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki has revealed the fuel efficiency of all its 12 brands of
cars, multi-utility vehicles (MUV) and sports utility vehicles (SUV) sold in the country as
part of the voluntary labelling programme for vehicle mileage spearheaded by the Society of
Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). While the popular selling Maruti 800 delivers
16.1 km to a litre, its 5th world strategic model A Star notches 19 km/ litre. While the Swift
diesel achieves an impressive 21 km, the petrol variant runs for 16 kms.
Similar mileage efficiency has been informally disclosed by Hyundai for its bestselling "i10"
models that sport the new-age Kappa engine.
These mileage disclosures for the Maruti vehicles have been tested and certified by
accredited automobile testing bodies in the country such as Automotive Research Association
of India at Pune, Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (VRDE) at Ahmednagar
and International Centre of Automotive Technology (ICAT) located at Manesar.
From January 1, automobile majors in the country will voluntarily disclose mileage obtained
from each of the new passenger vehicles they sell. This is part of a broader initiative by
SIAM to educate customers on fuel conservation and its implications on the environment.
The mileage disclosures will have to be completed by March 31.
The fuel efficiency disclosures will first be limited to two-wheeler and passenger vehicle
manufacturers. The aim of the labelling programme is to ensure that the customer does not
have to rely on word-of-mouth testimonials on the mileage of a particular brand of car or
motorcycle he buys.
Estee restraints Gufic from using 'Cliniq' trademark
Estee Lauder prepared to let Gufic use Clinic
The $8-billion American cosmetics company Estee Lauder has won an interim injunction
from Delhi High Court (HC), preventing Mumbai-based Gufic Biosciences from selling skin
care consumer products under the latter's 'Cliniq' brands. The HC said that Gufic should not
use the word 'Cliniq' or any other mark deceptively similar to 'Clinique'.
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