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In keeping with the paradigm shift in its approach to disaster management and the recurring phenomenon of natural disasters impacting all sectors of socio-economic life, including the corporate sector and inflicting heavy economic losses, focused attention has been given to risk mitigation endeavours to systematically reduce the vulnerabilities. The new approach stems from the premise that development in any sector, more so in the corporate world, cannot be sustainable and viable unless risk reduction and mitigation measures are built into the development processes and that investments in mitigation are much more cost-effective than expenditure on relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction. Recognizing the gargantuan proportions of the challenge posed by recurring incidence of natural catastrophes, association and involvement of corporate sector and their representative nodal organizations for initiating disaster risk management measures has been considered as integral to success of disaster management initiatives.

The Corporate Sector plays a very crucial role in disaster risk reduction. Corporate, with activities spread across various regions are emerging as one of the key players in this aspect. The corporate sectors therefore make a huge impact on the economy and society they operate in. They in turn get affected by the events unfolding in the community they operate in. They bear the brunt of disasters in terms of assets, manpower, loss of production, etc. Very often, delayed restoration and reconstruction of vital infrastructure also results in production hurdles.

The corporates in every country have always played a major role in post-disaster relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in the affected regions. The industrial and corporate organizations have been in the forefront of providing much-needed succour to the affected populace for ameliorating their sufferings.

The corporate sector possesses huge resources-human, material, technical and financial and has significant presence in every region in the country. It also works and interacts with the community very closely and has an important stake in the well-being and prosperity of the community as its own progress and viability is largely dependent upon a resilient and safe community. The accountability of the corporate sector in terms of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has also increased as the value and reputation of a company is being increasingly adjusted by its social behaviour and by its contribution to the economic well-being and development of the communities in which it operates.

As part of their corporate social responsibility, the companies are encouraged to conduct The corporate sector is an integral part of the society. As a member of the community, it is its responsibility to contribute to sustainable development and to integrate social and environmental concerns in its business operations as well as in its interaction with other stakeholders. It can play a leading role in supporting and building the knowledge, capacity and skills of the community in comprehensive risk-based disaster management activities ranging from prevention, mitigation and preparedness to response and recovery. It can offer human and financial resources and can also be a precious source of technical know-how, as for example in the case of identification and research on technological solutions to prepare for and respond to natural disasters.

In addition, the recovery of the community cannot be complete if the business community itself is seriously affected as disasters can have serious negative fall-out on the corporate sector. For them to acquire capacity in disaster risk management would also entail protection of their employees and dependents.

Corporate sectors cooperation in reducing people’s vulnerabilities to natural disasters would also help it in protecting its market catchment areas. In the aftermath of a catastrophe, the resources of the community are more likely to be utilized in protecting and rebuilding livelihoods rather in acquiring goods and services offered by the corporate sector. Thus, their involvement in minimizing the impact of a natural event or in facilitating speedy and sustainable recovery should be viewed as a form of investment in protecting and securing its own “sources of livelihood”.

As an inalienable part of its CSR, the corporate sector can play an essential role in leading and supporting the community in comprehensive risk management activities and in mobilizing human and financial resources as well as materials for utilization during a disaster situation. In addition to this, the corporate sector can be a precious source of technical knowledge, as foe example in the case of identification and research on technological solutions to prepare for and respond to natural disasters.

On the whole, corporate sector has the potential for strengthening and promoting its own safety and protection against natural catastrophes as well as in assisting the community at large in reducing its vulnerability to disasters.

Sources: Disaster Risk Reduction for Safe Development. Macmillan Publishers.
Disaster Management and role of Corporate Sector, Ministry of Home affairs, Government of India
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