The research work has investigated the CSR practices of the Top 500 companies listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange in India. Since it is mandatory for the companies falling under a certain threshold to invest two per cent of their average net profit towards CSR, the research in this field becomes even more valuable as this is a milestone amendment and will certainly bring change is the orientation of companies towards CSR. The primary focus of this research was to evaluate the implementation of Section 135 and Schedule VII of the Companies Act 2013 by the top 500 BSE companies and their alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals. The first objective brings out the fact that critical areas concerning the SDG goals have been neglected by the corporate sector (as far as CSR investments are concerned). It has been found that more CSR investments need to be drawn towards climate Change, Biodiversity, Sustainable Consumption and Production, Marine Life and Conservation of Flora & Fauna. The sectoral analysis reveals that the companies falling under sectors that have a higher environmental footprint and impact are more concerned about taking up initiatives through CSR. The geographic analysis reveals that efforts need to be made to increase CSR expenditure in the seven north‐eastern states, Jammu and Kashmir, and the Union Territories. The second objective of the study examined the managerial perception regarding the orientation of the BSE top 500 companies (both internal and external) towards CSR. Through this objective, it is found that the selected Indian companies are positively inclined towards CSR both internally and externally. The internal orientation of Indian companies towards CSR shows that the companies are strategically aligned towards CSR and the external orientation shows that they perform CSR activities keeping in view the customers and the mandate in place. The third objective of the study is to determine the impact of CSR on Corporate Financial Performance, which turns out to be positive. Hence, it has been concluded that CSR is not merely a means to contribute towards society but also influences the financial performance of the companies. Overall, this research brings out the fact that Indian companies should undertake CSR not only due to the CSR mandate in place, but also do so voluntarily, as it has both tangible (increase in financial performance & cost reduction) and intangible benefits (competitive advantage & reputational capital ) for the companies.
Key Words of the Research: Corporate Social Responsibility, Bombay Stock Exchange, Developing Countries, India, Section 13-Companies Act, 2013, Sustainable Development Goals, Internal Orientation, External Orientation, Corporate Financial Performance.