Tata Sons Chairman Ratan Tata has been awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the prestigious Rockefeller Foundation here for innovation in philanthropy.

The Foundation, celebrating 100 years of global innovation, honoured individuals and institutions with its second annual Innovation Awards in New York on Tuesday.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Tata said businesses should be sensitive to the fact that they are making a difference in places where they operate and they have to do things to help the community prosper.

“This is all the more evident in the developing world where disparities are so huge. If the industry is not sensitive to it, they would encourage a backlash to take place and many companies that go overseas are getting to understand the need to do this and those that do not are really hurting the reputation of other industries,” Mr. Tata said.

“When you see in places like Africa and parts of Asia abject poverty, hungry children and malnutrition around you, and you look at yourself as being people who have well being and comforts, I think it takes a very insensitive, tough person not to feel they need to do something,” not just by providing material support but by playing a role in helping give prosperity to the community in which they belong, Mr. Tata added.

He said employees in his organisation have gained a certain spirit of being part of a community in which they operate.

“It has become the DNA of the organisation to play a role in the community,” he added.

Mr. Tata gave the example of a voluntary group in his organisation in which employees get leave from their jobs to help victims of natural disasters like tsunamis and earthquakes in India.

He said Tata employees help in rebuilding and adopting villages and then return to their jobs.

Mr. Tata was honoured by the Foundation for incorporating public good into the business model of the Tata Group.

Last year’s recipient of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award was former US President Bill Clinton.

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