Corporate social responsibility is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. CSR policy functions as a built-in, self-regulating mechanism whereby business monitors and ensures its active compliance with the spirit of the law, ethical standards, and international norms.
The goal is embrace responsibility for, and encourage a positive impact through its activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities, stakeholders and all other members of the public sphere. Furthermore, CSR-focused businesses would proactively promote the public interest by encouraging community growth and development, and voluntarily eliminating practices that harm the public sphere, regardless of legality.
CSR is the deliberate inclusion of public interest into corporate decision-making, and the honoring of a triple bottom line: people, planet, profit. ITC Limited- public conglomerate company headquartered in Kolkata, India. Its turnover is $6 billion and a market capitalization of over $22 Billion. * The company is currently headed by Yogesh Chander Deveshwar.
It employs over 26,000 people at more than 60 locations across India and is listed on Forbes 2000. ITC has a diversified presence in Cigarettes, Hotels, Paperboards & Specialty Papers, Packaging, Agri-Business, Packaged Foods & Confectionery, Information Technology, Branded Apparel, Personal Care, Stationery, Safety Matches and other FMCG products.
ITC’s aspiration to be an exemplar in sustainability practices is manifest in its status as the only company in the world of its size and diversity to be ‘carbon positive’, ‘water positive’ and ‘solid waste recycling positive. In addition, ITC’s businesses have created sustainable livelihoods for more than 5 million people, a majority of whom represent the poorest in rural India. e-Choupal rural digital-physical infrastructure
ITC’s globally awarded e-Choupal initiative is a powerful illustration of a unique business model that delivers large societal value by co-creating rural markets with local communities. The e-Choupal digital infrastructure enables even small and marginalized farmers in rural India, who are de-linked from the formal market to access relevant knowledge, arket prices, weather information and quality inputs to enhance farm productivity, quality and command better prices- making them more competitive in the national and global markets.
Customized agri-extension services and farmer training schools through a focused programme- “Choupal Pradarshan Khet”- enable farmers to access best practices in agriculture and improve productivity. * Together, the digital-physical-human infrastructure has led to the creation of an efficient two-way channel- raising farmer incomes and productivity, transforming rural communities into vibrant markets.
ITC procures woold pulp for its Paper and Paperboards business from renewable plantations cultivated by tribals and farmers on their private wastelands. ITC invested in extensive R & D to create clonal saplings which apart from being disease resistant, grow much faster and in harsher conditions. A large number of tribals and marginal farmers have benefited by growing these pulpwood saplings on their private wastelands.
ITC’s paperboards business is a willing buyer of their produce, whilst the growers are free to sell to the highest bidder in the open market. ITC could have taken the easier route by importing pulp, rather than a more difficult route of mobilizing tribals and marginal farmers which involved long gestation and substantial investment exposure.
However, the adoption of this more challenging route has not only created a source of sustainable livelihoods for a large number of disadvantaged sections of society, but has also brought a multiplicity of benefits by creating a large green cover that contributes significantly to groundwater recharge, soil conservation and carbon sequestration.
Recently, ITC’s social forestry project in Andhra Pradesh was registered under the Clean Development Mechanism of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The carbon credits earned will also be shared with the tribals and farmers, enabling them to participate in an international carbon market mechanism.
Recognizing the vital role that irrigation and water play in the rural economy, ITC supports the creation of watershed projects in water-stressed areas, providing precious water resources for agriculture, rural communities nd livestock. Based on a participatory approach that involves local communities, the programme facilitates building, reviving and maintain water harvesting structures as well as management of water resources to reverse land degradation, provide critical irrigation and increase agricultural productivity.
ITC’s supplementary Learning Centres offer additional coaching that backs up school learning, stemming drop-outs and enabling more children to complete school. ITC’s also supports outreach projects, including mobiles libraries that foster the reading habit and a ‘roaming laptop’ programme that promotes computer skills and interactive learning.
ITC’s initiatives provide sustainable economic opportunities to poor women in rural areas by assisting them to form micro-credit self-help groups that enable them to build up small saving and finance self-employment and micro-enterprises. A large number of women earn income as self-employed workers or as partners in micro-enterprises. The programme has demonstrated that extra income in the hands of women leads to significant and positive changes in human development since it is spent largely on children’s education, health and nutrition, and is a catalyst for gendering development.
ITC’s livestock development programme assists rural households to upgrade livestock quality through cross-breeding by artificial insemination to boost milk productivity by a factor of 6-9 times, leading to a threshold increase in household incomes and thereby an improvement in their poverty status.
Currently, these initiatives reach out to nearly 2,600 villages in 5 states. Providing leadership in positive environmental action, the “ITC Green Centre” in Guragao, certified by the US Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design is one of the first and one of the largest commercial “Platinum Rated” buildings in the world and continues to provide inspiration to the “greener buildings” movement in India. At ITC Green Centre, energy consumption has been reduced significantly through design integration. The building has been designed to maximize the use of natural light during the day, largely elimination the need for artificial lighting.
At the same time, glass used for the windows allows light in but does not allow heat. This not only keeps the building cool from the inside during the day but also decreases the load on air-conditioners. There is minimum use of exterior lighting to limit night sky pollution.
Water consumption has been reduced by 40% and with a water recycling plant, the building is now a zero water discharge building. Renewable Energy at ITC * ITC has adopted a conscious strategy to lower its carbon footprint, which has brought immense benefits: over 30% of the company’s total energy consumption is from renewable sources and carbon neutral fuels.
In keeping with its commitment to utilize an increasing component of renewable energy, ITC has setup a 14 MW wind energy facility to provide power to the Company’s packaging unit in Chennai. Additional investments in wind energy, totaling over 25 MW, are also being made to supplement the power requirements of the ITC hotels in Mumbai and Chennai.
When provided with opportunities to work and become self-sufficient, people who are differently abled can contribute to the workplace, their families and the community. ITC’s hotels business, ITC-Welcomgroup, has taken a positive step in this direction by employing differently abled people across their hotels. Committed to the principle that everyone should be treated with sensitivity and empathy, ITC-Welcomegroup has created models which have been effective and have succeeded in sensitizing other employees to the needs of those differently abled.
Keeping in mind their specific skills, over 100 differently abled people have been employed in diverse functions like housekeeping, teleworking, bakeries and as musicians. Special badges for the visually impaired, whistles for earing impaired employees to use in an emergency and sign language classes for the other staff to communicate with them are just a few examples of how ITC-Welcomegroup has created an atmosphere of sensitivity and caring. For its substantial contribution to the cause of promoting employment opportunities for differently abled people over an extended period of time, the NCPEDP-Helen Keller Award was conferred on ITC-Welcomgroup.