Corporate Social Responsibility
Making Change: One Step at a Time
A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a step. At Havells, we believe in a journey of small steps that lead to meaningful change in people’s lives. As an organization we are committed to continuously improving our social responsibilities to make a meaningful impact in the lives of others by aligning our initiatives to achieve goals of sustainability. In our focus of business, our care for people, our love for local communities and our dedication to environmental conservation, we have realized that the only way forward for us as a nation is by giving back to the land which has given us all that we have. With our will, grit and courage, we hope to lay the foundation of a better tomorrow by the small steps that we take today.
Our journey so far:
Havells Mid- Day Meal Program:
Every day too many men and women across the globe struggle to feed their children a nutritious meal. In a world where we produce enough food to feed everyone, 795 million people – one in nine – still go to bed on an empty stomach each night. Even more – one in three – suffer from some form of malnutrition.
Guided by our ethos, eradicating hunger and malnutrition is one of the focus areas for us. Not only the consequences of not enough – or the wrong – food cause suffering and poor health, they also slow progress in many other areas of development like education and employment.
While the global community adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals to improve people’s lives by 2030 in 2015, we started working on the ‘Goal 2 – Zero Hunger’ way back in 2005.
In 2004, we started finding out reasons for non-availability of adequate manpower in nearby areas of our Alwar plant. The research was heart breaking as it showed that children from nearby villages did not go to school and were engaged in farms and other jobs to support family’s income. Adequate food, even twice a day was a big challenge for the family. Children were weak and malnourished and going to school was not even considered by the family. Over time we realized that providing food could be the answer to this puzzle. We tied up with the government of Rajasthan to provide mid-day meal in government schools.
A humble beginning that started with serving just 1500 children across 5 schools grew to serving over 59,000 students across 693 schools daily in the district. The fresh, hygienic and nutritious food is prepared in the state-of-the-art kitchen in accordance with government-approved diet charts. Spread over an area of 4 acre, the kitchen employs staff of over 160 people including cooks, helpers and drivers along with a fleet of 26 vans to ensure hassle-free and timely delivery of the meals every day.
Ownership of the entire mid-day meal value chain from procurement of food materials to food preparation, storage and transportation to school, gives the company complete control over the quality and hygiene of the meals. This goes in line with Havells philosophy of providing the best quality in all company offerings.
Havells understands that WASH (Water, Health and Hygiene) are critical for ensuring overall development of children and their families. Focus on WASH program in schools stems from our efforts to realize our vision of a world where all children go to school that provides safe, healthy and comfortable environment where they grow, learn and thrive. Schools also are powerful agents of change for enabling and encouraging changes in the society as well.
We decided to take the first step from Alwar where we are already running our flagship program of mid- day meal. A research was done to understand the present situation and few of the observations were:
• Only 70% of the students used toilets that were available in all schools
• In most schools toilets were clogged with mud and fecal matter
• Water was not available in the toilets to flush waste or for personal hygiene.
• Adolescent girls were found to be absent during menstruation as the toilet was unfit for use. A similar situation was seen when children would prefer to stay back home rather than attend school on days when they had dysentery.
Keeping these issues in mind, Havells initiated a sanitation drive in 2014 in government schools of Alwar district wherein the company built eco-friendly bio-toilets. These eco-friendly bio-toilets use special bacteria developed by DRDO (Defence Research & Development Organisation) to convert human waste into biogas and water. The water can be used for gardening, cleaning or ground water recharge.
Havells has built over 2800 bio-toilets in 366 government schools in Alwar district of Rajasthan. We have started the next phase of bio toilet building in 100 such govt. schools of Alwar where we do not provide mid- day meal. This initiative of Havells amalgamates perfectly with the ambitious ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ advocated by the Government of India and dovetails with United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No-3 & 6.
Sensitization towards behavior change:
The next step in this direction was to sensitize students as well as the teachers about the importance of WASH. We invested in behavioral change sensitization workshops not only for the children but also for the school teachers who could further educate parents and the public at large about the importance of Sanitation, cleanliness and hygiene in particular.
The implementation of behavior change workshops aims to develop good hygiene habits amongst children from tender age. Activities like songs, wall paintings, rhymes, quizzes, painting competitions help children understand concepts better and are able to explain to their parents and bring positive change in the family. Teachers are also being involved in the process who in turn could educate parents and society at large.
We did not stop at building toilets or working on behavior change of children and teachers but went a step further. While toilets are built but their upkeep was a major issue due to paucity of funds at the school level. We decided to contribute equal amount of money as given by the government to ensure these toilets are kept neat and clean and students use them regularly. A strict vigil on upkeep of these toilets ensures the funds are used properly.
Another problem realized was the one faced by adolescent girls and could not be ignored was high absenteeism from school and wrong myths about menstruation which hampered their health and education.
To let them be away from this issue Havells joined hands with Project Baala wherein the young rural girls are educated by spreading awareness about menstruation in rural schools & providing eco-friendly sanitary napkins to them. The pad is made of three layers of cloth stitched together, is reusable and can be used for a period of 1.5 to 2 years. The project is the brainchild of one of the two young women who visit different villages across India to conduct awareness workshops in schools and distribute a kit of 3 pads to every participant.
To begin, a kit of these 3 sanitary pads was given to 1165 girls of 3 government schools of Alwar district. This was the first set of pilot group, to understand the impact of the project and also the acceptability rate, both of the young girls and the community at large. We have been successful in receiving a very good response and hence we planned to take it to the next level. We are now distributing these kits to 22, 000 girls across 285 schools in the Alwar District.
With these small steps, we take a 360 degree approach to this major problem of sanitation.
All these initiatives helped improve attendance, health and cognitive development, increased girls’ participation, established positive hygiene behavior and offers the opportunity to introduce better WASH practices in families and communities and addresses issues of inequity and exclusion.
For every country its heritage is its pride. And India’s heritage is definitely one of the richest in the world. So it’s the responsibility of every citizen of the country to be more thoughtful towards their heritage. We’ve always thought of future generations when it comes to being socially responsible. We realise the need to preserve our heritage and pass it on to the future generations in the best possible condition.
Keeping that in mind, Havells tied-up with Aga Khan Foundation India (AKFI) and will contribute towards building Humayun's Tomb Interpretation Centre. The 10,000 sqm facility is the first-of-its-kind facility planned at any of Delhi's World Heritage Sites and is expected to receive 2 million visitors annually. Not just that, the proposed Interpretation Centre will be the largest public cultural facility built since the National Museum. Havells will also help Aga Khan Foundation to conserve the monument of national importance called the "Sabz Burj” situated at Nizamuddin in New Delhi. And we hope to keep contributing towards preserving our wonderful heritage.
THE FIRST ‘WATER POSITIVE COMPANY’
We are not just working towards improving the present but future too. In a significant milestone on our sustainability journey, we’ve become India’s first FMEG Company to achieve ‘Water Positive’ status duly verified by SGS, a renowned Environment, Health & Safety auditor.
A number of initiatives were undertaken across all plants to achieve this status. All plant sites are zero discharge facilities and are equipped with modern water harvesting systems. The company reduced its water usage by regular metering, monitoring and controlling of utilities consumption at all manufacturing sites.
AN ENVIRONMENT FRIENDLY COMPANY
Havells has been focusing on tree plantation nearby its manufacturing plants. We have planted over 10,000 trees in and around our plants in Alwar, Rajasthan and Baddi, Himachal Pradesh and plan to add a huge number soon in various other locations in India. We will then become a carbon positive organization too, bettering our existing status of being the First water positive company.
We have now signed a MoU with the Madhya Pradesh government under which we are planting 1 lac trees each for the next 5 years. We have also tied up with 3 panchayats in Neemrana to plant another 1 lac trees in the current year. We are also building a “Kanya Upvan” in the Alwar district of Rajasthan by planting a tree on the birth of every girl child in the district.
SUSTAINABLE CSR- BENCH DONATION
We create tables and benches from the waste wood at our Alwar, Neemrana and Haridwar plant. These tables and benches are donated to Govt. schools in respective areas. Till date we have donated 45 in Alwar, 322 in Neemrana and 892 tables and benches in Haridwar. This is an ongoing activity across these three locations and we intend to keep increasing the numbers and distribute more and more such infrastructure for the education and physical well- being of the school children.
SKILL DEVELOPMENT: The focus of Havells CSR initiatives has always been children and youth of the country. Contributing to the development of their future, we recently launched Havells first Electrical Skill Development Center at ITI, Nagaon in Assam. The center would enable students to hone their skills with latest equipment and contribute to the growth of the nation. The second Electrical Skill Center has been launched at ITI Pusa, Delhi.
HEALTH CARE: Thalassemia major is a genetic disorder and the only available curative option is Bone Marrow Transplantation. The cost of transplant is beyond reach of children coming from low socio-economic strata and through this project SEAIT (South East Asia Institute for Thalassemia) intends to provide an opportunity for cure to at least two children who otherwise cannot afford the procedure. We have adopted 2 thalassemia child patients in Jaipur for this treatment and have contributed 20 lacs for this.
KERALA RELIEF FUND: Havells India Ltd. employees and dealers have donated an amount of Rs. 5 Crores for Kerala Distress Relief Fund.