Which are the main pillars of your CSR and sustainability strategy?
Team Hero MotoCorp’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability vision is to have a Greener, Safer and Equitable World. This vision is an integral part of our strategy as it continues to remind us of our environmental, social and economic obligations. It is embedded in the actions taken by the organization.
Last year, we reconceptualised our CSR strategy, strengthened the sustainability team, and consolidated all our social and environmental activities under the ‘We Care’ umbrella. We Care has four main pillars, or four main programmes. The first is Happy Earth, wherein a multiple projects are running towards environment protection and conservation. The primary focus of Happy Earth is to ensure environmental sustainability beyond compliance and beyond the newly formed CSR laws. The second pillar of We Care is Hamari Pari. It is focused on empowering underprivileged girls through multiple interventions in partnerships with credible non-profit organisations and social businesses. The third pillar is Educate to Empower (E2). This is primarily focused at supporting education and skilling promising youngsters across the country. The idea is to ensure that each beneficiary of this programme is educated in a way that that he or she becomes an independent and conscious citizen of the country. The fourth pillar, Ride Safe India, has been conceptualised keeping in mind our core business and fundamental responsibility towards ensuring ‘safety’ of commuters on India’s roads.
What have been some of the greatest challenges in realising your CSR and sustainability goals in the past year, and how has your company overcome them?
I don’t think it is about challenges – it is about the fact that while India is one of the fastest growing and most promising economies with an appreciable governance structure in place, it also has many environmental and social issues that needs to be addressed. So, I feel the main challenge or dilemma that corporate groups generally face while conceptualising their sustainability and social responsibility strategies is the prioritization of the issue or the problem that they should, and can, address and this was true for us also. We had internal deliberations with all stakeholders and got guidance from our CSR Committee to frame our key priority areas to do our bit in the holistic development of the nation.
Another challenge or area that needs to be addressed is finding the right solution – a solution that has the potential to address the root cause of the identified problem – as well as finding the right partners who can relate to not just to the area to be addressed but also to the company’s vision and intent and help implement the solution.
As for sustainability practices within the company, there are many well-thought-out initiatives that ensure we are not erring on any front. For example, we started focusing on ‘green manufacturing’ many years ago and have been consistently focusing on reducing our carbon footprint. Our production processes have eliminated harmful substances like asbestos, hexavalent chromium, and other phenol substances. All our units have effluent-treatment plants, sewage-treatment plants, waste food-treatment mechanism, oil conversation and paints conservation methodologies, and a systemised water-management system that conserves, harvests, and reuses and recycles water. Energy-conservation practices have been in place for decades and have only been improving since use of innovative technology and methods is a top priority for us.
As a responsible corporate, we encourage sustainability practices down the supply chain. The focus is to have a sustainable ‘green supply chain’ wherein our vendors and vendors’ vendors and our dealers also play a role in the same.
Keeping in mind the targets set in the Paris accord, what do you see on the horizon for corporate sustainability initiatives? How can companies and government work together to achieve sustainability and CSR goals?
It is a commendable and much-needed development that happened in Paris. Also, the coming together of 196 countries and their agreement to fight catastrophic climate change underlines the seriousness of the issue. The threat of mass extinction of species, including human beings, is only increasing and the rise in global temperatures and natural calamities are signs of the same. The situation will only worsen if not addressed now and it can only be addressed if governments, business entities, the social sector… all inhabitants of the planet come together and do their bit.
Talking of the horizon of corporate sustainability initiatives with regard to the Paris accord, I believe all businesses and individuals have a great role to play in supporting the commitment.
What are your goals and priorities for 2016?
We will continue to focus on all the four areas and further strengthen and broad base our initiatives by taking more locations and communities. As regards environmental sustainability, each year we have been able to reduce our energy consumption and we will continue our focus on that. We will also strengthen our efforts to sensitize our eco system – employees, shareholders, vendors and consumers – towards environment conservation.
In conversation with Mr. Vijay Sethi, Chief Information Officer and Head Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at Hero MotoCorp Ltd. (Original Post)