India is the second-largest producer of cement in the world. It accounts for more than 7% of the global installed capacity. The cement industry plays a binding and pivotal role in both the infrastructure and socio-economic development of the country, by enabling employment generation for millions and by their CSR initiatives. In this context, let us look at five cement companies in India that take CSR seriously.
Ultratech Cement is the highest spender on CSR in the cement industry by spending Rs. 125 crore during FY 20. Over 16 lakh people benefitted from its community development programs.
The company undertakes its CSR initiatives through its CSR arm – Aditya Birla Center for Community Initiatives and Rural Development. The foundation is engaged in working towards the betterment of 2500 villages across India, out of which 300 villages have been zeroed in on, in the hope of turning them into model villages. The foundation works towards water availability, spreading awareness about hygiene and sanitation through various methods including street plays. The Foundation has set up over 10,000 toilets in villages in proximity to the company’s plants across India.
Additionally, the company has engaged in improving the education infrastructure in the villages in order to ensure equitable educational opportunities for children of rural areas. The company has also carried out vocational training programs for the unskilled village people in order to help them earn a livelihood.
Ambuja Cement takes its corporate social responsibility very seriously since its inception. The company spent Rs. 53.97 crores on its CSR initiatives through its CSR arm – Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF) in FY 20. Ambuja Cement addresses some of India’s most important development challenges in the areas of water resource management, livelihood promotion, social development, women empowerment and infrastructure development. Its CSR initiatives reached out to 2.7 million people across 44 locations in 11 states of India.
The Ambuja Cement Foundation works with the communities surrounding Ambuja’s manufacturing sites and envisages bringing about a positive change in their lives. The Foundation is engaged in a variety of people-centric, integrated rural development projects. Since its inception, the Foundation has expanded its reach and diversified its programmes to include as many members of its stakeholder group as possible. While working with the participation of the people, ACF has held its mission statement central to all its operations. The Foundation has a presence in twelve states across the country and is engaged in programmes like Natural Resource Management, Agro-based and skill-based livelihoods and improvement of health status, educational support and economic enhancement.
One of its flagship CSR initiatives is designed for the benefit of persons with disabilities. A whopping 26.8 million people in India are specially-abled individuals. Only 1% of the 12 million differently-abled children attend school and more than 60% of the people who are differently-abled are unemployed. This is a vicious cycle and hence Ambuja Cement CSR founded the Ambuja Manovikas Kendra to change the situation at the grassroots level. They envisage to improve the quality of life of differently-abled children and teach them skills so they can be independent in their day to day activities and they have been pretty successful at that.
Shree Cement is another cement company with a substantial CSR budget. The company spent Rs. 40.47 crores on its CSR programs in the last financial year. The company, not only conducts welfare programs as an external activity to its business but incorporates sustainable practices in its business operations itself.
Shree Cement has been committed to finding sustainable ways of making cement, which includes usage of alternate fuel resources, renewable sources of energy, conservation of the mined areas and upliftment of the community and creating value for all its stakeholders.
The company also focuses heavily on its social impact. It works with around 255 villages touching about 10 million lives, in the country aiming to create sustainability and self-reliance. Its CSR activities focus on Education, Women Empowerment, Health and Family Welfare, Infrastructure Development and Agriculture & Animal Husbandry. The company has recently incorporated the Shree Foundation Trust as an executing agency to its community development initiatives.
Additionally, the company also lays a great emphasis on the creation of a circular economy. ‘Produce more with less’ has been Shree Cement’s guiding philosophy over the years. The company has been consistently working towards minimising consumption of non-renewable resources, utilising industrial waste, reducing emissions, recharging groundwater, reusing and recycling the by-products of the production process. The objective is to leave a minimum footprint or negative impact of its operations on the earth’s resources.
ACC Cement is one of the top cement companies in India with a sizeable CSR budget. It spent Rs. 32 Crores in FY 20 on its CSR initiatives.
ACC was the very first recipient of India’s first-ever CSR award instituted by ASSOCHAM in 1976 which was the ASSOCHAM National Award for outstanding performance in promoting rural and agricultural development activities. ACC’s earliest initiatives in community development date back to the 1940’s – long before the term corporate social responsibility was even coined. In 1952 the company launched its Village Welfare Scheme, as a full-fledged function at the corporate office and all its cement plants with a large team comprising social scientists, teachers, medical personnel, civil engineers and experts in agriculture, sanitation and crafts.
ACC conducts its CSR programs through ACC Trust. At ACC Trust, the goal has been clear- to transform lives and create a better world for the people. The foundation is working steadfastly to improve the lives of people living in marginalised or economically backward communities, with programmes that encompass livelihoods, education, health & sanitation and women empowerment.
Ramco believes that CSR is not just a set of programmes, it is what the Company does and how it does to maximise positive impact. The company spent Rs. 14.99 Crores on its CSR initiatives in FY 20.
During the year, the Company undertook various CSR projects in rural development, improving the ecosystem, promoting education and health and hygiene in remote underdeveloped areas.
One of its CSR projects includes an Agro-forestry initiative that involved ‘Replicating farmer’s best practices’ to mitigate global warming and empower farmers. It involved combining agriculture (growing crops) and forestry (growing trees) as a better land-use management system contributing to carbon sequestration, more food crops, increased biodiversity and reduced soil erosion. It provided a sustainable source of income to farmers directly as well as to many landless farmers indirectly.
The company’s educational initiative is focused on creating and enabling an environment that is conducive to develop children and young people as responsible citizens. This is done through its educational institutions that provide quality education to rural children. These institutions have state-of-the-art laboratories, smart classrooms, language and math lab, audiovisual room and training room besides having science parks that are accessible to students from rural government schools.
The company’s healthcare initiatives are focused on enhancing the facilities in Government Hospitals, conducting medical camps, building community toilets, addressing sanitation needs and inspiring healthy lifestyles.
Ramco’s efforts in the social sector has earned it several accolades including the “Asia’s Best CSR Practices Award” from CMO Asia, Singapore.