Indian is an agriculture based country, where more than 50% of population is depending on agriculture to be their main source of income. This gives a lot of scope for the growth and development of the food-processing industry in the country.
The food-processing industry in India is a sunrise sector that has gained prominence in the recent years. Availability of raw materials, changing lifestyles and appropriate fiscal policies has given a considerable push to the industry’s growth. The industry supports the economy by reducing agriculture waste, optimising the country’s GDP from the agricultural produce, and providing employment to a large number of people with minimum skills. In addition to this, the food-processing companies also contributes to social and community development through various CSR initiatives. Let us look at five such companies.
Britannia Industries is by far the favourite food company of the Great Indian Middle Class. The company has the credo: Eat healthy, think better. It furthers this motto through its CSR initiatives by focusing the most on nutrition and healthcare.
Britannia CSR makes a difference at the community-level through various interventions addressing undernutrition and malnutrition. Research and development into nutrition is a major component of Britannia corporate social responsibility. In FY 2019-20 the company made a total expense of Rs. 28.43 crores for its CSR programs. The major focus of the company’s CSR in the last financial year was COVID relief.
Programmes to fight malnutrition and undernutrition take up the biggest share of Britannia CSR activities. Biscuits fortified with vitamins and micronutrients are part of the nutrition programme. Most of the initiatives are carried out by Britannia Nutrition Foundation. Britannia Nutrition Foundation (BNF) is more than a decade old. It was set up with the goal of delivering every Child’s Right to Nutrition and Growth. BNF runs long term replicable programmes in various states. Community development is considered a focus area since BNF assumes responsibility for the nourishment and vitality of the whole community it works in.
Britannia CSR projects in healthcare include hospitals of repute that house modern equipment and provide free to low-cost treatment and medical care.
Nestlé India Limited, a leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness Company has been in India for about 100 years. The company, since its inception, has projected a responsible behaviour by ensuring the welfare and upliftment of communities around which it operates. The company believes that creating better livelihood opportunities for the communities residing around its operations, is its responsibility.
Through its Corporate Social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, Nestle focuses on areas in which it can create maximum value. These areas include:
– Nutrition: India bears the double burden of malnutrition for a large part of her population. Nestle’s CSR initiatives aim at improving nutrition awareness of communities with a special focus on school children.
– Water and Sanitation: India is among the world’s most water-stressed countries. Many citizens of India do not have access to safe drinking water. The CSR initiatives of Nestle India aims to help farmers with techniques to reduce water usage in agriculture, raise awareness on water conservation and provide access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
– Rural Development: Nestle CSR has chosen to focus on rural development in order to support the sustainable development of farmers, which would allow them to grow as the company grows.
Nestle firmly believes in the purpose of ‘Enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future’. The company operates around this mantra and is mindful of the needs of the communities around it. It not only strives to be sustainable with the community but also works to make a positive difference and create maximum value for the society.
Nestle India focuses its efforts in society on the three pivotal ambitions of enabling healthier and happier lives for individuals and families, on helping develop thriving and resilient communities, and on stewarding the planet’s natural resources for future generations, with particular care for water.
Under its Nestle Healthy Kids Program, the company has partnered with MAMTA Health Institute for Mother and Child to realise their shared vision of creating healthier communities. The project has a specific focus on 4 groups consisting of adolescents, pregnant women, lactating mothers and married couples. Creating an enabling environment for the women, it targets the sensitization to institutional deliveries, post-natal visits to the hospital, awareness on family planning. As malnutrition affects an individual over his/her entire life, the project makes considerations and strategies which minimise this effect and bring about a holistic development of the individual.
Nestle launched a water stewardship CSR initiative with AgSri at the Kabini river Basin in Karnataka to develop sustainable agricultural practices for rice and sugarcane. As agriculture is the largest user of water from the catchment, engaging farmers on ecologically sustainable practices of System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and the Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative (SSI) are helping to reduce the agricultural water withdrawal and improving agricultural productivity. These interventions make it possible to have more yield and good income by using less seeds, less water and fewer fertilizers besides reducing the number of labourers and expenditure.
Nestle launched Project Vriddhi under its CSR initiatives in order to work towards building a healthier society and positively impacting the lives of people in marginalised communities. Project Vriddhi, in collaboration with SM Sehgal Foundation, is a three-year village adoption project started in 2019. The project is aimed at improving the livelihoods of 1,500 people in Rohira village in Nuh district, Haryana.
Nestle’s CSR initiatives, founded on strong principles of transparency, honesty, integrity and fairness are playing a significant role in building an equitable and just society in the country.
Mondelez India are the makers and bakers of some of India’s favourite snacking brands such as Cadbury Dairy Milk, Cadbury Bournvita, Oreo. As it makes its way into the hearts of the populace, it has not stepped back from its responsibility towards it.
Mondelez India has announced a grant to Hasiru Dala, an NGO that will recycle Multi-Layered Plastic (MLP) waste to create sustainable furniture boards for creating tables, benches and for other uses. The pilot project will use the technology purchased from start-up TrashCon, to convert ~600 tonnes of MLP waste per annum into ‘WoW Boards’. The project was facilitated by Ubuntoo, a global environment solutions company.
“One of the key challenges in India, is recycling of multi layered plastics given infrastructure constraints. While on the one hand, we continue to work with the government to support collection, segregation and recycling, we felt it was critical to experiment and support enterprising technologies and initiatives that can recycle multi layered plastics at scale to address the issues of waste management. This unique and one-of-a-kind pilot project recycles multi layered plastics to create WoW Boards that are highly durable and a sustainable plywood alterative for building, construction, furniture, and other end uses. We have made a grant to Hasiru Dala that will convert waste to wealth, generate employment and create a viable business model while addressing the challenges of MLP in a sustainable manner. The success of this project and its learnings will create a model for companies in India to replicate for MLP recycling at scale. We are very excited to pilot this initiative.”, said Deepak Iyer, President – India, Mondelēz International.
As part of this initiative, MLP waste will be collected by Hasiru Dala’s wide network of waste collection units and then processed and converted at a special unit set up in Bangalore into recycled ‘WoW Boards’, which is a highly durable and efficient alternative to plywood. The technology solution, provided by TrashCon, a start-up waste recycling equipment manufacturer, will create highly durable WoW Boards that can be used for a variety of purposes – both industrial and consumer.
During the first wave of COVID-19, the company in total has donated over 140 tonnes of chocolates, biscuits and beverages to India FoodBanking Network (IFBN) across 20 cities to support relief workers and the migrant population. The company also donated dry ration kits to support over 8600 families in communities around its factory locations in Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. The employees of Mondelez India also donated 110,000 meals to the poor and needy through the Akshaya Patra Foundation, through employee giving.
McCain Foods is one of the world’s largest producer of Potato Specialties and a global leader in the Frozen Food industry. The company focuses majorly on sustainability and community development in India, contributing to the socio-economic development of the country.
Project Shakti by McCain Foods has organized socially or economically vulnerable women into Self Help Groups, or Mahila Vikas Mandals, who hold periodic discussions on issues related to the socio-economic development of group members and the village in general. Project Shakti has facilitated 45 such women self- help groups covering about 600 women. It helps members of these Self Help Groups to undertake various income-generating activities, market their outputs and attain Sustainable Livelihoods. The profit thus earned is shared by the members, and a part of it is re-invested as capital to increase the production. Apart from profit, which is a varying factor, the members earn steady labour wages from these activities and commit themselves to saving a predetermined amount of money every month, which is later on used for extending credit among group members.
The company’s Project Utthan focuses on livelihood enhancement and Improvement in the overall quality of life of small farmers through suitable interventions. In northern Gujarat, more than 90% rural communities are largely dependent on agriculture and animal husbandry for their livelihoods and about 70% of them are small and marginal farmers. Recognizing the significant role that McCain India can play in the development of the region, especially in the alleviation of rural poverty, the company explored collaboration to jointly initiate agriculture based livelihood project in 4 villages of Vijaynagar block, District Sabarkantha of Gujarat namely Khedasan, Ladivada, Joravarnagar and Bhankhra with BAIF Development Research Foundation.
The company has launched a ‘Smart Farming Program’ in India, which spans from Gujarat to Lahaul-Spiti, Punjab and Rajasthan and where the company works with over 1000 farmers. Currently, more than 1/3rd of the company’s contracted volume of potato is grown under the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) scheme. The farmers associated with McCain Foods grow these crops under drip and sprinkler irrigation with the overall vision of growing and distributing better quality potato for the customers, without disturbing the biodiversity of the region. During the pandemic, it also accelerated Digital Management of agriculture through which it remotely managed to ensure supply continuity and income for its farmers.
Parle Products is the country’s leading manufacturer of biscuits and confectionery. It manufactures the all-time-favourite snack with chai – The Parle G biscuit. The company has its reach among the hearts of the people not only because of its products, but also because of its CSR initiatives.
In its fight against COVID-19, the company donated 3 crore packs of Parle G biscuits through government agencies.
Parle products support Indian sportspersons who have the potential to win medals at the Olympics through Olympics Gold Quest.
In 2016, Music channel MTV, along with Parle, has launched the ‘The Junkyard Project’, aimed at tackling the problem of littering, a common practice in India. The project used the ‘dumping ground’ to communicate the anti-littering message. Dump trucks were deployed across Mumbai and Delhi, sporting colourful graffiti with the message Dunk That Junk. The initiative received a lot of support from celebrities and people on social media. The program was awarded Gold at the Appies Asia Conference as one of the most effective CSR activities across Asia.