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The CSR Journal Excellence Awards 2023: Recognising the top three CSR Projects in Agriculture and Rural Development

Agriculture and Rural Development Top 3 2023
The 6th edition of The CSR Journal Excellence Awards is all set to be held on the 9th of December 2023 at the Bombay Stock Exchange in Mumbai. The CSR Journal Excellence Awards aims to honour innovative and best practices in Corporate Social Responsibility, recognising the best practices in six categories. These are Education and Skill Training, Women Empowerment and Child Welfare, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development, Health and sanitation and Sports.
This year’s top three nominees in the Agriculture and Rural Development category are United Breweries Limited, SBI Foundation, and Hindalco Industries Limited. Let us delve into the details of these transformative initiatives that have earned them a coveted spot as finalists in The CSR Journal Excellence Awards 2023.

Water Conservation Project, Telangana & Karnataka by United Breweries Limited (UBL)

United Breweries Limited (UBL) adopts a comprehensive approach to social responsibility and sustainability, rooted in a dedicated commitment to conducting its business with social responsibility. UBL aims to achieve sustainable development by balancing commercial and economic growth with advancements in social and environmental domains. The core principle guiding their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives is ‘Care for People and Planet.’
The water conservation project, strategically located in the villages of Telangana and Karnataka, stands out for its focused approach to addressing pressing groundwater issues essential for sustaining livelihoods. Groundwater, a pivotal source of irrigation and drinking water, plays a critical role in ensuring food security and income generation for these communities. In response to these challenges, the project’s framework incorporates three integral components: the assessment of water security, the construction of water harvesting structures, and the education of local farmers on efficient water utilisation practices. This holistic strategy aims not only to address immediate concerns but also to pave the way for sustainable and long-term solutions.
Sustainability is a key pillar of the project, as evidenced by the proactive promotion of institutions tasked with maintaining the newly established water structures. The meticulous implementation methodology includes initial visits, baseline surveys, feasibility studies, supervision of construction, sensitisation programs, and water budget workshops. The establishment of Water User Groups (WUGs) is of significance as they are entrusted with the sustainable management of these assets. The project goes beyond infrastructure development, placing a strong emphasis on community capacity-building through comprehensive training programs covering improved agricultural practices and water conservation. This ensures that local communities are not only recipients of the project’s benefits but also active participants equipped with the knowledge needed to optimize water resources effectively.
Specific achievements in Sangareddy (Telangana) and Nelamanagala (Karnataka) showcase the project’s tangible impact. In Sangareddy, the successful construction of 8 check dams, 4 percolation tanks, and 10 recharge structures has significantly contributed to water conservation efforts. Similarly, in Nelamanagala, the completion of 11 check dams and 30 recharge structures adds another dimension to the project’s commitment to sustainable water management. The combined accomplishments in both locations underscore the project’s success, with a total of 19 check dams, 4 percolation tanks, and 40 recharge structures contributing substantially to enhanced water conservation in the targeted regions.
These commendable achievements speak to the project’s broader implications for water conservation, community empowerment, and sustainable development. By positively influencing the water landscape and equipping local populations with the tools for optimised resource utilisation, the project contributes not only to improved livelihoods but also to the reduction of production risks in the targeted regions. Overall, the project exemplifies a holistic and impactful approach, aligning with the overarching goals of corporate social responsibility and sustainability.

SBI Gram Seva by SBI Foundation

SBI Foundation, a top nominee for The CSR Journal Excellence Awards 2023 in the Agriculture and Rural Development category, exemplifies a steadfast commitment to social responsibility and sustainability. The Foundation’s approach is characterized by alignment with national priorities, a focus on empowering vulnerable populations, and a partnership-based approach involving collaboration with government agencies, NGOs, and stakeholders.
SBI Gram Seva focuses on institutionalization, community ownership, and involvement of local bodies, contributing to sustainability. It leverages government schemes, synergizes with rural branches, and incorporates learnings and feedback from stakeholders for optimal impact.
The theory of change behind the CSR project involves building self-reliant villages, aligning with Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of Gram Swaraj. The CSR initiative covers all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), emphasizing holistic development.
The project’s goals include digitalization of villages, promotion of quality education, improvement of primary healthcare services, provision of safe drinking water and sanitation, skill development and livelihood generation, convergence of government schemes, empowerment of rural women and youth, improvement of rural infrastructure, and environmental protection. The program adopts a need-based approach tailored to specific community needs and challenges under each objective.
SBI Foundation’s CSR initiative spread across 25 states and 150 villages, involves collaboration with 24 NGO partners. The program’s diverse interventions cater to different development demographics, addressing specific issues through an area-specific and need-based assessment.

Project Unnati by Hindalco Industries Limited

Hindalco Industries Limited emerges as one of the top contenders for The CSR Journal Excellence Awards 2023 in the Agriculture and Rural Development category. Hindalco’s CSR strategy integrates sustainability principles into policies, strategies, and practices, demonstrating a holistic approach toward societal betterment. The company’s vision emphasizes the goal of building a better, sustainable way of life for the weaker sections of society and raising the country’s Human Development Index. The sustainability vision further underscores the Aditya Birla Group’s commitment to becoming a leading conglomerate for sustainable business practices globally.
Project Unnati’s theory of change focuses on enhancing livelihood opportunities through social and economic empowerment, creating self-managed community institutions, fostering sustainable livelihoods, increasing access to social protection, and developing infrastructure for enhanced resource availability in agriculture. The project’s alignment with UN Sustainable Development Goals 1, 2, 6, 13, and 15 reinforces its commitment to broader global sustainability objectives.
The CSR has resulted in a substantial increase in farmers’ income, engagement of over 1628 skilled youth in income-generating activities, a notable reversal in migration due to increased agricultural engagement, and a 15% increase in vegetation coverage. These outcomes align with the project’s rationale, which was initiated to address grassroots development requirements, advance agricultural practices, skill the youth, implement watershed management, and strengthen the area’s infrastructure.
In conclusion, the CSR Journal Excellence Awards 2023 are set to honour exceptional commitments to environmental sustainability by United Breweries Limited, SBI Foundation, and Hindalco Industries Limited. Join us on December 9th at the Bombay Stock Exchange in Mumbai to celebrate these impactful initiatives. Your presence will add to the significance of acknowledging and promoting corporate social responsibility.
RSVP to secure your spot at https://bit.ly/thecsrjournalawardsRSVP2023