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We Are A Food Company And It’s Our Privilege And Responsibility To Address The Issue Of World Hunger: Rahul Shinde, MD, KFC India

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India is home to the largest undernourished and hungry population in the world. Moreover 3,000 plus children in India die every day from poor diet related illness or hunger. KFC India’s CSR initiatives focus on addressing the issue of food and malnutrition for underprivileged children.
In an interview with The CSR Journal, Rahul Shinde, Managing Director, KFC India talks about their CSR practices both globally and in India. With their present and future plans and how they are contributing to the society.

Please describe the CSR activities undertaken by KFC globally and in India.

KFC as a brand, globally and in India, believes in giving back to the communities. In line with our philosophy, we launched our global ‘Good Purpose’ campaign, add HOPE™, earlier in May this year. We are a food company and it’s our privilege and responsibility to address the issue of world hunger where millions of children go days without a proper meal. Through add HOPE™ we want the children of our country to be given access to nutritious and balanced meals in order to grow and learn, so they can be their best selves.
To take a step back, KFC has globally raised nearly $600 million in cash and food donations for WFP and other hunger relief agencies, since the launch of World Hunger Relief in 2007. This has helped provide nearly 2.4 billion nutritious meals for those in need and save the lives of millions of people in remote corners of the world. Additionally, nearly 1.5 million of the company’s employees, franchisees and their families have volunteered millions of hours to aid hunger relief efforts in communities worldwide.
In addition to this, KFC has been successfully providing employment to specially-abled since 2008. The biggest impact of this initiative is on the employees and their families. We have stores run by specially-abled (speech and hearing) and we have been recognized as one of the few corporations to have given speech and hearing impaired opportunities to work and become self-reliant. The total number of specially abled employees currently stands at 350 and will soon constitute 10% of the total workforce. Our recent achievement in this regard has been the 6 speech and hearing impaired Shift Manager who successfully cleared our internal process to rise through the ranks and we’re confident that we will have our first specially-abled Restaurant General Manager soon as well. From having started this programme with one KFC store, today it’s running successfully across 19 stores.

India is the only country in the world where CSR is mandated, what is your view on this?

Though 2% CSR is mandated for corporate firms, our add HOPE™ and initiative for specially-abled people are KFC’s CSR initiatives over and above that. We strongly believe in giving back to the communities in which we work and live, making a positive difference in the lives of those in need and in the purpose of goodwill.
We believe that giving back and making a difference in the lives of the less fortunate is our privilege and our responsibility. There is no international policy on employing specially-abled people; in fact this program was started in India. A lot of other markets across the globe are inspired and want to replicate this initiative too. The charitable spirit and culture of Yum! directs our efforts around the globe.

What is your future outlook in terms of social initiatives in India?

add Hope™ is a long term commitment to fighting hunger and it will run all year round. We will use our network of over 300 stores to create awareness and raise funds to provide 20 million meals to underprivileged children by 2020. For the same we have partnered with World Food Program (WFP), and India Food Banking Network (IFBN).
Through this program we want the children of our country to be given access to nutritious and balanced meals in order to grow and learn, so they can be their best selves. We also soon plan to have 1000 specially-abled employees in the Yum! Fold.

What do you think is the reason that in spite of so many NGOs, India still has a lot to do in tackling poverty, hunger, sanitation?

We feel India has come a long way and has done a great job in setting up amenities to help combat issues like hunger, poverty unemployment etc. The number of NGOs in India is increasing rapidly but the task of complete eradication of such social issues is a long drawn effort and needs to also be tackled from a national perspective and will take time.
It is critical to imbibe a holistic vision and drive collaborative efforts involving various governmental departments, agencies along with NGOs. We at KFC are doing all that we can to give back to the communities we live in by taking up initiative such as add HOPE™ and providing employment opportunities for specially-abled.