Corporate Social Responsibilities

Community Initiatives – “We care beyond Business

Reaching out to Communities – The EMD success story

"The social responsibility of business is to make a profit," famously said Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize winner. He explained that in making a profit a company creates thousands of jobs, both directly and indirectly through suppliers, distributors and retailers. It imparts valuable skills to its employees. It pays crores in taxes. It improves the lives of millions of satisfied customers with its products and services. This is an enormous service to society. Is that the only specified responsibility of Corporate to the society?

CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) has been the buzz for a while. Several attempts have been made to define, practice and document CSR. Under CSR, corporates extend a supporting hand to the communities around it, either by way of planned actions, adopting communities, channelizing such activities through a society/agency etc.

Social Responsibility at CUMI-Electro Minerals

The late chairman of Murugappa Group AMM Arunachalam best summed up the Group's philosophy in community service: "The Murugappa Group believes not only in value-added business but also in discharging its responsibilities to various sections of society and in providing opportunities to learn, contribute, advance; recognize and reward initiative, innovativeness and creativity”. This philosophy has been hardwired into the Corporate philosophy of Murugappa Group by creating a value system called Five Lights.

We at Murugappa group also do a lot to the development of less privileged people around us through AMM Foundation, Touch A Life etc. When our operations are spread across the world, are we able to reach out to communities in different locations? Are we able to address the real need of the people around us? Is the money spent is reaching the beneficiaries? These are a few questions we had while we consider our CSR activities. With the above questions in mind, we at Electro Minerals Division, decided to do something different which will really address the need of the community around the Edapally plants. Wards 38, 39, 40 & 41 of Kalamassery Municipality, which is in the close proximity of CUMI EMD was selected for our CSR project.

Need Assessment

A need assessment survey was conducted in the above 4 wards, covering 1074 houses, with the help of an agency. Those houses which are found to be in the Higher Income Group were excluded from the survey. The survey which was done in April 2010 brought out a long pending wish list from the people. They included a bridge, a new road, a health center, medical assistance for the elderly, a system to dispose their house hold waste, education support for children etc. After assessment, it was found that majority want a solution to their solid waste disposal. Education support for the children was the next popular need. We have decided to work on Solid Waste Management and Child Sponsorship.

The CSR project: People in the surveyed wards are staying in small plots and this is a thickly populated area, without any space for disposing their daily kitchen waste. Municipality was also finding it difficult to find a solution. 

If the project is not implemented and monitored properly, it will not give the desired results and will not reach the beneficiary. When we at Corporate world chase the numbers every day, top line, bottom line and margins hang above our head CSR will always find lowest position in our priority list. To Overcome this, we roped in a reputed Social work/ community development agency who did the survey for us. Two projects- Solid Waste Management & Child Sponsorship projects- are now implemented in EMD.

The Solid Waste Management project was planned in 3 stages. 

  • In the first stage, Bio Gas plants will be provided to 100 beneficiaries. Each Bio gas plant will cost Rs10,500/- out of which CUMI will pay Rs8500/- Beneficiary has to pay Rs2000/-. These bio gas plants will work with kitchen waste and is very simple to operate. House wives can keep their waste in a bucket, dilute it next day and pour it to the plant. It can accommodate up to 4kg of solid waste and provide gas to work for 1.5 hours every day. The plant occupies only 1sq m space. The slurry formed out of this plant is excellent manure. Through this they can save 30-40% LPG and can have a clean environment.
  • In 2nd stage, for households which do not have space to accommodate a bio gas plant, vermin pots will be provided. Each vermin pot will cost Rs.600/- out of which Rs 500/- will be paid by CUMI. These Vermin pots will generate vermin compost which will be collected for a common project. 50 vermin pots are planned in this stage.
  • In 3rd stage, for people who could not afford a bio gas plant or vermin pot ,a system to collect daily waste will be implemented.

Implementation  and Stakeholder Engagement

A development committee Is formed to implement and monitor the project. The development committee consists of local municipal councilors, resident’s Association representatives, officials of Rajagiri Out reach and CUMI volunteers who include union leaders. The committee meets every month to assess the progress and scrutinize the applications for sponsorships. A separate bank account is opened for this project and fund is transferred to this. Before release of fund, expenditure till date is audited.

A 3 member Inspection team formed out of CUMI volunteers of which 2 are union leaders. The inspection team visit premises of bio gas installations and collect feedback and ensure regular functioning and service. 

Way Forward

Installation of 100 bio gas plants and 16 vermin pots completed as on 31 Dec 2011. Request for more installation bio gas plant for new beneficiaries will also be considered.

As per the child sponsorship project, 50 children studying in classes from 3rd to 7th were selected for sponsorship. They will be eligible for study materials, uniform, after school hours care/support, personality development sessions etc.

When the LPG prices go up, we could see the smiling faces of 100 families, who thankfully acknowledge the contribution of CUMI in reducing their LPG expenses and keeping their environment clean. We could also see the ray of hope in the faces of 50 parents, built around the dreams of 50 children.

Accolades

Kerala Management Association has chosen CUMI-EMD for Management Excellence Awards 2012 for its commitment towards Corporate Social Responsibility. 

Murugappa Group