| CSR activities in brief
Corporate Social Responsibility
Pg. 41, Annual Report
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in your Company is rooted in its Corporate Purpose - the belief that "to succeed requires the highest standards of corporate behaviour towards our employees, consumers and the societies and world in which we live". The strong 75 year plus legacy of the Company has seen us evolve with India as much in Corporate Social Responsibility as in business.
The CSR philosophy of the Company is embedded in its commitment to all stakeholders-consumers, employees, the environment and the society. Your Company believes that it is this commitment which will deliver competitive, profitable and sustainable growth. Your Company has made significant progress on the environment front over the past few years.
The water usage per tonne has been reduced by more than 32% in its own manufacturing operations against a baseline of 2004. There has been a good improvement with many more units adopting rain water harvesting as a way of life. More than 50% of our own manufacturing units have a rain water harvesting facility. As on date, five Company units return more water to ground than being consumed by them.
The energy consumption and CO per unit of production since 2004 has also come down by 38% and 28% respectively. We have exceeded the target of 25% reduction by 2012 in CO (Green House gases) in 2 manufacturing operations per tonne of production against a baseline of 2004.
Your Company has initiated works in the area of sustainable agriculture sourcing for Tea, Fruits & Vegetables and Palm oil. This is part of the Global initiative, where your Company is leveraging Unilever global expertise in this area.
In tea, we are working closely with key producers (in both North and South India) and Rainforest Alliance, an international certification body in the area of sustainable agriculture. Nine tea estates in the Niligiris, Tamil Nadu and ten tea estates in Assam were certified Sustainable Estates by Rainforest Alliance in 2008 and 2009. Work is currently on in another 52 tea estates located in Assam and Darjeeling and these estates will undergo certification audits in 2010. In 2009, we sourced 5,000 tonnes of Tea from Rainforest Alliance in India.
The Company has started developing Indian producers for Tomato paste. We are working closely with key producers and the initiatives include water conservation, use of authorised pesticides, land conservation and improvement of farmer income.
In the area of Health and Hygiene, during the Swine Flu epidemic, 'Lifebuoy' undertook rallies in key effected cities, where the message of the importance of hand washing was emphasised, in preventing Swine Flu. 'Lifebuoy' also distributed leaflets in schools, explaining the importance of hand washing, and the different occasions where hands must be washed with soap, so as to prevent infection.
The Brand partnered with the Government of Tamil Nadu and organised a massive event on Global Hand Washing Day (15th October, 2009) wherein out of 47,000 children that washed their hands on that day, 15,000 washed their hands in perfect harmony to stake claim to the Guinness record for the most people washing their hands simultaneously. Additionally, more than 3,00,000 Swine flu leaflets were distributed in schools.
Your Company started the Sankalp initiative of employee volunteering in the 75th year of its existence in India. In 2008 our employees undertook volunteering and community service totaling more than 48,000 hours against a target of 27,375 hours. In 2009 we have achieved more than 1,15,000 hours of volunteering.
Your Company has been undertaking CSR activities in Dadra and Nagar Haveli since 2004. Vanarai started work in Dadra Nagar Haveli area in April 2004 initially in village Karchond with financial support and active involvement of Company's personnel and subsequently in Dapada, Pati, Sindoni at Silvassa.
The impact of the programme was:
# 6,76,40,990 litres of water has been harvested since 2004.
# Additional income worth Rs. 1,67,34,854 accrued to villagers during the project period.
# 60 families, which used to seasonally migrate to nearby towns, have stabilised.
# 325 families have been benefited under various programmes of the project.
# 130 families use public toilet facility, 20 families have their own toilets.
# Soil conservation treatment on 282 hectares of land.
# 12,000 mango seedlings have been planted. Survival percentage is 85% and 25% plants have started fruiting.
# 22 bore wells and 20 open wells were recharged by using water from Vanarai Bunds.
Sanitation, malnutrition, water scarcity and lack of health education are just some of the challenges that plague Developing & Emerging (D&E) markets like India. This needs to be addressed by Corporate, Government and Civil Bodies collectively.
There are increasing expectations of corporations from stakeholders-public, society, NGOs, customers, investors, employees and governments, regulators to contribute to sustainable development.
A proactive CSR strategy allows companies to understand stakeholder expectations, shape the agenda and build a response into business planning and strategy. Without it, companies risk 'fighting fires' in ad hoc and costly manners. Evidence across the world shows a strong correlation between socially responsible business practices and business success; access to markets and capital, cost savings, risk management, quality workforce, brand value and reputation.
This is increasingly being reflected in the value associated by investors. Since inception the corporate purpose and the Code of Business Principles of your Company have set ground for corporate responsibility.
As a part of the Company's initiatives in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility, your Company has promoted a new Section 25 Company 'Hindustan Unilever Vitality Foundation' to work in the areas of social, economic and environment development.
Your Company will be releasing its first 'Sustainable Development Report' this year, which will articulate Company's governance on Environment and Social development. The 'Sustainable Development Report' will share your Company's long term commitments on sustainable development with measurable goals and governance structures.
United Nations reports that people need a minimum of 50 litres of water a day for drinking and other basic needs. In India, more than 50% of the population lives on less than 10 litres of water a day. Approximately 70% of the total water is consumed by the agriculture sector. India is an agri-economy, and as its population grows, there will be an increase in water consumption by the agriculture sector. These issues are likely to be exacerbated by climate change, making access to water an issue for farmers and society.
We have identified water conservation as an issue we would like to focus our energies on. We are working in close partnership with our stakeholders to conserve precious drops of water. Water management has been a key area of focus for HUL across the entire value chain.
We are also engaged in community projects to conserve water. We aim to conserve more than 20 billion litres of water by 2015.
We will conserve water by working on a wide range of locally relevant initiatives and partnerships for water conservation and spread awareness about the issue amongst our consumers and communities.
We are working with specialised NGO partners in the field of water conservation, and use various models with specific performance indicators and evaluation procedures. We began this journey seven years ago to build our learning. Since then, we have been engaged in successful projects on water conservation across different terrains in India which face acute shortage of water.
Successful water conservation pilot projects
Seven years ago, our team from the Khamgaon factory started a pilot watershed management project, on a five hectare plot, to prevent soil degradation and to conserve water. The selectedarea was located in a dry and arid region of Maharashtra. The efforts have resulted in the creation of a green belt, which is now a veritable forest with about 6,300 trees. Encouraged by the results, we extended the model to a neighbouring village, Parkhed, in association with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)and BAIF Development Research Foundation. The community at Parkhed constructed 47percolation bunds, 1,600 trenches, 6,000 running metres of continuous contour trenching over 100 hectares and five permanent check dams. More than 350 families are reaping the second crop, which is made possible by the check dams.
The total land under cultivation during the second crop season is approximately 470 acres. The annual income of the farmers in the vicinity of the five check dams has increased from an average of INR 36,000 to approximately INR 85,000, per farmer. This success has been attributed to the availability of well water during the Rabi season and an increase in the water level during the Kharif season. Hence, along with reaping a Rabi crop, the farmers have also been able to almost double the yield of the Kharif crop. This initiative received appreciation at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development.
In April 2004, Vanarai and HUL started a project in Karchond and later in Dapada, Pati, Sindoni, and Silvassa. Till March 2010, the project has made an impact on water and soil conservation. The project has ensured sustainable development of water and land resources, locals have attained self-sufficiency in basic needs of food, water, fodder and fuel, and local employment opportunities have been generated through increased economic activity.
The other highlights are:
- More than 67 million litres of water have been harvested since 2004.
- Additional income of INR 160 lakhs was accrued to villagers during project period.
- 325 families have benefited under various programmes, 130 families now have access to the public toilet facility.
- Soil conservation treatment has been carried out on 282 hectares of land.
- 12,000 mango seedlings have been planted.
- 22 bore wells and 20 open wells were recharged.
In 2008-09, HUL's Puducherry unit partnered with DHAN Foundation, Madurai and identified eight village ponds for renovation to enhance the water availability. One of the unique aspects of the project was to form social capital by organizing villagers into pond association and empower them to execute the physical renovation work. The pilot project has improved water availability in eight village ponds by harvesting monsoon run-off. Rainwater harvesting storage of 22300 cu. meter has fulfilled the multiple domestic needs of 4519 households in eight hamlets and 346 acres are now irrigated due to the rejuvenation of ground water.
The project is aimed at community upliftment through its social, economic and environment-related activities in partnership with leading NGOs Aide et Action and Vanarai.
HUL in partnership with Aide et Action has set up iLEAD centers for youth in Silvassa offering vocational courses like tailoring, basic computers, electrical wiring etc. The Centre will train 1080 youths in 3 years covering 72 villages of Silvassa.
As of now, 60% of the trained students have been successfully placed in different organisations in the region. Young women like Vimala Chatta, who is a Class 2 dropout, today earns INR 3000 a month because of the tailoring skills she picked up in an iLEAD course.Deepak Pargi learnt how to use Photoshop and started his own photo studio at Surangi.
The short term courses offered by iLEAD are attuned to the demands and needs of the industry leading to more relevant employment opportunities, thus leading to higher returns. This is a win-win model for local communities and businesses. What is remarkable is that the youth from the iLEAD programme are pitching in by mobilising new trainees, and providing necessary counselling about taking up jobs outside their village through an alumni association they set up! Youngsters are also given necessary space and advice when they want to establish their own enterprises.
Apart from capability building, HUL in association with an NGO, Vanarai, has embarked on a long-term project of water harvesting, which is aimed at increasing water availability in the area.
The community has so far built about 157 Vanarai bunds since 2003 when the project was started. This enabled the community to sow a second crop of vegetables, gram and wheat, thereby increasing their annual incomes by approx Rs 35000 – Rs 40000.
Due to improved availability of water, the farmers are able to grow second crop consisting of wheat, pulses, and seasonal vegetables. Continuous Contour Trenches reduced the velocity of water and stops soil erosion. They also reduced soil erosion, increasing moisture holding capacity of soil, increasing its fertility as well as supporting water percolation and ground water recharge. Till date about 14 wells and 17 bore wells have been recharged.
Apart from this, medical / health camps and pulse polio immunisation programme are also conducted in the village. With the objective of improving animal health, animal husbandry and to educate farmers on advance agricultural practices 'krishi melas' were organized which received excellent response.