Creating larger societal value
The communities living around ACC´s operations are the key stakeholders of the organisation. The company actively assists these communities in identifying, prioritising and meeting their developmental aspirations. It has adopted participatory community self-reliance initiatives across its sites in India by creating forums such as community advisory panel (CAP) which acts as a platform for the community, local district administration, NGOs and other opinion groups to come together and implement projects. The panels have proven to be valuable in presenting stakeholder views, review the progress of community projects, obtain timely feedback from stakeholders, and ensuring appropriate delivery of plan initiatives in a participatory method.
New CSR policy
In 2013, ACC revisited its CSR policy in view of the emerging regulatory framework. ACC´s Board constituted a CSR committee to particularly focus on guiding and monitoring of CSR initiatives of the company.
According to Pratyush Panda, Head - CSR, ACC, a wide range of social development initiatives were undertaken in partnership with local communities, government and non-government organisations. ´The initiatives reached out to people residing around ACC´s operational areas as well as to various disasters hit areas around the country. Focus of these initiatives were mainly on enhancing literacy and education for community, preventive health and sanitation, livelihood, employability and income generation, women empowerment, augmentation of community infrastructure, environment and other CSR initiatives such as promotion of local arts, culture and sports,´ he says.
During 2013, ACC´s community development initiatives mainly focused on 132 villages, having a population of 0.6 million, located primarily around its 14 plants.
Education for society´s future
´ACC´s initiatives in education benefited 18,380 children in the neighbourhood communities. It has established schools at all its locations, where employees´ children and those from surrounding communities are provided quality education,´ says Panda. Management of these schools is outsourced to reputed educationists, thereby ensuring that the schools maintain high standards of education. Since most plants are situated in remote hinterlands, the ACC schools are at once the most accessible and invariably among the best in the region. The schools are supported by providing funds and infrastructure for initial construction, meeting a part of the teachers´ salaries and up-gradation activities.
ACC continued to support seven Government-run Industrial Training Institutes (ITI), under a Public Private Partnership scheme (PPP), through a joint initiative with the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India. Its support focuses on enhancing the skills and employability of the students passing out of these institutes by upgrading the quality of education offered there.
ACC also runs two technical training institutes of its own, both of which enjoy considerable repute as centres providing technical training. The Sumant Moolgaokar Technical Institute (SMTI) at Kymore was first established in 1949 to train young men in specialized trades to become artisans, foremen and first line supervisors. It had its own independent curriculum and certification. Since 2008, the institute works with a revised objective of complementing the education received by engineering diploma trained candidates. In 2013, SMTI trained 120 young men through an 18 month course as Diesel Mechanic-cum-Fitter and Electrical Instrumentation. The other institute managed by it is the ACC Cement Technology Institute (ACTI) which offers specialized technical training to young engineering graduates. ACTI trained 166 boys and 32 girls during the year with both class room and practical trainings in operation and maintenance of cement plants.
The thrust in this respect comprises promoting health, women´s empowerment and creating livelihoods. These initiatives benefited more than 109,000 people directly while twice as many people were indirect beneficiaries.
Promoting health: Panda elaborates on AAC´s initiatives on promoting health. ´Health being one of the prime concerns of the community and critical for general wellbeing of ACC´s stakeholders, significant initiatives were undertaken in this domain. Total 109,450 people benefited from our various health and nutrition related initiatives.´ ACC´s health initiatives mainly focus on preventive health of the community. Active awareness campaigns are undertaken to enhance communities understanding about various disease prevention and healthy ways of living. Regular preventive health support to the community is reached out through health camps and mobile health vans. Most of these plant sites are situated in remote parts of the country, with little access to adequate healthcare and medical services. ACC supports the local administration in promoting national health campaigns on important issues such as malaria, prevention and immunisation and DOTS. During 2013, 3,273 general and special health camps were conducted to reach out preventive care to community members. In addition, regular support to the ACC hospitals support was also extended to various government Primary Health Care centres and Community Health Care centres.
Special initiatives in healthcare and nutrition are taken for women and children in coordination with health authorities. Communities are mobilised to participate in programmes for immunisation, anti natal care, post natal care and birth spacing methods. Iron folic acid tablets were provided to prevent anemia among pregnant mothers and adolescent girls.
´The support to Anganwadi initiative would be one such example. Anganwadis are integral part of Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) that plays a vital role in rural areas for overall development of children as well as support to pregnant and lactating mothers. ACC provided support to 132 Anganwadis that are serving the host communities. This has resulted in better supply and use of government´s medicine supplies through AWC which has direct impact on infant and maternal mortality,ö explains Panda.
Other support activities included health and accidental insurance for Self Help Group (SGH) members and drivers in ACC´s supply chain, subsidised ambulance facility to villagers for their emergency needs and subsidised hospitalization of villagers.
Women´s empowerment: Various initiatives are pursued to promote skill building and income generating schemes for local women groups. Women SHGs are imparted relevant training in their selected livelihoods and supported in the establishment of micro-enterprises. As many as 737 SHGs were organised during the year. Members of these new as well as old SHGs were provided training for group cohesiveness, book-keeping, product development, marketing of the products, market linkages, bank linkages and exposure to best practices in SHG functioning. Some of these groups have initiated their own micro enterprises. Through bank linkages and inter- loaning, these members generated a total savings of Rs 1.52 crore.
ACC AHEAD (Association for Health, Education and Development), the volunteering wing of the company´s ladies clubs at all plants, set up in 2008, continued to support social volunteering and community programmes with special emphasis on empowering women. The group has been successful in creating livelihood opportunities for numerous community women in the areas of tailoring, embroidery, knitting, making masala, pickles, fancy bags, gloves and in making, disposable cups and plates.
Livelihood and employability: ´ACC believes in empowerment of people and assisting them in sustainability of their livelihood, as that will make the community self-reliant and increase their self-respect,´ says Panda. During the year, ACC´s various initiatives in this direction benefited 17,288 people. Under its employability initiatives, it supported training of 3,579 youth from poor families in the host community, of which, 2,501 persons were placed with various employers enabling a similar number of families to live above poverty line.
Building infrastructure for liveable neighborhoods
ACC plays a vital role in facilitating the creation and maintenance of basic infrastructure around all its operations such as roads, safe drinking water, deepening of ponds, and repairs to schools, Anganwadi and other community amenities. ACC makes every possible effort to make these basic necessities available to the neighbourhood communities, according to Panda.
Wherever needed, NGO partners join in to ensure quality execution of the projects. Efforts are also taken to bring benefits of government schemes for the welfare of village communities. Previously, ACC´s initiatives for infrastructure development benefited 435,392 people. Each plant contributed in creation of water harvesting structures and installation of hand pumps for drinking water. Excavation of pond for irrigation and other water uses, directly and indirectly benefited 272,418 people, whereas drinking water initiatives benefited 72,294 people.
Disaster response initiatives
ACC´s disaster relief support initiatives in these disaster affected areas of Uttarakhand and Maharashtra benefited 8,703 people. Uttarakhand faced devastation during disastrous flash floods in June 2013. ACC´s Disaster Response Team (DRT) reached out to affected villages in Uttarkashi region. 24 volunteers from various units of north region joined hands with Sales Unit, Dehradun. ACC´s DRT provided relief to the people through ACC Mobile Health Unit, doctors, nurses and pharmacists, along with safe drinking water, food and clothing.
CSR activities ACC´s corporate social responsibility helps the company in various ways. From building a more motivated workforce to becoming a sustainable entity, ACC aligns its initiatives keeping in mind its goals. Some such examples are as below:
Alternate fuels & raw materials (AFR): The concept of AFR involves substituting mainstream non-renewable fuel resources like coal with replenishable alternate fuels. A subsidiary activity of AFR is waste co-processing which is basically a means of waste management. Under the mainstream AFR activities, currently the Gagal plant is using mill scale (a reject from steel rolling mills) as a substitute for iron ore.
A few of waste management initiatives undertaken by ACC are as follows:
Maddukrrai Solid Waste Management Initiative: ACC Maddukarrai Cement Works in association with the local Panchayat, and NGO Hand in Hand/SEED Trust launched the ´Clean & Green Madukkarai´. The vision behind the initiative was to make Madukkarai a plastic and garbage-free community by 2015.
Team Madukkarai also plans to set up a bio-gasifier plant which consumes the bio-waste and produce methane gas which will be converted to electricity. This electricity will be used for lighting the local street lamps.
Co-processing of pine needles as alternative fuel at Gagal: Every year, particularly during the summer months, large numbers of such fires create havoc in the forests of the sub Himalayas. Forest fires cause immense loss of nutrient, organic material from the soil, damage to soil micro-organisms, change in soil structure, destruction of plantations and local extermination of small animals and plants.
One of the main reasons of the fire spreading to a large region is the presence of large spreads of dry leaves and wood at the bottom of the forest cover. ACC Gagal proposed a workable solution to AK Thakur, DFO of Suket Forest Division, to permit the company´s CSR team along with local villagers to collect pine needles (locally called Chalaru) for co-processing in the cement kiln at Gagal.
Green Building Centres (GBC)
The ACC GBC is designed to be a state-of-the-art one-stop-shop for housing expertise which will offer locally produced, eco-friendly, easy-to-use and reasonably priced construction products.
oVisitors to the centre get a first-hand glimpse of locally produced and reasonably priced construction products, with ready access to knowledge and training on how to use and apply these products in a rural context. The ACC GBC comes fully equipped with a quality control laboratory. The centre also has equipment which enables builders to manufacture the products on their own and thus achieve further savings,ö says Panda.
ACC has collaborated with architects and experts who can provide consultations regarding the project, product detail, application and design.
ACC associates with well-established enterprises as well as NGOs to promote local entrepreneurial talent. While the entrepreneur is responsible to manage the centre, ACC supports the venture by providing its branded products backed with proven technical expertise. The entrepreneur runs it as a business and thus has an incentive to work for its success, creating local jobs along the way. This helps in the development of talent among the local rural population. The materials available at the ACC GBC are produced from local resources and incorporate waste materials like fly ash, helping to reduce its carbon footprint significantly and in preserving earth´s natural resources, while simultaneously keeping costs down.
ACC´s stellar employees
ACC´s understands that CSR activities go a long way in building relationships. ACC has a large workforce of about 9,000 people, comprising experts in various disciplines assisted by a dedicated workforce of skilled persons. ACC employees, referred to as the ACC parivar, come from all parts of the country and belong to a variety of ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds. This helps ACC in connecting better with various communities across the country and to understand their needs. The dedication of the employees to pursue the CSR goal of the company reflects the special stellar qualities they possess. This has led to ACC employees being recognized as ´value-adding´ human capital in the industry.
Pratyush Panda, Head - CSR, ACC
ACC believes in empowerment of people and assisting them in sustainability of their livelihood, as that will make the community self- reliant and increase their self-respect.