In this case study for the May-June 2011 issue of The Smart Manager, Mrs. Rajashree Birla, Chairperson, the Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development, writes about what CSR means to the Aditya Birla Group. Read an excerpt below and follow the link to the full case study at the end of the excerpt.
Excerpt from the case study:
In the last two decades, India as a nation has been successful in pulling up a significant number of people from below the poverty line. Unfortunately,
we still have quite a large number of our people living below the poverty line—that is less than US$1.25 a day. This is a problem. The Government of India has an ambitious vision for inclusive growth. There is the overwhelming challenge to improve the lives of the poor. However much it hurts, we have to reckon with the fact that we have the largest concentration of the poor in the world. Today more than ever it is necessary to look into societal issues, and it behoves corporates to proactively partner with the government to see that inclusive growth happens.
At our Group, caring for the underserved is a legacy and an unwritten edict that has been followed by generation after generation.
In the shadow of the Mahatma
Ours is a 120 years-old organization, rooted in history. Our roots go back to the early 1900s and the nation's struggle for freedom. It was during this formative period in history that the legendary Mr GD Birla, my grandfather-in-law, worked shoulder to shoulder with Mahatma Gandhi. While Mahatma Gandhi was passionately engaged in the political freedom of our nation, GD Birla worked with equal obsession for the economic liberation of India. They were thus two sides of the same coin. For more than 25 years, he supported Gandhiji's nationalism with his financial strength.
There developed a special bond between the two—a bond that united them in the pursuit of a common cause, India's freedom. Gandhiji looked upon my grandfather-in-law as his mentor and confidant. He always used to come and stay at our house in New Delhi. It was at the Birla House that on the 30th of January 1948, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse. Even though the void left by Gandhiji could not be filled, the legacy of his trusteeship concept lived on. This meant that a part of your profits should be ploughed back for the larger good of society. Apart from charities such as giving Rs 70,000 for the Aligarh Muslim University to Gandhiji or Rs 200,000 for the Harijans, or Rs 26 lac to Sardar Patel to set up Birla Vishwakarma Mahavidyalaya ( B V M , Baroda), in 1946, GD Birla set up schools and temples. His reasoning was that education is a great leveler, and temples a great unifier.
The philosophy continues
My husband Adityaji fostered this philosophy, taking it a step further and moving his lens to include sustainable livelihood. My son Kumar Mangalam has a zealous, evangelical approach. He has made the philosophy of caring, giving, developing and empowering underserved people as part of our Group's DNA . He feels we have a tremendous responsibility to give back to society, and to make a difference. This has raised the Aditya Birla name to a unique brand that is trusted, respected and admired by its multiple stakeholders.
Read full case study (pdf 1.00mb)
Dr. Pragnya RamGroup Executive President, Corporate Communications & CSRAditya Birla Management Corporation Private LimitedAditya Birla Centre, 1st Floor, 'C' WingS.K. Ahire Marg, WorliMumbai 400 030.
91-22-6652 5000 /2499 5000
Fax: 91-22-6652 5741/ 42