Transcending the conventional barriers of business, Aditya Vikram Birla reached out to communities, sending out a clear message — that business is not an end in itself but rather a means to an end. He believed that as a Group we would be failing if we did not provide our poor the means to break out of their poverty.
He subscribed to the trusteeship concept of management. Simply put, in the context of social responsibility, it entails plowing back part of the profits into programmes which result in the larger good of society. He also embedded the concept of sustainable livelihood into it. He ensured that all of our Group Companies were involved in meaningful welfare driven initiatives that distinctly impacted the quality of lives of the weaker sections of society.
Under his stewardship, admirably supported by his wife, Mrs. Rajashree Birla, several innovative projects went on stream. Among these were — providing the rural youth with a chance to shape their future with sustainable employment schemes; education and training; making safe drinking water easily accessible; and health care. Reaching out to physically impaired people who were tremendously disadvantaged and helping enhance their self-esteem, also formed part of his canvas.
Goaded by him, his Group Companies worked in more than 2,000 villages. Through the various projects implemented, he brought about a palpable difference to their lives. More than 60,000 villagers emerged more self-assured, confident and happy at being able to move towards a life of dignity, standing on their own feet and eking out an honest living. In a very understated way he tried to change the face of India's villages. From abject poverty to meeting the necessities of life. From dependence to freedom. From backwardness to progress and from despair to hope. For Mr. Birla, these projects gave him a humble sense of happiness, a way of living his values and, above all, playing a leadership role even as a respectable, caring, corporate citizen.