‘We don’t believe in deriving gains from our social work’
Premraj Keshyep, Managing Director, KYB Conmat, talks about how the company was started with sole motive of making the world a better place to live in.
Discuss your company's CSR journey.
Our company is involved in the design, development and manufacture of world-class construction equipment for the infrastructure sector. We had invited noted environmentalist and leader of the Chipko Movement, Sundarlal Bahuguna, for one of our event at our factory outlet at Vadodara. During the get-together, he mentioned that there are several industries which are spreading pollutants in the environment and no one is doing anything to stop it. His words inspired me a lot, and I decided to get into creating awareness and activities to reduce pollution in the environment. This was long before the central government made it mandatory for companies to spend 2 per cent of their gross revenue as a part of their corporate social responsibilities for social causes. Our company contribution is much more than the prescribed 2 per cent. We started our CSR activity in the flied of environment in the year 2007.
What are the key focus areas of your CSR projects?
All our CSR activities can be summed under three broad heads -environment, art and culture, and youth. Under the environment category, we have several initiatives like the 'Plantathon' where we distribute free saplings to residents on June 5, the World Environment Day. We have also been organising environment awareness initiatives at school level. We have already involved more than 100 schools in and around Baroda for this initiative. We have an annual 'Tree Garden Award' which is one of most awaited inter school competition in Vadodara. We also have an important initiative to reducing pollution of lakes and natural reservoirs.
During Ganpati festivals, we started with the idea of setting up 'sat visarjan', where an artificial water tank would be created to immerse the lord near the lake. Later on the water would be treated, recycled and used for watering plants. We started this initiative in the year 2009 and every year, 20 big water tanks are created at various spots of Baroda. In our arts and culture category, we believe in focusing on such art forms which does not have any commercial value. Since the year 2004, we have been organising rangoli competitions which we felt was getting extinct in Baroda. We have also set up an art society called as the HUB through which we organise exhibitions and events for young talented artists. We have been organising this since 2006 and showcased the art work of more than 1000 artists. We also have a programme called 'trial and error' through which we organise around 3-4 events in a year. Under this, the artists are given the freedom to experiment with whichever art form that they may choose without the fear of failing.
We also undertake skill development programmes for young students from technical institutes. Under this activity, a 15-day on-the-job training activity is organised for ITI passouts at our in-house training centre where we provide practical guidance about our technical machines and their workings. Every year we train around 250 students which we aim to scale up to 1000. We have also been supporting 'Prerana', an activity organised by MS University at Vadodara, which encourages and motivates the hearing and the speech impaired students since 2008. We also lend our support for events like 'Paramarsh' and 'Footprints' which are organised to develop leadership and management skills.
What is your company's implementation method of CSR?
We aim to involve all our stake holders - be it our staff, our senior management and even our clients in our CSR activity. For our new recruits, it is compulsory that they get involved in our CSR activity in the first year. We also don't believe in earmarking a budget or a particular team for any of our activity.
Both the company and the community benefit from CSR initiatives. Do you subscribe to this?
Our employees proudly do all the CSR activities with conviction of doing a greater good for the society. More than the monetary compensation, there is always a pride of working for a good company which is doing a difference in the society. Our activities other than creating goodwill have also given us prestigious awards.