Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) refers to the action that companies take as a part of their responsibility for their impact on society. It provides numerous benefits like cost savings, risk management, customer relationships, human resource management and innovation capacity. Apparel manufacturing and retail industry are two such important segments where CSR strategies play a major role. In line with this, what are your most prominent CSR strategies and how are they working for the firm?
Rajendra Agarwal, Mentor, Grado
As an industry, textile manufacturing is brimming with innovation – processes complying to boost efficiency, machines being revamped and automation ruling the roost. While these are important, the environmental sustainability angle is also of prime importance.A lot of these CSR avenues can stem from the company through reducing the carbon footprint and prudent environmentally conscious investments. For example, our Surat plant has invested in robust solar panels as a source of alternate energy, and our Amritsar plant has a stringent effluent water treatment cycle.I think one of the most important things is education – at shop floor level in the plant through all touchpoints and till the end customer. It’s important that we consolidate our efforts spanning the demand–purchase cycle to truly chime in and play our part for the ‘better good’.Apart from this, the support of the system is required for improving labour policies and participating in fair trade.
Madhu Sudhan Bhageria, MD, Filatex
We, at Filatex India Ltd., always believe in giving back to the society from where it draws its resources by extending helping hand to the underprivileged through our CSR activities. Our company has incurred expenses on CSR aggregating to Rs. 63.48 lakh as compared to Rs. 19.38 lakh in the previous year.
The focus areas of our CSR activities this year were education and health initiatives, infrastructure development in rural areas (like construction of community centres and drinking water facilities). We also took measures for reducing inequalities faced by socially and economically backward groups, as well as empowering women and children among many others.
CSR helps build trust, raise awareness and encourage social change. For this, Filatex carries out the following activities:
- For empowering women and children, Filatex India has made contributions in Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana.
- For making safe drinking water available, the company has been distributing water coolers and dispensers.
- With regard to measures being taken up to reduce inequalities faced by socially and economically backward groups, donations are being made to Utkarsh Mahila Mandal and Bharat Rashtra Mahila Gruh Udhyog.
- For promotion of education and sports, chairs, printers, coolers, food donations are being given to schools along with purchasing of cricket kits and also sponsoring police athletic meet.
- For promoting health, contribution is being made by Filatex for ambulance use; also contributions are being given to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Yuva Uthan Sanstha.
- For Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, Filatex is promoting gardening work in villages, public toilets and bathrooms apart from encouraging cleaning work in villages through diesel operated sweeping and cleaning machine.
Mohit Dhanjal, Director – Retail, Raymond
At Raymond, we have integrated CSR as a part of our organisational strategy and it is now embedded into the DNA of our business. This ensures that we don’t just ‘do’ CSR, we ‘live’ it in our day-to-day life. A case in point is our initiative to revive and build the world’s first sustainable tailoring ecosystem. Raymond, an iconic brand, continues to lead the fabric category for over 9 decades; however, our consumers don’t just buy the fabric but also convert the same into their own stylised and personalised ensemble. This is brought alive by master craftsmen called ‘Tailors’ or ‘Masterji’ and they have been dressing ‘The Complete Man’ for over 90 years. Over the past 3 years, we have integrated the tailoring strategy into our business and delivered the promise of building the world’s first Sustainable Tailoring Ecosystem through a well-defined 4C programme which has been explained below:
- Capability: Raymond has set up world-class centre of tailoring excellence to upgrade the tailor’s skills since there is no school that he/she can attend. Centre of Excellence (CoE) at Thane, Mumbai is one-of-its-kind tailoring institute in India.
- Capacity: With our vision to create a sustainable tailoring ecosystem with enhanced and stable income opportunity for tailors, we flagged off the initiative of setting Tailoring Hubs in 2014 and launched our first tailoring hub at Patna.
- Connect: Building a connect with the tailoring community and making sure that there is dignity of labour and profession, we drive various initiatives like World Tailor’s Day on 28 February, and annual talent hunt ‘Kaun Banega Master Stylist’ which is about recognising the best Master Tailors in India.
- Consumer: For the convenience of customers, we have launched an online tailoring platform – raymondtailoring.com – an online service, wherein at the click of a button, a customer can choose to book a stylist as per his convenience.
Rishabh Oswal, Director, Oswal Woollen Mills Ltd.
Our company had constituted the CSR Committee as per the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013. Monte Carlo Fashions Limited had decided to carry out its CSR activities through consortium formed by its group companies. The CSR activities of the group companies are being done through Oswal Foundation, Ludhiana, which is a registered Charitable Society. Till date, Oswal Foundation has done various CSR activities in the field of education, environmental sustainability as well as in the medical field also on behalf of consortium of our group companies. Various facilities such as construction of classrooms, students’ uniforms and furniture in classrooms were provided to various Government schools in and around Ludhiana. Currently, CSR activities are being done mostly in the medical field for poor and needy people through organised Charitable Medical Institution. Last year, Oswal Foundation also installed mobile toilets (bio digesters) as a part of the Swachh Bharat mission.
Loganathan Kalimuthu, Managing Director, AKR Textiles
We recently converted into a public limited company and started CSR activities from this year only. We are planning to do more for our workers’ children’s education. We will fund the students who score better marks and who need financial support for their higher education. We will be spending around 3 per cent of our profits in CSR activities.
We are also planning plantation of trees and cleaning of canals in and around Tirupur. We have joined hands with a local NGO and are funding them to help them work for a greener environment.
Our primary focus would still be on children’s education. This year, we’ve planned to support minimum 50-60 students going for higher education from 10th or 12th grade and college education. We are also planning similar activities in our other factory located in Bangalore.