Huntsman has been enriching lives through innovation, by developing solutions that create value for stakeholders today and also provide for vibrant future generations. The company initiated its CSR programs in 2011 with an emphasis on Education, Health, Environment, Agriculture, Livelihood and Skill Development. And, across all these programs, Huntsman’s topmost priority continues to be the safety of the communities that it operates in.
In an interview with Rusen Kumar, Editor, India CSR; Rayomand Sabawalla, Finance Director at Huntsman International India Pvt Ltd. sharing how Huntsman India contributes to society under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
What are Huntsman’s CSR initiatives envision for India?
Huntsman believes in sustainable development and creating value today while assuring a vibrant tomorrow. The company’s CSR philosophy focuses extensively on empowerment and sustainability, going beyond charity or philanthropy. The company believes in making the world a better place to live in, by giving back to society and supporting causes to help better local schools, neighborhoods, and healthcare facilities, among other things. Huntsman’s overall aim to improve life shapes the core of its CSR policy.
Our efforts are driven to focus on the holistic development of the community where we operate. Sustainability at Huntsman starts on our shop floor and ends out in the world in which we live. Our goal is Zero Harm and our Horizon 2025 targets ensure that the journey towards Zero Harm remains our highest priority. The targets keep us focused on providing a safe and healthy workplace for Huntsman associates, in addition to securing our position as a leading business that contributes towards a sustainable future. Our CSR initiatives in India are envisioned towards ameliorating the quality of life, by addressing concerns related to education, health, and the environment. We believe in restoring dignity into the lives of the people, who we approach through these CSR activities.
What are the major contribution areas?
At Huntsman, the major contribution areas are education, environment and health, which build towards our overall goal of creating a positive impact on society. Our belief in empowering people with education led us to the Anandi initiative. Launched in 2011, the campaign aimed to develop a life for local villagers through, enhanced school facilities, improved teaching methods, better water facilities, and enhanced livelihoods for farmers and herdsmen. We are also committed to sustainability and protecting the natural environment, with a focus on improving the environmental footprint of our customers through innovative and sustainable product solutions. Furthermore, we organize awareness campaigns in rural areas, where people have limited access to reliable sources of information regarding good health practices and health issues that could affect them.
In addition to all of the above, our CSR pillars at Huntsman India focus on:
Education: Facilitating learning and acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, morals, beliefs, and habits that will help equip children with the tools necessary to build a brighter future. We believe every child has the right to education and want to ensure education access to a maximum number of children.
Health: Primary care and medical support for members of society that have limited access to quality healthcare.
Livelihood & skill development: Contributing towards this endeavour by promoting and creating opportunities for those in need to enhance their skills and confidence
Rural development: Working with rural communities and partnering with them requires both, an in-depth understanding of the village-level issues and enabling solutions. We envision empowering every individual across rural India to lead a more secure, prosperous and dignified life.
Environment: Modern stakeholder theories have identified the environment as a silent stakeholder. Protection and conservation of the environment is not only a moral obligation but also essential to ensure business continuity.
Disaster management: Organization’s participation under this umbrella ensures activities are sustainable, holistic and aims to improve the socio-economic conditions of the community at large. Interventions have had a positive impact on the development of direct beneficiaries and also enhanced the quality of life for those present in the impact area.
How has your approach towards CSR changed post the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the social sustainability and well-being of humankind have become a key focus of the company. To tackle the shortage of medical supplies that are essential to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Huntsman ramped up its production and procurement of products, required by medical facilities around the world. Keeping in mind the current scenario, we also try to be helpful by providing sanitizers, masks, PPE kits and other essentials.
What initiatives have you taken for COVID-19 relief and recovery in India?
Huntsman provided 15,000 surgical gloves, 10,000 3-ply masks, 200 liters of sanitizer, 100 face shields, 50 PPE kits and foot-controlled sanitizer dispensers to the Divisional Drug Store and Deputy Director Health Services board in Pune. Huntsman also contributed 20,000 units of essential medical equipment to frontline warriors in Mumbai, Pune, Chakan and villages near Baroda. 50 beds and other essentials were also contributed to the Covid-19 care center of Padra, Baroda. The company also set up mobile medical vans in Navi Mumbai and Pune, which provided free healthcare facilities to over 25,000 people focusing on the slum areas and was the sole medical help available to the community at the time of total lockdown.
Huntsman joined hands with Fulcrum to identify and assess critical areas amidst the current outbreak, to support and take necessary action. In joint efforts we discovered 200 families of migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar who were stuck in two villages in Gujarat, Luna, and Umraya, facing a dearth of necessities such as daily meals. Huntsman thereby provided 253 ration kits which were sufficient for 1012 migrant workers.
Along with this, we have also set up a medical facility at PHC, Chaka which will cater to over one lakh people from 34 villages in and around the region. It will offer antenatal check-ups for pregnant women and routine outpatient department services. The facility, which is spread across a massive 3,500 square feet, will also be utilized as a waiting area for people who visit the center for Covid-19 vaccinations.
During the peak lockdown, we also operated a medical mobile van in and around certain areas of Mumbai. The medical van proved to be the only help that was available to the needy, while the entire city was fighting the deadly waves of the pandemic.
What are your plans concerning CSR initiatives?
Our plan concerning CSR initiatives remains focused on helping communities across India, including those around our facilities and operating areas. Our groundwork will focus on further understanding the unique challenges that sections of society face and sharing curated solutions to help alleviate their concerns in the best possible ways. We will persevere in improving the lives of healthcare, migrant, and disadvantaged workers, by helping them meet their basic needs. We will continue to expand our community projects on education, and livelihood projects like animal husbandry, agriculture, water, and sanitation in these areas.
We aim to improve the infrastructure of Zilla Parishad schools, other primary and secondary schools, including building/upgrading sanitation facilities in such schools. We additionally aim to improve the quality of teachers in primary and secondary schools and ensure that the dropout rates in these schools reduce. Other key drivers include basic primary health infrastructure across rural areas and the 2nd medical van, which will soon be operational near Chakan, catering to as many as 24 villages around the area.
Our ‘Badlav’ and ‘Anandi’ projects are all catered to improve agriculture, sustainable farming and livelihood for the rural regions. All the plans we implement have a positive sustainable and environmental outlook as imbibed in Huntsman’s culture.
Huntsman through its’ continued initiatives hopes to reiterate its commitment to supporting communities and in helping individuals emerge from their situations stronger and together.
About the Author
Rusen Kumar is the founder and managing editor of India CSR – The CSR Informer of India. He writes on CSR, Sustainability and Environmental affairs. He brings an understanding of governance, leadership development, social development, human development, and strategic focus by serving for-profit and not-for-profit boards and as an advisor to chief executive officers and executive management members. His leadership accomplishments in social enterprise, planning, and governance range from viable achievements in knowledge forum initiatives to advancement of corporate social responsibility issues in India. He can be reached at email@example.com. Read more about Rusen Kumar