Col. Prakash Tewari (Retd.) - Group Head CSR & Education , Jindal Steel & Power Ltd.

Your views on CSR and Sustainability.

CSR and Sustainability represent the ways and means through which companies achieve enhanced ethical standards and a balance of Social, Economic and Environment (SEE) imperatives that addresses the concerns and expectations of their stakeholders ranging from Investors, Customers, Suppliers to Community, Government & Environment.
The CSR and Sustainability movements are building an impressive momentum with the support from governments and the investors through Socially Responsible Investing and associated Sustainability indices.
It is now visible that businesses are doing far more than ever before to tackle the sustainability challenge by recognizing social responsibilities, controlling environmental impacts, and creating governance transparency and becoming more accountable to their stakeholders.
However, despite this, CSR and Sustainability approaches are at the infancy stage with relatively few real takers and questionable impact.

On the positive side, success stories from responsible companies confirm that outstanding financial performance is compatible with good sustainability performance.
The driving force for companies to address CSR and Sustainability varies widely in their approaches from instrumental, using responsible practices as a means of maximizing profits to intrinsic, committing the company to uphold its values and principles irrespective of the impact on financial performance. The key business drivers are Brand Value and reputation, Best Companies to work for, Market Positioning, Investors trust and increased shareholders value, Niche market for green products & services
It is becoming clear that leading companies of the future will have missions and strategies to constantly increase shareholder value but as an integral part of those strategies will also recognize and act upon the potential to – Address the interest of all stakeholders rather than few; Create Social Value; Focus towards sustainable development.
Implementation and Mainstreaming of CSR and Sustainability will largely be dependent on top leadership and capabilities of organization to integrate both in overall business strategy and in core operational processes
Key challenges in CSR and Sustainability is to manage entire life cycle right from strategy formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation in an integrated manner and incorporating stakeholder participation. Further, to manage the non-financial risk specifically the brand reputation, license to operate as an integral part of CSR. It will also be a challenge to integrate the environment friendly designs, packaging and other sustainability requirement into products and services.

Activities carried on by your organisation in this front
JSPL follows a focused approach in its CSR strategy. It focuses on three major verticals namely, Education & Training, Health, Water & Sanitation and Community Infrastructure.
JSPL recognize education as one of the building blocks of any nation and consider it as a priority area of its CSR activities. JSPL Foundation is running, Schools, Community Colleges, Technical Training Institute and Higher Education Institutes.
JSPL put all efforts in making health facilities affordable and accessible to the local communities and the society at large. It runs a multi-specialty hospital and provides free treatment to the people below poverty line. It organizes various health camps. Asha-The Hope, a rehabilitation centre to empower physically challenged people and Kishori Express, which provide health education and treatment to adolescent girls are some of the key projects that JSPL Foundation undertakes.
Vatsalya Project under the Health vertical is one of our Flag Ship Project. The project aims to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health in all of ours adopted villages. It reaches out to 42000 villagers through 49 Village Health Volunteers in 38 villages and 35 Vatsalya Centers. We are now scaling up this project to the entire district where we are operating the states of Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha.
“Swach Bharat Abhiyaan” has been whole heartedly endorsed by us setting targets of making villages Open Defecation Free. The project has been launched at various project locations to sensitize people on sanitation and hygiene and people are motivated to construct toilets on their own. Many blocks in supporting villages are now declared Open Defecation Free.
Even as India emerges as an economic force in the world it is important to narrow the rural-urban gap across the country. We have contributed to the forward and backward linkages of the villages in the areas of operation by building roads. More than 10000 meters of roads and drains have been constructed under this initiative.

Smart Cities
India is poised to face a rapid urbanization and the urban population is all set to rise by more than 400 million people by 2050. It is also estimated that in the next 15 years, the urban population will contribute nearly 75% to the India’s GDP.
The Government has identified the need for creating well planned cities that can match and foster this growth. Since then, India has been extremely aggressive in executing its vision of setting up 100 Smart Cities and the cabinet on 29th April 2015 has approved the Centre spending of about INR 1 lakh crores on urban development under two new urban missions — Smart Cities Mission and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation(AMRUT) of 500 cities. The vision is to preserve our traditional architecture, culture & ethnicity while we implement modern technology. These smart cities are currently attracting global investment, will create new job opportunities, improve communications and infrastructure, decrease pollution and ultimately improve the quality of living.
Some of the top challenges will include devising a fool-proof plan to develop smart cities, meaningful public-private partnership, increasing the renewable energy, water supply, effective waste management, traffic management, meeting power demand, urban mobility, ICT connectivity, e-governance, etc., while preparing for new threats that can emerge with implementation of these new technologies.
Activities carried on by you (on a personal level) on CSR front.
At the personal level, I have carried out CSR and Sustainability activities varying from Electrification of villages in North Eastern region through Micro Mini Hydro projects to Rejuvenation of water in Thar deserts through isotropic hydrology. I also run an NGO with an objective of de-addiction to drugs and have personally adopted two children from economically backward area. Please refer attached Brief for more details.

Advice to students planning to make a career in CSR and Sustainability

As the job market continues to grow, finding the ideal profile remains a long shot for most job seekers. And the difficulty rises dramatically when it’s a nascent field like CSR and Sustainability, where the first step often is convincing the company of the business case for what you do. How do you explain to a recruiter that in depth knowledge in sustainability is crucial to the company’s business model? And that your specialization in CSR or Sustainability will help enhance the company’s bottom line while injecting the culture with good corporate citizenship?
Therefore, my advice would be to figure out what it is you want to do and do everything you possibly can to go out and learn about this field. CSR & Sustainability used to be a fairly small, tight-knit community but that circle has grown so big, that that small community has created sub-communities today. You need to be able to figure out if you’re a green building person, an energy efficiency person, a sustainability reporting person or a person to bring change in the lives of people. Specific roles are emerging frequently; find a place to start and develop you further as CSR & Sustainability professional.”

In your career of over three decades, you have been extensively working on social, environmental and educational projects. According to you, what role CSR will play in transforming India?
In the last few years it has been observed that most Greenfield projects have not been able to come in our country. This has been due to agitation by a number of stakeholders. There is distrust between the business and the community and this has led to environmental & resource based conflicts. Though the government has passed new bills like Land acquisition, R&R etc. but the mistrust between the stakeholders remain. In view of the above as on date CSR all over the world is done through brand reputation/ sustainability/ license to operate/ compliance perspective.
I feel that the CSR trend in India are based more on a transactional approach rather than a strategic approach. In all the four perspectives mentioned above it is observed that CSR is based or focused more on reducing the tension between the business and communities and hence CSR is not strategically aligned and fails to identify and prioritize values. The complete process is uncoordinated and philanthropic and not linked to internal and external activities.
Therefore, role of CSR in Transforming India would be to promote concept of ‘leadership with Trust’ working with local communities & other key stakeholders for ensuring continuous & smooth operations
I strongly feel that CSR in India should be based on strategic CSR where we are able to focus on the point of intersection between the business and community rather than tension. Thus both the stakeholders ie business and communities have to understand that both entities are interdependent on each other. This interdependence takes two forms that is a company impinges communities through its operations and external social conditions also influence the corporates. In India successful companies will be those which will be able to differentiate business through strategic CSR.

What are the main CSR activities of Jindal Steel and Power Limited? Would you like to share about any of your CSR project which is the closest to your heart?
JSPL follows a focused approach in its CSR strategy. It focuses on three major verticals namely, Education & Training, Health, Water & Sanitation and Community Infrastructure.
JSPL recognize education as one of the building blocks of any nation and consider it as a priority area of its CSR activities. JSPL Foundation is running, Schools, Community Colleges, Technical Training Institute and Higher Education Institutes.
JSPL put all efforts in making health facilities affordable and accessible to the local communities and the society at large. It runs a multi-specialty hospital and provides free treatment to the people below poverty line. It organizes various health camps. Asha-The Hope, a rehabilitation centre to empower physically challenged people and Kishori Express, which provide health education and treatment to adolescent girls are some of the key projects that JSPL Foundation undertakes.
The project close to my heart is the Vatsalya Project which is also one of our Flag Ship Project. The project aims to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health in all of ours adopted villages. It reaches out to 42000 villagers through 49 Village Health Volunteers in 38 villages and 35 Vatsalya Centers. We are now scaling up this project to the entire district where we are operating the states of Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha.

Vatsalya Program


Our study findings show that about 82% of the women in the intervention villages have had three or more antenatal checkups during their last pregnancy as against 72% in the non-intervention villages. 83% availed the services of the government run health centers. Fifty percent women in the intervention villages have taken at least 100 IFA tablets during their last pregnancy as against 37% women in the non-intervention villages. With the assistance from the Swasthya Sangini, Vatsalya Program could achieve 75% institutional deliveries in the intervention villages as against merely 18% institutional deliveries in the non-intervention villages. Seventy eight percent of the women interviewed from the intervention villages have said that they had gone for a postnatal check-up. The women have given the first milk (Colostrum) to the child and have said that their child had undergone ‘growth monitoring’ at the Anganwadi Center. The overall knowledge of different methods of mitigating diarrhea has also advanced. The proportion of complete immunization among the children in our area is higher. The overall awareness about the different methods of contraception has also increased as compared to the non-intervention villages.
The study findings revealed that 75% of the women were aware about Vatsalya Programme and about 91% have met the Swasthya Sangini. Most of the women mentioned immunization of children, antenatal care, benefits of breast feeding and nutritional need of the mother and the child as the major activities in the Vatsalya Programme. On the question on if the Swasthya Sangini were not there in their villages, what would have been the impact, most have said that they would have lacked all the knowledge the Swasthya Sangini had imparted to them.

Briefly state the positive impacts and achievements of your CSR activities.
We have a very methodical way of making our Annual CSR Plan and Budgets. The social projects are finalized each year for all locations based on the Social Impact Assessment Report, Community Satisfaction Index and Need Assessment. All social projects are based on outcomes with clear cut deliverables with efficiency and effectiveness index. These projects are also aligned to various Government programs through leveraging/ convergence. Thereafter budgets are allotted for each program with monthly cash flows.

Recently we carried out a Socio-Economic Impact Assessment (SEIA) study by NABCONS in all our plants and mines periphery to analyse and document the social and economic changes in the area since our inception. We found that major activity, pursued by people in terms of its share in total income was service followed by crop farming. A large number of people benefitted and the status and income of the people has gone up considerably. The seasonal migration has decreased from about 10 per cent to almost zero. The decreased migration was due to opportunity for livelihood within village. People benefitted from the compensation given as they were able to buy land elsewhere and invest for future as well. The consumption or average expenditure per household has increased with focus on education, health care and clothes, use of motor cycles and maintenance.

CSR activities have also brought a number of social changes and some of them were promotion of community based organisation (Self Help Groups), narrowing down of differences between SCs/STs and others which could be the effect of urbanization and inward migration, reduced extent of child marriage (15 to 2 per cent), reduced school dropout rate (from 10% to less than 5 per cent), improvements in institutional delivery (82%), antenatal care (75%), breast feeding (95%), immunization of children (90%) and reduced child mortality (less than 2 per cent).
In CSR we do developmental activities for improving the Human Development Index by building Institutions like Universities, Engineering Colleges, Hospitals, Schools, and Community Colleges etc. We also do interventions in 220 villages directly for up liftment of the underprivileged and backward people.
The Community Satisfaction study is conducted to identify the needs of the community and come up with an index to assess the progress made so far and gaps in current CSR programs. This helps us in addressing the needs of the community and to identify the level of satisfaction of community with the community investments made by the company.
This year a study was done to analyze the development that has taken place in and around the plant, dam and mines area was done from three broad angles.
The first being the satisfaction of the community (Community Satisfaction Index) to the services offered by JSPL Foundation; followed by an understanding of the Multidimensionality of Poverty (Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index) where it was looked as per social constructs and finally developing an index which provided insights to which village had better development indices (Village Development Index) compared to the others.
The study highlighted that the decrease in the number of BPL (Below Poverty Line) from 663 to 354 in our adopted villages is an indication of possible development that has taken place in the location as a result of the industrialization and also the efforts made by JSPL Foundation and others.

Do you work with any implementation partner? If yes, what qualities do you look for in an implementation partner and whether they have been able to live upto your expectations?
Yes, we work with Government, Private and Corporate Identities/ Organisation. This year we collaborated with HP (Tele-medicine), FHI-360, District Health Administration, National AIDS control organization, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), John Augustus Prison & Social Welfare Services, NABARD, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, SMILE Train India, BASIX, Usha International, Loomba Foundation, CREDA etc.
JSPL Foundation is also the CSR executing arm of Jindal Steel and Power Limited. It aligns its programs with the Government and other developmental agencies with an objective of bringing about a radical transformation in the lives of the communities and integrating them into the mainstream development process of the country.
JSPL Foundation has recently gone beyond its boundaries by committing full support to construct a school in earthquake hit Nepal and rebuild 20 homes in Kashmir ravaged by floods last year.
The Foundation has also launched a set of regional and national awards to recognize and nurture talent at the grassroots level, titled Swayam Siddh Samman. Apart from this, the Foundation has instituted a unique initiative called Swayam Shilp, wherein a series of workshops are being conducted across India thereby providing artists from the tribal hinterland of the country with a national platform..
The vision of the Foundation is reflected in the operations of the JSPL group striving to enhance the quality of life of all the stakeholders through a sustained industrial and business development process.
The Qualities that we look for in an implementation partner is their track record and willingness to share/ emulate the best practices being followed by any organization. In addition we look for proper processes existing for measuring and monitoring the outcomes of any activity. The implementation partner has also to agree on the audits and review that are carried out by our team on regular basis.
Yes, most of the organizations have able to live upto our expectations as we also share and learn from each other. This helps both the organizations in developing world class project management activities for the desired outcomes.

As a CSR professional, what sort of challenges that you come across in your day-to-day operations and how do you tackle with them?

As a CSR professional the challenges that I come across is how to resolve environmental and resource based conflict due to setting up of business at different locations. It has been observed that the local community initially has a minimal role to play in decision making. Thereafter once the project gets started they become one of the major stakeholders thereby putting the project at risk.
Businesses can—and do—impact society both negatively and positively. While businesses provide jobs and can raise the standard of living, they also cause pollution, deforestation, and increase the hazards of global warming. Companies have to find a way to eradicate the ‘ecology or the economy’ mindset and strive for an infrastructure that embraces both. When exploring new sites for development, it’s important for businesses to realise there is a key linkage between ecosystems and human well-being: if a company negatively impacts the former, it negatively impacts the latter.

My way of tackling with them is to ensure that the CSR is strategic in nature. I have to ensure that the CSR plan is aligned to the business drivers. As CSR head one has to ensure that the company lives upto its philosophy of ‘ leadership with care’ gets the license to operate and grow with communities by ensuring improved quality of life of rehabilitated communities. The task also envisages relationship with competitors, regulators and government so as to contribute to assure our investors of our growth plans. The challenge also lies in creating an environment where CSR is provided to offer a competitive advantage by building relationships with various stakeholders by co-creating caring solutions.
Is there any policy change that you would like to see in the near future?
CSR is a rational argument for businesses seeking to maximize their performance by minimizing restrictions on operations. In today’s globalizing world, where individuals and activist organizations feel empowered to enact change, CSR represents a means of anticipating and reflecting societal concerns to minimize operational and financial constraints on business.

CSR is an important component of a company’s strategic and operating perspective; however, alone, it is not enough. It certainly does not replace the need for an effective business model, and no company, whatever the motivation, can or should spend indefinitely money that it does not have. Manufacturing offshore in a low-cost environment, for example, remains a valid strategic decision, particularly in an increasingly globalizing business world. CSR considerations play a major role is in how such decisions are made and implemented, and there is still plenty of room left for improvement

As societies rethink the balance between societal needs and economic progress, CSR will continue to evolve in importance and complexity. This complexity although, muddies the wealth-creating waters, an awareness of these evolving expectations holds the potential for increased competitive advantage. Business also thrives within a given cultural context and how CSR is perceived and evaluated is crucial for any business to grow and prosper.

CSR broadly represents the relationship between a company and the principles expected by the wider society within which it operates. It assumes businesses recognize that for-profit entities do not exist in a vacuum and that a large part of their success comes as much from actions that are congruent with societal values as from factors internal to the company.

Do you see CSR as a tool for image management, branding and marketing?
All of these trends that are driving the importance of CSR overlap in terms of the importance of a firm’s reputation and brand. Brands today are often a focal point of corporate success. Companies try to establish popular brands in consumers’ minds because it increases any competitive advantage they hold, which then results in higher sales and revenue. In addition, consumers are more likely to pay a premium for a brand they know and trust. Due to growing demands from increasing numbers of stakeholders, however, combined with the increased complexity of business in a global environment and the ability of activists and media organizations to spread errors instantaneously to a global audience, today, more than ever before, a firm’s reputation is precarious—hard to establish and easy to lose. As a result, as BusinessWeek’s annual brand survey demonstrates, brands are more valuable than ever, and firms need to take ever greater steps to protect an investment that is essential to their continued success.

About Col. Prakash Tewari (Retd.)

1. Col Prakash Tewari (Retd) is the Group Vice President, CSR and Education of the Jindal Steel and Power Limited(JSPL). JSPl has operations in Steel, Power, Mining, Reality, Infrastructure Development, and IT. He is responsible for running of Higher Education (Universities, Engineering, Medical Colleges), Secondary Education, (Schools), Vocational and Skill Training Institutes, ( Community Colleges, ITI, ITC), Jindal Fortis Hospitals, CSR and all Foundations of the Group. The Group has its operations in Asia, Africa, Middle East, Australia and USA. Prior to this he was the Head of Tata Power CSR, Rehabilitation and Resettlement.

2. He has been awarded the United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) – Global Alliance for Disaster Reduction 2005 Award for distinguished professional leadership and personal commitment to ongoing programs in Asia. Since the last three decades has been working in the field of social, environmental, disaster, education and conflict management. He has served in various Government Ministries, International organizations and leading Corporates. He was the Chairman CSR Committee, Bombay Chambers Of Commerce and Industries, Board and Vice President, Global Alliance for Disaster Reduction, USA, Member Working Group Indian Ocean, University of Melbourne, Australia, Member, Uttrakhand Centre for Climate Change, Kumaon University. As Director Policy Ecology he was the representative of the Ministry in the National Board for Wild Life, Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage and National Afforestation Ecology Board. He was selected by Rotary International and Rotary Foundation for Conflict Management Course in Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok where he carried out assessment of Environment and Resource based conflicts due to infrastructure developments projects in SE Asia.

3. His case studies have been published in Harvard Business Review, IIM Bangalore, OIKAS Foundation, Corporate Sustainability Track and World Sustainable Economy Forum. He has also been addressing International Conferences and conducting CSR workshops for various Corporates in SE Asia and Middle East. He has published and presented number of papers in International Conferences in Asia, Australia, Europe, USA, Africa, Middle East, Newzealand, Iceland, Japan and Korea.