We live in a socially conscious environment where giving back is not just a corporate mandate but in some organizations, which lead by example, sewn into the very fabric of their business operations, culture and employees. Corporate Social Responsibility is core to Sterlite Technologies Limited’s (STL) DNA and goes beyond just creating fiscal value for the stakeholders.
For STL, it is taking the learnings and efficiencies of the macrocosm and applying it effectively to make change happen at the microcosmic level — by helping develop the communities they operate in. Transforming Everyday Life through Value Creation is their motto and they do so by focusing on the core competencies of the business to address operational challenges in the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) aspects of the business.
The UN Global Compact
Recently, STL strengthened its commitment of being a responsible corporate citizen, by becoming a signatory to the UN Global Compact (UNGC) in FY19, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative. The alliance encompasses responsible business practices in the areas of human rights, anti-corruption, fair labour and conserving the environment. While their operations were always aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), during FY18 STL formally mapped their activities with the UN SDGs. In FY20, they will begin communicating their progress on each of the 10 principles of the UNGC.
Responsible Corporate Citizenship
STL aims to be a responsible leader in charting the path for India’s future, especially for:
- The Communities: By delivering life-changing services and technologies
- The Environment: By developing system-wise approaches that reduces the overall environmental footprint with economic returns in the long run
- The People: By ensuring that they are healthy, safe, engaged and inspired to drive inclusive, equitable growth
- The Conduct: By creating sustainable practices, policies and business models that support the growth of business and communities
During FY19, STL continued its focus on empowering women, bettering education, healthcare, environment and focusing on the inclusivity of the local communities they operate in – positively impacting close to 205,200+ lives in FY19 alone, taking them a step closer to achieving their ultimate goal of reaching 1 million lives by FY20.
Jeewan Jyoti Women Empowerment Programme (JJWEP)
One of the most impactful initiatives at STL is the Jeewan Jyoti Women Empowerment Programme. Set up in 2014 at Ambavane, Velhe, JJWEP aims to equip rural women with vocational skills in computers, tailoring, nursing and beauty culture. What makes this programme different from the many out there focusing on women’s development, is the fact that STL doesn’t just stop at propelling women towards financial independence, which is important no doubt, but there is equal focus on the development of life skills.
Sujata YashwantWeghare is a Beauty Culture Student at JJWEP and started out with a dream to send her kids to an ‘English-medium school’. Through her time spent at the programme, she not only learnt how to run her own beauty business but realised the education dream of her kids and contributes regularly to the overall household income. In her own words, Jeewan Jyoti has given me wings and my own identity.
Shashikala Sampat Wagh’s story is not just inspirational but is a testimony to the amazing changes a person can make when the right support and facilities are provided. Born into a farmer family, she dropped out of college, got married and had a beautiful daughter with a critical medical condition. She lost her husband a couple of years later. At JJWEP she enrolled in the tailoring course, went on to excel in her class and now runs a successful tailoring business.
Along with such motivating stories, there have been additional positive changes, such as:
- Marriageable age for women has increased from around 16 years to over 20 years
- Internship for the top three students of the computer batch at STL’s Pune Head Office has been set up.
- During FY19, the JJWEP had the highest number of admissions, 421 students
STL’s approach to the JJWEP programme has been one of going above and beyond and really analyzing and solving for the challenges, the ground realities of women belonging to remote villages in fully availing the programme’s benefits. One such initiative was to provide the students with transport facilities in view of the lack of public conveyance in the region, one of the few programmes in the country to take such an inclusive step.
The Road Ahead
The progress STL has made in FY19 through concentrated efforts in the ESG aspect of business gave strong results and the opportunity to continue to make a difference is unprecedented. The light of this year fires the fuel to scale impact in FY20 through technology, innovation and by collaborating with their transformation enablers – goals that will transform everyday living for STL’s beneficiaries through digitally enhanced networks and interventions.
Behind the Scenes
For over 20 years, Jyoti Agarwal has been involved in the delivery of sustainable solutions that make a genuine difference to individuals and society. An experienced philanthropist, she has played a lead role in building the Sterlite Tech Foundation and the Agarwal family trust by combining her passion for empowerment and transforming lives with a rigorous approach to driving impact.
As Managing Trustee of Sterlite Tech Foundation (STF) she has a direct impact on the community with her CSR initiatives. Extending her support to programs that focus on women’s empowerment is very close to her heart, and with the same thought in mind, she created the Jeewan Jyoti Women Empowerment Programme in Velhe five years ago.
As the Chairperson, Jyoti Agarwal is spearheading the operations of the Vedanta Medical ResearchFoundation’s flagship initiative – state of the art Oncology Centre, Balco Medical Centre in AtalNagar Raipur Chhattisgarh. Her vision has been critical in driving the centre’s ambition to create aworld-class facility that provides superior-quality treatment at a price affordable for all. The centre isnow over 16 months old and is providing its services to over 3000 lives through OPDs and performing over 60 surgeries every month, and has been recognized as the Best Emerging Hospital by the state.
Jyoti Agarwal is also the Founder & Managing Director of Universal Floritech. She recognized an opportunity inindigenous production of exotic flowers in India during her extensive travel, which was the genesis of Universal Floritech. A hands-on professional, she has worked closely with technologists and floriculturists towards her goal – to make exotic creations of nature accessible to discerning Indians.
In the businesses that she runs and the communities that she supports, her clear ideology hasalways been to give back to society in such a way that needs are responded and improvements aremade in the quality of lives.
- Akanksha Sharma, Head CSR and Sustainability, STL