NEW DELHI, Dec 21 (IANS): ITC, one of India’s leading multi-business conglomerates and a sustainability exemplar, has been conferred with the 6th ICSI (The Institute of Company Secretaries of India) CSR Excellence Award in the ‘Large’ category for consistently demonstrating innovation and sustainability in managing Corporate Social Responsibility.
The coveted award was handed over by Amit Shah, Union minister of Home Affairs and Cooperation to Prabhakar Lingareddy, executive vice president — Social Investments, ITC Limited at a ceremony held on Saturday, December 18 at Mumbai.
Considered to be one of the most coveted awards for excellence in CSR practices, ICSI CSR Excellence Award recognises the best corporate contributor each in the large, medium, and emerging categories.
Winners of the award undergo a rigorous evaluation process and scrutiny on the parameters of CSR policies, stakeholder engagement, strategy, execution, and impact, as well as CSR monitoring and reporting. The methodology for the evaluation includes assessment of responses to questionnaires, screening for field visits, field visits/interactions, media reports, information available in the public domain, and regulatory response on the credentials of the company.
Speaking on the recognition, Dr Ashesh Ambasta, executive vice president & head-Social Investments, ITC Limited said, “It is indeed an honor that ITC has been conferred with the CSR Excellence Award at this prestigious forum. We recognise that securing and enhancing livelihoods is at the core of ensuring social equity and improving quality of lives. Sustainability, therefore, is at the DNA of ITC’s corporate philosophy. As a leading business conglomerate, we aim at contributing meaningfully to societal development through a two horizon approach – by making today’s dominant sources of income sustainable and creating capabilities among people to take advantage of emerging economic opportunities of tomorrow. Going forward, we are committed to continue playing a significant role in uplifting the socio-economic status of communities as well as contribute to environment stewardship through our multi-dimensional CSR programme in its true letter and spirit.”
ITC’s credo of ‘Nation First – Sab Saath Badhein’ – finds expression in the enterprise’s constant quest to build ‘Responsible Competitiveness’. The Company’s CSR programmes have been able to engender significant transformation in the country and in rural regions with multi-dimensional large-scale interventions aimed at empowering local communities. The projects promoted under the company’s social investments programme are spread over 216 districts in 25 states/union territories. More than 83 public-private partnerships have been established in areas like water stewardship, sustainable agriculture, solid waste management, women empowerment, health and sanitation, primary education, and many others.
ITC’s Integrated Watershed Development Programme has cumulatively covered around 1.2 million acres of water-stressed area. Over 23,000 water harvesting structures have been built, creating a storage capacity of over 43 million liters of water. The work has generated around 7.4 million person-days of employment. The company’s focused demand-side management has led to water savings of 25-40 per cent in 7 crops.
Some other key CSR programs of ITC Limited include a large-scale afforestation programme greening over 900,000 acres and generating over 160 million person-days of employment among small and marginal farmers; Women’s Economic Empowerment programme helping to create sustainable livelihoods for around 79,000 women; Livestock Development programme covering 19 lakh milch animals.; Primary Education initiative covering over 833,000 children; Training of 100,000 youth under Skilling & Vocational Training Initiative; construction of over 38,000 individual household toilets under Health and Sanitation Programme, among others. Given the vulnerabilities faced by the agricultural sector, ITC has initiated a robust Climate Smart Agriculture programme covering over 2.5 lakh farmers across 8,000 villages. A pilot at scale for the ITC Climate Smart Agriculture initiative has demonstrated a reduction of GHG emission of select crops by 47 per cent, whilst enhancing net returns to farmers between 41 per cent to 87 per cent.
To address the evolving challenges in a post-pandemic era, ITC is building on the robust foundations of its sustainability performance to move to an even bolder and ambitious vision, titled Sustainability 2.0. This comprehensive goal-based agenda calls for inclusive strategies that can support even more livelihoods, pursue newer pathways to fight climate change and enable transition to a net zero economy apart from contributing to create an effective circular economy for post-consumer packaging waste.
Instituted in 2016 by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) to endorse the government’s efforts in promoting corporate social responsibility amongst Indian corporates, ICSI CSR Excellence Award promotes the spirit of CSR among Indian corporates by way of unique and extraordinary contributions in CSR – establishing industry benchmarks, persistent efforts towards fueling inclusive growth through CSR, and implementation of innovative practices, programs, and projects in CSR.