Dipali Goenka, CEO & Joint Managing Director of Welspun, Tells us About Education, Empowerment And Environment - The 3Es of Welspun Corporate Social Responsibility

Whether we talk about diversity & inclusion or sustainable development, the role of corporate giants and conglomerates holds huge importance. After all, they are the companies which have the resources to have a large scale impact. And we recently had the opportunity to know more about Welspun Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. The company needs no introduction- they are India's fastest growing global conglomerates with businesses in line pipes, home textiles, infrastructure & steel, doing business in over 50 countries. The conglomerate has a separate CSR arm- Welspun Foundation which extensively works on different CSR programmes. The company takes its CSR very seriously, which can be gauged from that fact that their annual CSR spent for 2018-19 was INR 190 million.

Welspun's Three Es of CSR & The Ideology Behind Them

So, we spoke to CEO & Joint Managing Director of Welspun, Dipali Goenka, on Welspun's different CSR initiatives and the ideology behind them. Welspun maintains that they work on three Es- education, empowerment and environment as their core areas for CSR. Dipali explained,

"The three Es are the guiding principles for our CSV initiatives. Good education, without a doubt, is the base to a bright and meaningful future. It facilitates learning and overall development of an individual and nation at large. As a corporate citizen, we believe it is imperative to give back to society and what better way to start at the grassroots!"

Talking about empowerment and environment initiatives, Dipali said,

"The idea behind empowerment was to create opportunities and motivate people who had the will but lacked resources and skills. When you empower one woman, you give an opportunity for her to earn a livelihood, which enables her to send her child to school, thereby setting the foundation right not just for her family alone but also community and village at large."

"For environment & health, being one of the global home textile manufacturers, we believe it is our responsibility to set the right examples. Climate change is a real problem and the onus to rectify the issues lies on us. So adopting the right measures and initiating activities that protect the environment is at the forefront!"

Support For Sportswomen in The Country

Welspun is probably one of the handfuls of companies which supports sportswomen in the country. We don't see many CSR initiatives contributing to the cause, but Welspun sponsors talented young sportswomen to empower them. Dipali also told us the ideology behind this,

"These women are extremely passionate and talented but unfortunately lack resources to achieve their dreams. We identify the right talent and aid them with financial support for proper coaching and training, balanced diet, tournament fees and their travel expenses. Encouraging women in sports gives us a sense of pride and we feel privileged as we are an integral part of their growth."

They have supported some great athletes including Manashi Joshi, who had recently won World Para-Badminton Championship; Shivani Charak, who survived cancer and recently won an international medal at the Asian Youth Championship Medal as a climber; and Subiya Mullani, a deaf and mute swimmer from Kolhapur who has represented India in Deaf Olympics.

Welspun's Flagship CSR Programmes

We also had the opportunity to understand more about Welspun's CSR & Creating Shared Value (CSV) programmes and how hopefully others can follow the suit. Welspun's four major flagship programmes:

1. Wel-Accelerate: (Education)

Under this programme, Welspun's efforts are aimed towards enhancing the teaching & learning process for teachers & students with the use of technology. In partnership with the Gujarat Government, the initiative has worked on digitizing Government primary school classrooms. Gyankunj is a school digitalization program to enhance classroom interactivity and teaching-learning processes with the help of technology tools such as projectors, interactive boards, computer systems, speakers, and UPS, among others. The current reach of this programme is in 3 Districts, 315 classrooms wherein 961 teachers have been trained and 55,750 students have been impacted. Their partners for this initiative are organisations like Pratham, Lend a Hand, School Lens & Globus Infocom.

2. Wel-Netrutva: (Women Empowerment/ Health/ Livelihood)

This programme aims to empower women by creating livelihood opportunities, thereby improving their health. The programme is initiated on addressing health issues among adolescent girls and women through livelihood opportunities and entrepreneurship. Under this initiative, Self Help Groups are created across villages and women entrepreneurs are trained to create awareness and sell sanitary pads. The current reach of the programme is 212 women entrepreneurs in 148 villages, with 15,500+ beneficiaries and health focus on menstrual hygiene, RTI-STD, anaemia, cervical & breast cancer. Welspun's partners for this initiative are Utkarsh Mahila Association, Prayas and Wockhardt Foundation.

3. Welspun Super Sports Women Program: (Empowerment)
This initiative of Welspun supports female athletes in achieving their sporting endeavours through grants. Welspun Foundation supports sportswomen from varied sporting disciplines who come from challenging backgrounds to enable them to strive for excellence in their sport. Their current reach for this programme is 18 sportswomen spread across 11 games who have won more than 120 medals at national and international level. Their partner for this programme is Meraki Sport.
Partners: Meraki Sport

4. Welspun Model Village Program: (Community Development)
With this programme, Welspun aims to create a sustainable rural community that generates and maintains the resources to improve its level of well-being and happiness without depleting economic, social and environmental values. It is an integrated intervention in a comprehensive approach in the areas of self-sustainability & health, with a special focus on mother & child, education - majorly focusing on girl child education, women empowerment, livelihood & income generation activities, creating awareness on clean and safe environment in the village. The current reach of the programme is 19,600 people in five villages.

Focus on Environment Related Programmes

The environment is another area where Welspun's CSR is focused on. Over 36,000 saplings planted thus far, Welspun’s green initiatives in Anjar, Vapi and Dahej, have transformed the landscape of what were dry and arid regions. Their cotton farming initiative reaches out to more than 1000 farmers. Welspun has also implemented a successful drive to improve overall community health, by laying emphasis on the importance of sanitation, which has seen the construction of more than 5000 sanitation blocks, providing access to better sanitation facilities to the villages of Anjar and Vapi in Gujarat.

With such extensive CSR initiatives, Welspun only goes on to prove the degree of positive impact conglomerates can have in uplifting the marginalised and helping those with potential to turn their lives around and contribute to society to make it better.

Featured Image Surce: thriveglobal.in