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  Social Responsibility

Company Feature
Published on: April 7, 2022, 11:41 a.m.
Taking the community along…
  • Shree runs comprehensive programmes which range from special education centres known as ‘Shree ki Pathshala’ to computer literacy centres

By Prashant Bangur. The author is Joint Managing Director, Shree Cement Limited

India and 192 other countries adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the United Nations in 2015 to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. The focus of these SDGs is to encourage various stakeholders to work towards and achieve a better and more sustainable future for all by 2030. However, the achievement of these goals may not be possible with government initiatives alone. It needs a high-level collaboration between the government, private sector and civil society.

India was one of the first few countries to mandate a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) law on corporates. Both SDGs and the Indian CSR law were formulated and implemented around the same time. The aim is to build a world which is stronger, less poor and certainly more sustainable. Shree Cement is engaged in building materials, which are used to build houses to provide shelters and to build roads and bridges. In brief, Shree Cement builds societies.

As a responsible corporate citizen, Shree Cement has included the ‘concern for society’ as an integral part of its business since inception. All its business goals foster holistic development and are undertaken with the over-arching objective of sharing its prosperity and growth with its stakeholders, especially communities around its operations.

 Channelising rural development can assist with reducing distressed migration. An upgraded rural infrastructure helps create better living conditions and provides access to a better quality of life. Shree finds that building rural infrastructure is a key priority in the communities around its operations. It has therefore been regularly working on building roads, health, sanitation and education facilities, community halls and other infrastructure assets. These projects are closely linked with the SDGs of clean water and sanitation, good health and well-being, and sustainable communities.

Education is essential for the progress of an individual, a community and country. It is a fundamental right and is also directly linked with the economic development of the country. In the rural parts of the country where the company operates, large numbers of children – more girls than boys – never go to school. If they do attend, they often drop out due to poverty, family problems or other social factors.

To overcome this challenge, Shree runs comprehensive programmes which range from special education centres known as ‘Shree ki Pathshala’ to computer literacy centres. It also helps needy students by providing teacher support for board exams. Many more such interventions at different sites are making a difference in society. These programmes reflect the spirit of SDG on inclusive, equitable and quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Healthcare is a major concern in many communities. Specially post pandemic, everyone has realised that it is not an issue which can be handled alone by the government. On this front, Shree focuses on providing primary healthcare facilities to its nearby communities through its dedicated programs and resources like 24x7 healthcare centres, mobile medical vans, etc. It also has a programme dedicated to the health and well-being of pregnant women, known as ‘Mamta’ which covers the entire cycle from pregnancy to delivery of the child and neonatal care.

Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. Thus, women empowerment, a key aspect of societal development and progress, finds a special place in Shree’s interventions. Skill development trainings, financial help, vocational programs and access to financial resources are key interventions which are aimed at raising the economic status of women in their communities and making them equal partners in developing society. The SDG on achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is interlinked with these programmes.

There has been a paradigm shift in the approach of corporate India. They consider themselves equal contributors and partners to the government in the overall development agenda. Shree Cement’s journey in this area has always been to take the prosperity and well-being of all its stakeholders along and share its growth with them for overall development. 

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