Naveen Soni: We Closely Monitor All Our CSR Programs

Nidhi Singh
New Update
Naveen Soni: We Closely Monitor All Our CSR Programs

Naveen Soni, Vice President, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) shares the CSR philosophy of the company, and gives a peek into how TKM uses the Plan Do Check Act process to assess the efficacy and sustainability of the wide gamut of CSR initiatives being implemented by the company in India.

With the 2% CSR legislation now in effect for over 2 years, how has the journey been for TKM with regard to aligning its CSR strategy with activities listed under Schedule VII? Do you think the CSR law has merit?

Since TKM’s establishment, we took it up as our responsibility to give back to the society regardless of whether we made profits or not. We have continued with our CSR commitment including environment, education, road safety, skill development and traffic safety. AT TKM, the CSR activities has been the prime focus as we believe to grow with society. And this philosophy has been in the DNA of Toyota and hence we have been continuously undertaking in. Aligning our activities was never a challenge as we had our defined focus area which are also the national social issue , which are same emphasized in CSR law.

Regulations are good in terms of having a unified efforts to address the social issues. But the stipulated CSR activities under the law make the exercise stereotyped, in a way. The new Act serves as a reference mark for us to see if we are doing anything which is outside the scope of law from the point of view of compliance.

How does TKM measure and monitor it’s CSR programs? Are there any checks and balances in place to ensure a sustainable impact for projects being implemented by you on ground?

We closely monitor all our CSR programs as per the Plan Do Check Act process. The outcomes are measured as per the KPI & ROI metrics to judge the efficiency. As a part of planning for the sustainable CSR program, we conduct need assessment study as a regular process building consensus with local community, involving all stakeholders and continuously monitoring the sustenance model established in the community

For effectively carrying out the CSR activities, the Company constituted the “Corporate Social Responsibility Committee” The CSR Committee reviews the CSR activities of the Company on a quarterly basis and report anomalies, if any, immediately. The Committee may choose new focus areas and projects on Board approval as and when required.

Appropriate documentation and amendments of the CSR Policy, annual CSR activities, and reports on expenditures are reviewed periodically by the committee.

In order to ensure transparency and communication with all stakeholders, the CSR Policy & projects undertaken are uploaded on the company website so that it is available in the public domain.

We measure the success of the project not in terms of the numbers covered but the approach adopted in transforming the lives of the community as a whole and the impact that is created owing to the initiatives undertaken. An example is the reduction of water borne diseases by 83% through water purification units.

The concept of ‘Creating Shared Value’ (CSV) seems to be defining and shaping the corporate governance structure of several companies around the world. Would you agree that tackling social challenges by integrating them into the Company’s core competitive strategies, can help bring long-term, sustainable changes in society?

Each organization should own up the responsibility to work towards the upliftment of the neighboring communities which will contribute towards overall national social growth & development. Every aspect of the business needs to be aligned towards creating a positive change in the society. Making profits should not be the only goal for corporates, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has always been at the forefront of TKM’s operating philosophy We strongly believe in sharing our success with the society and help in sustainable growth of the society.

Based on the need assessment, we have taken up the national issues like health & hygiene, skill development, sanitation, education, road safety etc to contribute to sustainable changes in the society in the smallest way possible. To give a holistic approach towards improving local community we involve our employees, dealers, suppliers and local govt in our CSR initiatives.

In your experience, what are the biggest hurdles that stand in the way of successful implementation of CSR at the grassroots level? How can CSR reach it’s maximum potential of impact? Is there a magic mantra? 

To ensure the success of CSR efforts, organizations should have a determined task force including different stakeholders to change the mindset of the people in the local communities. There are deep rooted inhibitions in the community and organizations need to join hands with relevant stakeholders to educate and instill behavioural changes at the grassroot level. Build a deep understanding of the benefits of the CSR initiatives and involve the local people to share the responsibility in creating a sustained society.