Sustainable Communities = Sustainable Business

By July 6, 2021ESG, Expert Views

Low levels of groundwater, rainfall unpredictability, and insufficient supply of potable water are some of the issues plaguing Gujarat’s Devbhoomi Dwarka district for some time now. When the communities in the region are fighting to meet their drinking water requirements, agriculture has become a low priority, thereby affecting the overall economic development. In partnership with the Government of Gujarat, Nayara Energy carried out hydrological studies in the area to develop roadmaps for the sustainable usage of groundwater resources and climate-smart agriculture practices. So far, over 10,000 people have benefitted. A consistent supply of irrigation water, along with the introduction of diverse cropping methods, has enabled scores of locals to optimize their income and create a better life for themselves and their families.

Business depends on a sustainable community

I truly believe that thriving businesses depend on a thriving sustainable society. In an ever-evolving economic landscape, social and environmental concerns need to be woven into the texture of the business. When we intentionally address societal challenges, we pave the way for positive, enduring change in the world. We have to look beyond our financial performance in order to create economic value in ways that also create value for society.

Brands are also realizing the growing importance of driving sustainable growth and empowering communities in various areas of development, whether it be healthcare, education, or livelihood development. Embracing an inclusive sustainable development strategy goes a long way in not only attracting a wider customer base but also driving a company’s research and development initiatives.

For me, working on CSR stems from my personal passion. Our social management philosophy is a critical pillar in our long-term growth and enables us to ensure that our operations are fully aligned with environmentally and socially responsible practices. Keeping this in laser-sharp focus, we have been at the forefront of developing community-centric programs that encompass livelihoods, education, skill development, and health and sanitation.

COVID-19 mitigation

With the spirit of being socially responsible, Nayara Energy established a COVID Care Centre in Zakhar village, near our Vadinar refinery in Gujarat. A 50-bed facility will be catering to the health requirements of COVID-19 positive patients who are suffering from mild infections in the region. In the coming months, we plan to strengthen the capacity by adding 50 beds and turning it into a 24/7 operational facility along with a 24hourambulance service to transport patients to the nearest hospital in case of complications or severities.

Besides our effort to enhance healthcare infrastructure, we are also collaborating with the state government of Gujarat in providing basic relief measures across 15 locations. So far, we have reached out to over 12,000 families near our Vadinar refinery to deliver cooked food through our community kitchens in Zakhar and Devbhoomi Dwarka district.

To strengthen access to healthcare in villages surrounding our Vadinar refinery, our oldest CSR initiative, the Community Health Program, continues to provide primary pediatric and gynecological services, pathological facilities, and emergency response infrastructure to more than 50,000 patients across 15 districts of Jamnagar and Devbhoomi Dwarka. Since its inception, the program has aided over 3 lakh consultations.

Inclusive Development

Taking forward the vision of KuposhanMukt Bharat, we launched Project Tushtiin in collaboration with the Government of Gujarat in 2019. The program is aimed at improving nutrition levels in communities across 249 villages in the district of Devbhoomi Dwarka.

In the area of sustainable livelihood, I see our Project Gramsamruddhi take a multifaceted approach by targeting three thematic areas—water and soil conservation, women empowerment, and animal husbandry. I am delighted to see how our project has created an additional water storage capacity of 10.30 million cubic meters with increased water use efficiency of 336 hectares of land. Furthermore, over 900 women have been linked to 48 SHGs where they have been introduced to various livelihood generation avenues such as wastepaper recycling, stitching, agriculture, and many more.

Sustainable Development a cornerstone for Business

I have always considered sustainable development as the cornerstone of any business strategy. Because in times of crisis, people appreciate the efforts of companies who helped them tide over difficulties, sacrificing their short-term gains in order to value their commitment to social responsibility. Going forward, we will continue to partner with local communities to make focused, measurable progress on the ground.

Views are personal. The author is CFO, Head  Legal & CSR Nayara Energy Ltd., Anup Vikal, served as an esteemed jury member on the SABERA 2020 Jury Board.

You may also like to read the blog on Climate Change and Sustainable agriculture by Siraj Azmat Chaudhry, MD & CEO NCML and the jury chair for SABERA 2020.

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