“In today’s world, a company is not just judged by its market capitalization, but by what contribution and impact they have on society.”
Spark Minda, Ashok Minda Group established in 1958, is an India-based automotive parts manufacturer which has distinguished itself by its community care and outreach programmes. The company believes that in today’s world, an organisation is not just judged simply by its market capitalisation, but also by what contributions they have made to society, and the impact of these contributions. There is also a deep-abiding belief that being community-minded benefits a company not just in terms of branding, but also in terms of credibility and reputation.
Undertaken by the Spark Minda Foundation housed in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) wing of the Group, Spark Minda community initiatives are formulated after the Group conducts a needs analysis which takes an in-depth look at what the community needs. The analysis is conducted in nearby communities both in areas near their factory location as well as other identified areas. Special programmes and projects are then formulated according to the particular needs of these selected communities.
To leverage strength as well as to create more impact, the Group collaborates with NGOs in some programmes, especially those that deal within similar domains and are like-minded in goals and objectives. Some of the Organizations that work with Spark Minda include GlobalHunt Foundation, USHA, Unicharm, Goonj, Jaipur Foot, Ambuja Cement Foundation, Yerwada Prison, Tihar Prison and Assocham.
In certain instances when an outreach or care programme is effected, the cost may be borne by the Spark Minda Foundation, but in several cases, where there is collaboration with NGOs, the result is a win-win situation for both partners in terms of the distribution of the administrative costs of these community programmes.
The programmes go far in creating and sustaining the relationship between the company and the community as well as strengthening the company’s credibility as a truly concerned corporate citizen.
These Community Care programmes are the manifestation of the company’s CSR Vision 2020 and they form part of the larger set of CSR policies; PT Minda has also developed standard operating procedures (SOPs) for their community programmes and projects.
Group CSR focuses on six intervention areas: Livelihood Promotion, Education, Care for Persons with Disability, Community Infrastructure, Health and Wellbeing, and Environment and Resource Protection. While the focus is fixed on these areas for now, other areas are added on as the need arises, for example, disaster relief. These added programmes surface after instances such as the flooding disaster in Chennai.
All this effort must, of course, be measured for their impact. To this end, the group has developed a review mechanism for these community projects. Under this mechanism, reviews and audits are conducted on both a quarterly as well as on an annual basis. The company also undertakes impact assessments of their Community Care programmes with which to measure the results of their efforts and initiatives.
Having a dedicated team helps, too. The CSR department at the group, tasked solely with all aspects of the company’s Community Care programmes, is parked under the Group Human Resource division.
Additionally, there are special teams for both Business Level CSR and Community Level CSR. At the Business Level CSR, the teams comprise 19 CSR representatives in India and 6 outside India. For the Community Level CSR team that work at the grassroots and village level, the company employs 16 full-time dedicated employees. The numbers are a strong reflection of the company’s commitment to community care.
To increase and sustain the relevance and importance of its CSR outreach policies and projects, the group engages all levels of its executives and employees at both the business and community level projects through volunteerism. This underscores the significance of CSR as a value-driven concept in the group’s caring corporate culture.
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