A senior executive of a leading Indian corporation today told how his company is ‘going green’ to meet environmental and climate change challenges. Rajeev Dubey, member of the Group Management Board of the Mahindra & Mahindra automotive and tractor company, also told how the group is committed to the education of disadvantaged children, particularly girls, as part of its social commitment.
Rajeev Dubey (Photo: Hélène Bielak)‘Sustainability and corporate social responsibility are embedded in the group’s DNA and form an integral part of its core values and vision,’ claimed Dubey, who is the Mahindra group’s president of human resources for after-market and corporate services.
M&M is the leading farm equipment manufacturer in India, with a 42 per cent market share, and the world’s third largest tractor manufacturer. The $8 billion company, with 108,000 employees in 47 countries, has recently taken over the scandal-hit Satyam information technology company, after Satyam’s founder and CEO was charged with falsifying the company’s profits. Dubey saw Mahindra Satyam as ‘a litmus test in our commitment to trust and integrity’, in pulling the company back to profitability.
Dubey spoke of the Mahindra group’s track record of ‘operating with trust and integrity’, during his Caux Lecture on ‘Transforming capitalism with trust and integrity – what corporates and companies can do’. He was addressing the business ethics conference ‘Trust and Integrity in the Global Economy’, being held in Mountain House, the Swiss centre of Initiatives of Change, 24- 29 July.
‘A sharp focus on sustainability is in line with customer and community sensitivities across the globe,’ Dubey said, claiming that the Mahindra group ‘had a unique and compelling story to tell’, particularly in its environmental policies.’ The company sought to ‘create new standards in natural resource conservation’.
The company was one of the earliest in India to set-up, in 2001, a bio-diesel plant, as part of its alternative fuel and propulsion technologies programme. Since then, the company has introduced tractors which use five per cent and 10 per cent bio-diesel and is currently field testing vehicles that are 20 per cent and 100 per cent bio-diesel, ‘in the most challenging conditions, from the deserts of Rajasthan to Himalayan terrains’.
The company has also pioneered the world’s first hydrogen powered three-wheeler, with near zero emissions, and is developing with other partners a hydrogen powered internal combustion engine vehicle ‘as part of our vision of making hydrogen an important fuel of tomorrow’. Meanwhile its electric three-wheelers were launched in 1999. And the company showcased its first hybrid electric vehicle at the Delhi motor show in 2006.
The company is pioneering ‘green buildings’, as the first residential building developer in India to receive the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) pre-certification. The same focus, including water and energy efficiency, is incorporated in the company’s new factories and at its ‘Mahindra World City’ R&D plant in Chennai, which opens next year. This includes rain water harvesting, waste-heat recovery, solar panels and turbine air ventilation replacing electric ventilators.
The company is the first in India to run a public private partnership to manage the water supply for an entire town in Tirupur, a major garment exporting centre in Tamil Nadu.
Dubey also emphasised the company’s commitment to community development, outlining its ‘Mahindra Way ESOPs’ – not employee share ownership but employee social options. To date 25,000 employees have volunteered their time in community programmes. The volunteers planted more than a million trees last year in locations across the country, in co-operation with local communities. And in the hill resort of Munnar, a ‘say no to plastics’ campaign was launched to create a plastic-free city. To facilitate this, company opened a paper bag manufacturing unit.
The company also sponsors a nationwide education programme for girl children from poor backgrounds. So far 50,800 girls have been able to complete 10 years of ‘quality education’, Dubey said, in a nation where only three out of 10 girls who enter primary school complete high school. The Nanhi Kali project, for instance, operates in the slums of Mumbai and Delhi as well as in rural and tribal areas.
‘Business has to redefine its mission in a new way,’ Dubey concluded. ‘Not just as a vehicle to generate maximum profit and wealth but rather as a provider of profitable and affordable improvements in the quality of life. We dare to dream that we can make a positive difference to the communities and nations we live in and operate in, while achieving sustainable business growth and profitability. We are determined to do this with satya, prem and seva – truth, compassion and service in our daily actions at a personal and professional level.’
The ‘trust and integrity in the global economy’ conference has brought together over 160 entrepreneurs, farmers, health and media professionals, academics and students from 38 countries.
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