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Accelerating Social Change Through Collaborative Action

The Indian Industry is committed to the development of the society and hence a majority of the industry has laid strong emphasis on engaging with it through various Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities in several areas that are crucial such as education and healthcare, amongst others. The nature and degree of involvement have transformed over the years, but the obligation remains as deep as it was earlier. 

Recognising the symbiotic relationship between businesses and the social impact, CII, in its theme for the year 2022–23 included sustainability as a key pillar. A large part of our efforts throughout the year have been directed to create strong ecosystems through policy advocacy and on-groundwork initiatives to promote sustainable and inclusive development. 

To spearhead corporate India’s CSR initiatives, CII set up the CII Foundation. The Foundation has adopted a collaborative approach and brought together multiple stakeholders to deliver high impact social development projects which are supported by corporates. 

In 2022-23, the Foundation continued to deepen and widen its work in areas such as climate change, women empowerment, waste management, disaster relief and rehabilitation and early childhood education through specially designed projects and programs that catalysed change and brought in a transformative outcome. 

Through the Cleaner Air, Better Life Initiative where we work with farmers in Punjab and Haryana to mitigate stubble burning, we have achieved an 83% reduction in stubble burning in the 300 project villages in the last season. The results have demonstrated that a solution to the environmentally challenging issue of stubble burning exists and that we have successfully created a project model that yields significant results and is replicable and scalable. 

Similarly, our community-led waste management project in Delhi’s Abul Fazal has succeeded in bringing about a behavioural change with the residents understanding and adopting the principles of reducing, reusing and recycling waste. A waste composting centre was set up in January 2022 giving a fillip to waste segregation and recycling and reducing waste being transported to landfills. In 2022-23, 80 tonnes of waste was treated in the Compost Centre. 

This year, 17 exemplary women from rural and resource-poor regions joined our network of 100+ Woman Exemplars based on their contribution to social change at the grassroots level. These women have seen hardships and difficult times, yet each has emerged as a change maker, carving out a new path for herself and hundreds of women like her. 

Going forward, while we will continue to strengthen our ongoing work, we will build new flagship programmes to strengthen public health delivery systems and to make farming more environment friendly and resilient by strengthening the Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO) movement in India. 

Witnessing the changes achieved by the ground level interventions, we are hopeful that we shall overcome many challenges that the society faces as a whole. These transformations are an imperative in our journey towards a developed India and would not have been possible without the support of the corporates, implementing partners and communities. 

The CII Foundation Annual Report 2022-23 highlights the journey of the year gone by. I hope it inspires you to join hands with us and accelerate social change.

This article was first published in the CII Foundation Annual Report 2022-23.

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