Panasonic is known for its green agenda and trying to create awareness about sustainable development. This year, Panasonic India came up with its first sustainability report. Radhika Kalia, Head of Corporate Communications, who also looks after CSR of the company talks about Panasonic’s philosophy and work. Some excerpts from the interview with OneWorld South Asia.
OneWorld South Asia: What is Panasonic’s philosophy in terms of its CSR and business with responsibility?
Radhika Kalia: Panasonic is a very old brand in India. Since 1972 it is fondly remembered. Its a heritage brand, almost a 100 year old organisation. We are a very evolved organisation worldwide. The philosophy of our founder is that as an industry and a business, we shall contribute to society through our business activities. We are very focused towards the environment. Our mission is to be world’s number one green innovation company by the year 2018.
OneWorld South Asia: In what ways is Panasonic a green company?
RK: We become a green innovation company by green life innovation for lifestyles, i.e., we produce products which are energy efficient and we produce products through recyclable material and we try to create recycle oriented society. Secondly, we have green orientation for business styles, meaning that our factories would be eco-friendly. We will have our own water harvesting system, create our own energy supply, manage our own waste and its disposal till the last level. We aim to attain ISO-14001 in our factories and manufacturing units everywhere. Its imperative for us to adhere the law of the land.
OWSA: In what ways does Panasonic India conduct its CSR in India?
RK: Now we have come off age to do CSR activities in India. Today we can say, yes, we are going to contribute to the society in India. Till about 2011 we were doing only philanthropy and giving out contribution.
Our endeavour is to talk to our consumers and stakeholders on awareness building for green and spread information on why environment is important for us. We’ve been doing this regularly since 2009, like addressing schools on green environment, global warming, saving Earth along with some activities with the children. We have covered around 500 schools and 50 cities across India till date. Our advertising also focuses on green. Many companies don’t go through all this and I feel that we have really worked hard and received great responses from everywhere.
This year we concluded with “Prithvi Vandana” in 24 cities of India, covering around 240 schools and reached out to around a lakh students including their families. We collaborated with NSD to come up with workshops picking 10 schools in every city and took sessions on environment and how to enact it. There were competitions at intra-school, inter-school and national levels, which helped in spreading the word at a very large level.
OWSA: In that sense, environment is obviously a main focus area for you. Are there any other areas of focus in terms of your CSR?
RK: We have a CSR body know as corporate citizen group which is very active regarding environment and its awareness among school children. They have collaborated with UNESCO to spread awareness about heritage buildings around the world, which was welcomed by 39 countries. Most of our activities are centralised and are tweaked according to Indian circumstances. Our President feels that education is very important for India, be it in the from of awareness or women empowerment or language speaking or vocational training. We have various programmes like Panasonic EcoSkool, PanasonicShakti, Rati Chatra and Young Learners.
OWSA: Do you think corporates in India are doing enough? or perhaps there is a need to corporates to get together and make a more concerted effort to actually bring about a difference?
RK: We recently came up with our first Sustainable Report. I think as corporates we should focus on sustainable consumption rather than sustainable development. For instance for our Jhajjar plant in Haryana, the corporates and the stake holders all got together along with the DC of the district and came up with the proposal of installing biometric systems and creating a CSR society where all corporates are the members and there is one governing body to help in proper sustainable consumption and development. In this way, we can create a difference together.