Client Speak : Parthasarathi Changdar, Lead CSR, AkzoNobel India talks about AkzoNobel’s approach to ensure a sustainable future for our planet as well as their social responsibility towards sustainable livelihood.
In a tête-à-tête with Parthasarathi Changdar, Lead CSR, AkzoNobel India, he talks about AkzoNobel’s approach to ensure a sustainable future for our planet as well as their social responsibility towards young painters joining the industry for a sustainable livelihood.
What is the overall CSR vision of AkzoNobel in India and how have you been fulfilling it?
AkzoNobel has a vision to send each and every child of the country to school and get access to education. It strives to empower youth by providing skill based employment. AkzoNobel partners with reputed national and international NGO’s in order to fulfill its vision and works towards bettering the lives of the underprivileged. It is currently supporting early childhood, non-formal and remedial education for more than 15,000 children across five cities of India. It is also working closely with various state governments to establish model schools and Anganwadis. In the sphere of skill education last year it has trained over 1200 youth in decorative paints and vehicle refinish and have linked them with employment. Currently, AkzoNobel is sponsoring seven skill training centers across six cities of India.
Tell us more about AkzoNobel’s sustainability strategy
It won’t be long before the world’s population reaches nine billion. How will we cope? Can the planet handle so many people? Yes it can, but we have to do things differently. We have to use our ambition and imagination and deal more efficiently with the world’s limited resources. Which is why we’ve adopted a Planet Possible approach to sustainability. By doing radically more with less and working closely with customers and suppliers in our key end-user segments (Buildings and Infrastructure, Transportation, Consumer Goods, Industrial), we can help to make life more affordable, colourful, healthy and comfortable for the world’s ever-growing population.
In the area of employability, do you see synergies between your business purpose fulfillment and social responsibilities?
It’s very important for a sustainable business that there is a strong synergy between business purpose and social responsibilities. For our business it’s very important that we have skilled manpower in the paint industry which is unfortunately not the case at present. Most of the painters are currently not professionally trained and therefore they lack skills to effectively use our paints and get desired outcome. Therefore, it’s very important that we get skilled and trained manpower in the industry. However this issue can be addressed if as a part of social responsibility we help young people get trained as painters and join the industry. This will enable thousands of youth to get a livelihood and will also help our industry to get skilled and trained manpower.
How do you perceive your partnership with Sambhav and what difference has it brought to the beneficiaries?
AkzoNobel and Sambhav have come together and formed a unique partnership to provide first of its kind skill training in Vehicle Refinish. It is to be noted that for the first time in the country we are providing industry oriented short term training in this trade.
This partnership till date has helped more than 500 youth to get employment across four states of India. This has not only helped the youth to get employment but also has enabled the automobile body shops to provide better services to their customers. In this project Sambhav has used their strength in mobilizing youth and identify employment opportunities for the youth whereas AkzoNobel has helped in preparing content of the training and link automobile body shops with Labournet, Sambhav’s implementation partner. We are thankful to Sambhav for partnering with us for this initiative and we are confident in the coming years we will be changing the lives of thousands of youth by paving a way to train and hire blue collared work force in the industry.