Corporates put money where their heart is with CSR initiatives during Covid

From expediting oxygen procurement to rolling out vaccines to their employees, here is how companies have been supporting India's fight against Covid

e4m by Nafisa Shaheen
Updated: May 10, 2021 7:02 PM
CSR

It has been a month since the country has been grappling with the second wave of the coronavirus. Every institution is overwhelmed by the pressure of rising COVID cases. Business sentiments that were just reviving from the onslaught of the first wave have again dampened due to the second wave.

In spite of the gloom, corporates, however big or small, have been communicating about the need for collective efforts to help curb the fatalities of the second wave. They have not only put a pause on all their marketing and promotional activities but also put their ear to the ground to understand what the country needs during this crucial hour.

As part of their ‘Corporate Social Responsibilities(CSR), corporates have been aiding the government and the people of the country by allocating and sharing resources, helping in the vaccination process, focusing on employee welfare and more. Let us take a closer look at how corporates have humanity at the core of all their endeavours today.

Financial Aid

Among the many companies that have extended financial support to India’s ongoing COVID-19 relief efforts, STAR India pledged financial support of Rs 50 crores. The proceeds will be utilized to aid relief efforts and towards the procurement of critical healthcare equipment, including oxygen concentrators, BiPAP, and ventilators along with setting up oxygen plants across hospitals.

Extending his support to the cause, K Madhavan, President, The Walt Disney Company India and Star India, through a Tweet, said, "We stand in solidarity with all of India in our fight against COVID-19. The Walt Disney Company and Star India are humbly contributing INR 50 crore to aid relief efforts. The need of the hour is to provide critical healthcare supplies and equipment to save lives. This is our common fight and our contribution reaffirms our steadfast commitment to India, and builds upon the INR 28 crores that our Company contributed towards COVID-19 relief in 2020." 

Google and Microsoft have also pledged to support India. Sundar Pichai, CEO-Google and Alphabet tweeted, “Devastated to see the worsening Covid crisis in India. Google & Googlers are providing Rs135 crore in funding to @GiveIndia, @UNICEF for medical supplies, orgs supporting high-risk communities, and grants to help spread critical information".

Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft took to Twitter to express his solidarity with the country: “I am heartbroken by the current situation in India. I'm grateful the US government is mobilising to help. Microsoft will continue to use its voice, resources, and technology to aid relief efforts, and support the purchase of critical oxygen concentration devices.”

Samsung too has pledged $5 million (Rs 37 Crore) as its contribution to India’s fight against the current surge of Covid-19, providing donations to central and state governments, and boosting the healthcare sector with essential medical equipment for hospitals, as part of its citizenship initiatives. It will donate $3 million to the Centre as well as to the states of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. 

Companies like Amazon India, Tech Mahindra, Mahindra&Mahindra, and more have also pledged similar support.

Aiding with Resources

Indian businesses have whole-heartedly supported the steps taken by the government in the relief reforms. Reliance Foundation has set up 1,000-bed Covid Care facilities with oxygen supply in Jamnagar. All services are being provided free of cost to the citizens and the entire cost of setting up and running the facilities is being borne by Reliance. A 400 beds Covid Care facility has been set up and running at Government Dental College & Hospital in Jamnagar. Thereafter, another 600 beds Covid Care facility will be made operational at another location in Jamnagar within the next two weeks’ time.

Dhanraj Nathwani, Group President at Reliance Industries Ltd. said, “Reliance CMD Shri Mukesh Ambani has come forward to assist in providing hospital facility for Covid-affected patients in Gujarat. So, under the leadership of our Chairman, Reliance teams are working on setting up these two Covid care facilities in the shortest possible time.” 

Reliance Industries has been manufacturing medical liquid oxygen to help curb the oxygen shortage in the country, among various other measures being taken.

Samsung too has extended its support to the healthcare system over the last few weeks, providing $2 million worth of medical supplies, including 100 Oxygen Concentrators, 3,000 Oxygen Cylinders and one million LDS syringes. These will be offered to the states of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Samsung has helped the manufacturers with LDS (Low Dead Space) syringes to increase production capacity. 

Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) has been meeting the challenge of making Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) available in the country. It has already supplied 36,747 Metric Tonnes (MT) of Liquid Medical Oxygen since Aug’20 as per the requirement. With increase in demand of LMO in the country, SAIL has enhanced its focus on increasing the production since the beginning of this month. In the last six days, the company has supplied, on an average, 660 MT of LMO per day from its plants. On 21st April, 2021 alone, the company has supplied 891 MT of LMO.

“During this hour of the emergency need, SAIL firmly stands committed with the nation and will do everything to augment the production of Liquid Medical Oxygen from its plants. All its plants have been advised to maximise production of LMO and optimize dispatch logistics so as to reduce turnaround time of oxygen tankers”, company spokesperson reaffirmed.

boAt, an Indian audio player, has donated Rs 50 lakh in order to procure high-grade oxygen concentrators and essential medical supplies for hospitals to boost their life-saving capacity and help Covid-19, infected patients. boAt has partnered with SaveLIFE Foundation to deliver oxygen concentrators across Delhi and help meet the rising demand for the same.

Aman Gupta, Co-founder, boAt commented: “The COVID-19 pandemic has reached catastrophic proportions in India, more so in the National Capital Region. As an Indian brand, we recognize the challenges being faced by our people today and we truly hope that our small contribution will support healthcare and frontline workers as they race against time to save lives and contain the spread of this virus.”

CRED, an Indian fintech startup and unicorn, based out of Bangalore, Karnataka, in partnership with Milaap, a healthcare fundraising platform, has launched a cause campaign where members can spend CRED Coins towards oxygen for those who need it most. Every 10,000 CRED Coins will go towards 1,000 litres of oxygen. Members can participate as many times as they would like, with no cap on Coin spends. Milaap will channel the funds raised to partners, will buy and deploy oxygen concentrators for hospitals and healthcare non-profits across India. 

To address the acute shortage of oxygen, L’Oréal announced its financial support to the French government’s initiative to provide oxygen generators, liquid oxygen containers and specialized respirators to the country. In addition, L’Oréal is working with a network of NGO’s across India, including GiveIndia, United Way Mumbai, Hemkunt Foundation, ActionAid Association, the Akshay Patra Foundation etc. to provide critical oxygen equipment, medical supplies, food, education and hygiene kits across the country. L’Oréal will provide oxygen concentrators and cylinders to hospitals in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab and distribute over 100,000 units of sanitizers to government hospitals, police forces, municipal corporations, and - those on the frontline of the pandemic across the country.   

Amit Jain, Managing Director, L’Oréal India said, " We are deeply concerned with the severity of the second wave of the pandemic and committed to working closely with the government and  our NGO partners to support the country’s collective efforts to fight the crisis.”

The Tata group announced on LinkedIn its support for India's Covid fight. The post said, “The Tata group is importing 24 cryogenic containers to transport liquid oxygen and help ease the oxygen shortage in the country. Tata Steel is providing 200-300 tonnes of oxygen every day to several states and hospitals.”

Paytm, India's digital financial services platform announced that Paytm Foundation will acquire and import over 3,000 Oxygen Concentrators (OCs) to fight Covid-19 and the ongoing oxygen shortage in the country. It has launched a nationwide 'Oxygen for India' initiative to create more awareness about the issue. While Paytm Foundation has already placed an order for importing 1,000 Oxygen Concentrators worth Rs 4 crore, it is aiming to further raise over Rs 10 crore.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder & CEO, Paytm said, "India is going through an unprecedented oxygen crisis right now and there are all kinds of oxygen support needed, large oxygen tankers, oxygen cylinders & then something that can produce oxygen locally which is oxygen concentrators. I also call upon other startups, businesses to join us and match rupee to rupee contribution to double the supply of oxygen concentrators. It will be a great support for India in the present oxygen crisis. I am sure by pooling in our resources we will be able to fight this crisis and come out stronger."

                   

Vaccination

Many corporates in India have stepped up and offered to bear the vaccination cost of the citizens as well as its employees and their families.

Procter& Gamble announced that the company will contribute towards the vaccination of over 5 lakh Indian citizens by pledging Rs 50 crore in partnership with government and local authorities in India. For every P&G employee in India, the company is contributing towards the vaccination of 100 Indians. In addition, the company will also cover the vaccination cost of its 5000+ employee force in India and their eligible immediate family members. P&G brands Whisper, Vicks, Pampers, Oral-B, Head &Shoulders and Pantene are partnering in this vaccination drive through their brand programs and will also continue to raise awareness on safety and hygiene in the country.

Madhusudan Gopalan, CEO, P&G Indian Subcontinent said, “We recognize the urgent need for health experts, relief organisations, government and industries to come together as one in our fight against the pandemic. P&G is committed to playing an active role in India’s fight against COVID-19 and will contribute Rs 50 crore towards 10 lakh vaccine doses covering vaccination of 5 lakh Indians, 100 citizens for every one employee we have in India.” 

Licious, meats & seafood brands in India, made an announcement regarding their pledge to cover vaccination cost for all their employees including delivery partners and other associates. The company has tied up with a corporate wellness partner to provide this service in a seamless manner to all employees & will also provide the required support in case of any health-related issues arising out of vaccination. The vaccination drive will begin by covering costs for its employees aged above 45 years in keeping with the Centre's guidelines on COVID-19 vaccination.

Vivek Gupta & Abhay Hanjura, Co-Founder, Licious, said, "We have gone through one of the most business-critical parts of our five year journey during 2020. We have been able to weather the storm through the initial months, bolster the supply chain & achieve a quick scale up because of the diligence and continued dedication of our team across functions & geographies. While they did their part to fast-track growth for the company, we have been mindful about their health & well-being- especially for our front-line workers who kept the essential services sector running. The pledge to aid vaccination for our employees is another step towards expressing gratitude & ensuring we continue to keep our people safe and healthy".

Infosys, Capgemini, Accenture, upGrad, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Piramal enterprises and others are more such examples. 

Welfare Initiatives:

As the country continues to grapple with the second wave of coronavirus pandemic, healthcare and frontline workers are racing against time to contain its spread. Many dedicated heroes have lost their lives in the process. Many responsible organizations have taken initiatives to aid the frontline workers and their families as part of their CSR mandates. Mankind Pharma is one such example that is standing alongside the families of these heroes and will donate Rs 100 crores to support them.

Rajeev Juneja, Managing Director & Vice Chairman, Mankind Pharma, said, Our fearless Heroes are doing their best to help people who are infected by Covid-19 or are suffering due to economic or social reasons brought about by the second wave of the pandemic. Being the first line of defense they are highly exposed to this deadly disease. Many have lost their lives fighting the pandemic and protecting us. Their invaluable service to the nation and humanity will not be forgotten. As a homage to them, we have pledged a fund of Rs 100 crore to support and care for the families of these lost warriors. This is not our duty, but a debt we owe them. Because they are truly our hope.”

With a peak in daily cases across the country, COVID-19 has led to a shortage of safe spaces for the underprivileged during their recovery from COVID-19. GiveIndia and OYO Care have launched a fundraising campaign #ShelterForAll with an aim to raise Rs 10 crore to offer rooms as isolation and quarantine shelters for COVID-19 positive patients in need in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Gurgaon/Delhi NCR for symptomatic as well as asymptomatic COVID-19 patients during their recovery.

Atul Satija, CEO of GiveIndia commented, “During such distressing times, this is a unique and meaningful campaign with the support of OYO Care for the neglected segments of our society. While patients who need critical care are running out of beds and oxygen, those who are positive and mildly symptomatic are also in grave need for spaces to recover. We hope this campaign will raise awareness of underprivileged COVID-19 patients, their basic right to shelter for isolation and a  chance to recover.”

ITC Limited too came out with a citizen welfare initiative to help in the treatment of Covid positive patients and administering vaccines. It has helped in the setting up of a 200-bed medical facility in Kolkata by Medica Superspeciality Hospital for the treatment of COVID-19 positive patients and for administering vaccines.                

 

To maintain good mental health, Amway India has taken proactive measures to stay connected with and engage employees regularly. The company has also been generating awareness around health and safety and following COVID-19 protocols, through engaging awareness campaigns such as ‘Jaan Hai to Jahaan Hai’ and several virtual sessions urging employees to stay safe, eat right to build immunity and accelerate the vaccination process. Lastly, to help unwind and break the monotony Amway has been hosting a virtual colleagues and family engagement session every Friday – Fun Friday with Sampark, to fight the pandemic fatigue as part of their employee engagement initiatives.

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