CSR is a serious affair for us

Updated: Apr 27 2008, 05:38am hrs
We define social responsibility (SR) in the context of our Sustainability initiative in Dr Reddy's. Sustainability is the simultaneous pursuit of economic, social and environmental improvement in our context. SR forms the social dimension of our approach towards sustainability. Our SR efforts encompass sustainable business practices, safety, health and environment systems, patient assistance programs, community development, people practices and citizenship. The voluntary initiatives are a part of this.

Dr Reddys Laboratories purpose is to 'Help people lead healthier lives'. We are focused on the triple bottomline approach, emphasising simultaneous pursuit of performance on three dimensions people, planet and profit, thus enabling us to deliver sustained value through environmentally friendly and socially responsible operations.

Our active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and generics businesses focus on affordability by providing lower cost, high quality alternatives. We have significant improvements in process development ,with growing emphasis on green chemistry. Our flagship program, The Livelihood Advancement Business School (LABS) is offered across India and addresses economic development by improving employability of school dropouts and youth from deprived communities. Till date we have trained over 1,30,000 people, thus providing sustainable livelihoods. The Centre for Social Initiatives and Management offers educational and training programmes that include a post-graduate diploma in Social Initiative and Management and is aimed at creating social entrepreneurs who can work persistently to create a lasting social impact.

Dr Reddys made its first structured social investment in 1996, when Dr Reddys Foundation (DRF) was launched. We adopted the terminology, sustainability to describe our efforts in creating positive social and environmental benefits from the year 2003 onwards, when we published our first Sustainability report.

In May 2006, the company launched an initiative called Sparsh, meant to reach out to economically challenged cancer patients. This programme operates by routing expensive cancer medicines to needy patients through their Sparsh patrons oncologists across the country. Today, under the aegis of Sparsh, all oncology brands of Dr Reddys are being given free to patients suffering from cancer. The company has made available medicines worth approx. Rs 62 million as part of the Sparsh programme to deserving patients in the year 2007-08, offering 3000 cycles of treatment of most of the major brands of Dr Reddys oncology.

Climate Change awareness is another major initiative that we have undertaken. We started this with the screening of Al Gores An Inconvenient Truth documentary around our campuses. We have also partnered with Centre for Social Markets, a UK-based NGO to drive home the message of Climate Change and its consequences. We have started taking energy reduction targets in our operations. In meeting environmental standards, we built our first green building called The Innovation Plaza which houses our Integrated Product Development Organisation.

Dr Reddys implemented sustainability as a model to guide the planning and implementation of its annual celebrations this year. The model helped us create awareness on sustainability. We are now aiming to be a waste neutral organisation. Our total operating expense in financial year 2006-07 was

Rs 148 million. All sustainability initiatives are driven by employees. Their engagement ranges from following safety, health and environment standards to volunteering with causes that the company supports.

(Prasad, vice chairman and CEO, Dr Reddys Laboratories spoke with Sulekha Nair)