Research Project Background
This case study is one of ten that were chosen as part of the Enhancing Business-Community Relations project in India implemented in collaboration with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). These cases document examples of engagement between businesses and communities and can be used as learning tools for the promotion of responsible business practice and sustainable development. The Enhancing Business-Community Relations project is a joint international initiative between United Nations Volunteers (UNV) and the New Academy of Business. Implemented in seven developing countries, the purpose of the initiative was to collect and document information on business-community practices as perceived by all stakeholders, build partnerships with them and promote corporate social responsibility practices. It is also intended to enhance international understanding of business-community relations through information sharing and networking with other countries especially those participating in the project - Brazil, Ghana, India, Nigeria, Philippines, South Africa and Lebanon. The findings and recommendations reflected in the case study are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of UNV, TERI or the New Academy of Business. It is important to note that these cases were written as examples of business-community initiatives. They do not constitute a comprehensive assessment of the company s social responsibility. .
a comprehensive assessment of the company s social responsibility.
This case study examines initiatives implemented by IFFCO s Phulpur Unit in Uttar Pradesh that take place while the company is conducting business as well as initiatives that are not directly related to business practice itself.3 It provides an excellent example for companies wishing to improve upon their existing management systems, while simultaneously investing in local communities. Perhaps the most interesting part of IFFCO s initiatives is in the field of farmer development, in which the responsibility boundaries between companies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are being stretched. This scheme, as well as social (employee) and environmental initiatives, are discussed
2. Company Profile
The Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) is one of the world s largest manufacturers of fertiliser. Its membership has increased from 57 to 36,000 cooperative societies between registration in 1967 and 2002, and annual turnover is over Rs. 5000 crores. IFFCO has also promoted a number of joint-venture projects, such as KRIBHCO, Godavari fertilisers, Indian Potash, Industries Chiminique du Senegal, and Oman Fertiliser Company. It has recently entered into the non-life insurance sector with the formation of IFFCO-TokioGeneral Insurance Company in 2000.
3. Project History and Development
Motivations behind business-community initiatives are often difficult to ascertain, and IFFCO provides no exception. While the programme eliminating liquid effluent discharge into the public drainage system has helped in solving an administration related problem, it has also dramatically improved IFFCO s environmental practice and thus aided business-community relations.
3.1 Issues Addressed
Although IFFCO is a large company it is unique in that its cooperative status enables close business-community relations. This has an impact on the initiatives it has undertaken to date, which can be broadly divided into three categories. Good environmental practice within the organisation is of paramount importance, while IFFCO also participates in national level campaigns aimed at reducing environmental impact. The second category contains social initiatives, involving employee rights and the opportunity to train during working hours but also targeting the residential townships and wider communities as a whole. Finally, IFFCO has made attempts at agricultural extension and farmer development, which might be indicative of the boundary between NGO and corporation becoming blurred.
3.2 Environmental initiatives
IFFCO has a well-defined environmental policy at both Headquarters and Unit level, and has established an Environment and Pollution Control Cell department. This in turn has implemented an Environment Management System in accordance with the International Organisation of Standardisation (ISO). It has also been externally audited by an Indian representative of the British Standards Institution. These initiatives are in accordance with national and international guidelines. Waste Management, Natural Resource Conservation and Environment Protection have been shown to be of paramount importance to IFFCO Phulpur by the adoption of eco-friendly technology wherever possible. Technology has been chosen that produces negligible waste, conserves resources and reuses treated effluents to the maximum possible extent. Environment monitoring and control at Phulpur is efficiently met by providing all necessary instrumentation and pollution control measures for liquid effluent, air emission, domestic sewage and solid wastes.
The programme implemented at Phulpur addresses the following environmental issues; It conserves precious natural commodities, for example water. Fresh water consumption has been substantially reduced by 52 per cent of the originally envisaged consumption. By avoiding liquid effluent discharge into public drainage system, the pollution load in the surrounding area is reduced.
Reusing treated water helps maintain groundwater supplies. The waste water is used for the irrigation of the green belt developed in usar (alkaline) soil. The continuous use of this effluent water changes, over time, the alkaline characteristics of the soil, which in turn is easier to farm.
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