The company is already carbon positive, water positive, recycling positive, and gets 48 per cent of its energy from renewable sources.
Under ITC’s Water-shed Development Programme that is designed to assist farmers in moisture-stressed areas, the company has built 10,000 water structures, which irrigate 8,22,000 acres of dry land and generate 5 million person-days of employment for marginal and landless households. “It’s about empowerment. It’s about creating sustainable livelihoods. It’s about creating partnerships,” says Vijay Vardhan, operations manager and head of Social Investments at ITC.
This is just one of the initiatives undertaken by India’s leading conglomerate ITC that aims to create 10 million sustainable livelihoods by 2030. The company is already carbon positive, water positive, recycling positive, and gets 48 per cent of its energy from renewable sources.
Among its other initiatives is the e-choupal drive, through which ITC is empowering small and marginal farmers by providing them with Internet access, latest agriculture prices, weather information and so on. About 6,100 e-choupals across 35,000 villages are benefitting over 4 million farmers.“The fourth-generation e-Choupal will be an aggregator of agricultural services. E-commerce will be integral to it,” says S. Sivakumar, group head, agri and IT businesses, ITC. The company now plans to double its reach among farmers in the coming years. “We plan to spend Rs 25,000 crore across 65 projects,” says Sanjiv Puri, CEO, ITC.
Aligned with this objective, ITC’s Livestock Development Programme provides integrated animal husbandry services to 15,00,000 milch animals and helps in adding to non-farm incomes. Another very beneficial programme is the Targeted Hard-core Poor programme that offers training to poor women in villages on a variety of subjects to prepare them to take up entrepreneurship. Under the programme, women are also given grants to set up their own business. According to Pushpa Parmar, a beneficiary of the programme, “I got money for a sewing machine. They asked me what I can do and I said I can sew, so they got me a sewing machine. Now I have a parlour with regular customers. I earn Rs 6,000-7,000 per month and all my children go to school”.
Alongside its efforts to contribute to the society, the tobacco giant is also working on an eight-pronged strategy to reinvent itself and accelerate growth in its non-cigarette businesses, especially branded consumer packaged food, a segment it entered 15 years ago, says Puri. The “create the new ITC” strategy is part of the Kolkata-based company’s plan to reach Rs 1 trillion in revenue from its packaged goods business by 2030. The growth in the branded packaged food business will be fuelled by the company’s entry into fruits, vegetables and sea food, adding one new product every quarter.