In conversation with Mahathi Parashuram, Head – Public Affairs & Marketing, Grundfos Pumps India Pvt. Ltd
Tell me about the philanthropic journey of Grundfos India
Grundfos was incorporated in 1945 by Poul Due Jensen. Grundfos Holding A/S is a pump manufacturer which offers sustainable pump solutions to the market. We are a premium pump brand and are a market leader producing over a 16 million pump units. Grundfos Pumps India Pvt. Ltd. (Grundfos India) a wholly owned subsidiary of Grundfos Holdings was established in March 13, 1998. It is responsible for sales of Grundfos products in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Maldives.
Grundfos’ goal is to be a global leader within advanced pump solutions and an innovator in water technologies. We want to contribute to a more sustainable world by developing pioneering technologies to improve quality of life for people and take care of the planet.
The Grundfos Foundation is based in Denmark and owns 87.8% of the shares in Grundfos. It was created by Grundfos founder, Poul Due Jensen in 1975. The Foundation’s task is to ensure the development of Grundfos in line with his values. Most of the annual revenue is reinvested into Grundfos, but the Foundation also donates to humanitarian projects focused on providing safe drinking water.
Sustainability is a very important part of Grundfos’ DNA, and has been the basis for the way we conduct our business from the very beginning. We take responsibility for contributing to global sustainability by pioneering technologies that improve quality of life for people and care for the planet, perfectly in line with our purpose – to be a global leader in advanced pump solutions and a trendsetter in water technology. Around 95 – 95% of our pumps’ components for example can be recycled. For this, we ensure 5% of our profits are funneled back to R&D to make the pump more energy efficient. It is also mandated that every new generation of pumps that the company produces should be two percent more efficient than the ones previously manufactured by it.
With a strong sustainability DNA, three years back Grundfos India charted a new CSR strategy to focus on five key areas, where we felt we could make the maximum impact. Grundfos India’s CSR initiatives focus on sustainability, energy & water conservation, health & hygiene (focused on children and women), education (focused on children and women) and livelihood. The company’s employees are also involved closely with some of these initiatives and volunteer their time and expertise to help the local communities. The driving force for the CSR initiatives was Ranganath N K, MD of Grundfos Pumps India.
The sustainability efforts at Grundfos is very scientific. The Chairman of Grundfos India, the MD of Grundfos India and Head of Public Affairs & Marketing form the core committee who define the strategy for India. This committee is supported by a CSR network team, who are representatives from different departments and help plan and execute the projects. This team is in regular touch with the NGOs and community partners. The group is also responsible for the reporting of the CSR initiatives back to the Board of Directors as well. The programs are executed by employees who volunteer on various initiatives.
We drive the sustainability mindset from within. For example, at work we are all asked to segregate our waste at our desks. We have two separate dustbins, one for wet and the other for dry waste. We also encourage our employees to not print, recycle the print outs. We also have India’s first green commercial building, so this means that we have natural lighting and use lights in the office only in the evening. These small changes in mindset have a big impact on sustainability.
“Around 95 – 95% of our pumps’ components for example can be recycled. For this, we ensure 5% of our profits are funneled back to R&D to make the pump more energy efficient”
“We drive the sustainability mindset from within. For example, at work we are all asked to segregate our waste at our desks.”
“The Trust promotes street theatre as an effort to create public awareness in the community on various topics. These street plays are commonly conducted in our offices”
“20 girls were trained in soft skills like team work, adaptability, critical observation etc. and 40 school dropouts were identified and urged to resume their schooling.”
Can you tell me a little more on the successful CSR programs at Grundfos India?
As part of the CSR initiative, Grundfos India has been working with Turning Point for the betterment of slum children. Turning Point, a social organization that looks at the overall development of school -going children in the slum community, has been associated with Grundfos India since 2008. Grundfos’ involvement in the programme has helped the Trust in providing skill -based training and education to these children. With the able guidance of qualified and self-motivated teachers, these children are able to fulfill their dreams of education and better living. We provide financial support which is utilized for staff salaries, various activities and campaigns that Turning Point runs. Some of the staff members at Turning Point are ex-students, who now are pursuing higher education and this financial support enables them to pay their college fees as well. The support also extends to extra-curricular activities at Turning Point to hone their leadership skills, personality and improve their confidence level. Over the years Grundfos has also organized factory visits for the students and staff members of Turning Point. During these visits, Grundfos also have interactive presentations on water and energy conservation with these children. In 2014, some of Grundfos India’s employees also volunteered on a weekly basis to help teach and coach the teachers at Turning Point on English, Math as well as extracurricular activities. This enabled the teachers to thereafter provide better tutorials to their students. Adding to Turning Point’s list of achievements due to Grundfos India’s efforts is the fact that 20 girls were trained in soft skills like team work, adaptability, critical observation etc. and 40 school dropouts were identified and urged to resume their schooling. The Trust also promotes street theatre as an effort to create public awareness in the community on various topics. These street plays are commonly conducted in our offices. To ensure further collaborations with the NGOs that it works with, Grundfos India had conducted a drawing contest based on its products and services. Four illustrations were chosen from students of Turning Point. These were used in the company’s 2016 calendars. The Trust, children and their families were over joyed by this gesture.
Balaji Rangarajan, Junior technician–Production, with us was recently awarded the Pathway-Pamela Martinez Vocational Award by B Valarmathi, the Minister of Social Welfare -Government of Tamil Nadu. Balaji was nominated by Swabodhini’s School for Special Children under the mainstream category for his consistent development and achievements. The school had helped train him to develop his gross and fine motor skills, cognition and communication. Today Balaji works at Grundfos as a full time employee on the shop-floor. We have been supporting Swabodhini’s School for Special Children since 2009, and have hired and trained three of Swabhodini’s autistic students, including Balaji, and they have been with us for more than 4 years.
Two key initiative towards creating a green and clean planet by Grundfos India is called ek boondh paani (which means one drop water in Hindi) and i Save Energy. Through these programs we are trying to promote Water and Energy conservation among the general public. Why did we choose water and energy? Water and energy conservation is something that needs to be ingrained into the minds of the general public and, especially amongst the stake holders of Grundfos who are generally Green conscious in their life style. Given the current situation, with water and energy resources becoming scarcer by the day, conservation has acquired that much importance. It is imperative to act NOW and the economical way that was opted by us, was to create these community pages in Social media (Facebook) to talk about the urgent need to save our most precious resources.
Through our solar pumps – we are also helping change the lives of thousands of villagers. For example, in one village, where we donated a solar pump, with access to water we realized there was a sea of change. With more water, there was more crop available as fodder for the cows. Cows were able to give more and better milk. More marriages happened into the village, due to the availability of water. Toilets were built as they wanted to improve the hygiene of the village and last and most important, more children were sent to school as they got access to water and toilets. In 2014, the Grundfos Foundation has also donated over 100 solar pumps across 100 villages in India. This has greatly changed the social economic ratio dramatically.
The other important key sustainability project for us in India that we take pride in, is our facility in Chennai, India. It’s in line with our overall objective, to make its entire operation sustainable and eco-friendly. Light is free and abundant at our office which was set up in 2005. With its generous use of glass and minimalist design, the architecture of the buildings plays on the power of natural light. When the main structure was completed, it was certified by the US Green Building Council in 2005. It was the first Indian facility to get a ‘Gold’ rating by an international agency, and was upgraded to ‘Platinum’ in 2013. (Grundfos’s Chennai factory was awarded a Gold rating by the Indian Green Building Council in 2011.). We have used the energy efficient materials to construct the building and techniques like – double walls to high roofs—to tackle glare and heat that are intrinsic to sunlight. Double walls with air gaps help keep the heat out. Due to this building, we have been able to reduce 38% in water consumption and reduced energy consumption and CO2 emission.
Pumps currently consume 10 % of global electricity. Our pumps are significantly more efficient than what is available in the market, and estimate that if everyone shifts to high-efficiency pump systems, the world’s total electricity consumption will reduce by four %, which is equivalent to the power that 1 billion people use in their homes every year. It will also reduce carbon dioxide emissions significantly. With this we had partnered with NDTV and launched a program called Mission Energy. Through this campaign, we brought the spotlight on India’s energy challenges and actively engaged with the country’s leading experts, policy makers, conservationists, industry voices and NGOs to highlight the growing requirement for energy efficiency and conservation and help chart a roadmap to a sustainable future. Mission Energy was also supported by CII as Knowledge Partner and AEEE as Energy Efficiency Partner.
How do you raise funds for all these activities? Is this just from the profits of Grundfos India?
Funds for our CSR activities come from our India budget and profits. The Grundfos Foundation directly also supports various CSR initiatives in India.
“Toilets were built as they wanted to improve the hygiene of the village and last and most important, more children were sent to school as they got access to water and toilets.”
“When the main structure was completed, it was certified by the US Green Building Council in 2005. It was the first Indian facility to get a ‘Gold’ rating by an international agency, and was upgraded to ‘Platinum’ in 2013. (Grundfos’s Chennai factory was awarded a Gold rating by the Indian Green Building Council in 2011.)”