Applied Materials is committed to being a socially responsible corporation in India. Its commitment is demonstrated by its strategic charitable investments in local communities and by the passion of its employees and their involvement in non-profit and educational organizations. Srinivas Satya, President and Managing Director – Applied Materials India gives an account of some of the company’s recent initiatives and the broad areas in which it contributes –
Can we have your thoughts and vision on Sustainability & CSR programs in India?
As a responsible corporate citizen, Applied Materials works to make a positive contribution in the communities where our employees work and live. We conduct our business operations in a manner that preserves the environment and protects the health and safety of workers, customers and the world around us.
Applied Materials is committed to making social contributions with sustainable impact to the communities where we operate. Our focus on being a socially responsible corporate citizen has earned us consistent recognition.
Could you share some of the recent initiatives of Applied Materials, of how it is shaping the path for CSR within the company?
Making a positive social contribution to the community is a value ingrained in our culture, and to achieve this objective, we make strategic investments, both financial and human resources, in the communities where we live and to the world around us. We also give employees ample opportunities for volunteering in their community.
These are the broad areas where we contribute:
Education: We support strategic education efforts focused on academic achievement, teacher professional development and specific university projects – opening opportunities for students to explore new ideas and experiences.
Civic engagement: Through collaboration in local communities, Applied Materials helps meet basic needs, such as food and housing, works with youth leadership programs, and supports the infrastructure of the nonprofit sector.
Environment: By investing in environmental education and community-based projects – especially those that engage employee volunteers – Applied Materials is working to build a more sustainable future around the world.
Arts & Culture: We consistently support arts and cultural organizations, and invest in programs and partnerships that recognize the essential role the arts play in the community and in education.
We also have instituted The James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award at “The Tech Awards” that recognize innovative uses of technology to solve the world’s most pressing problems. This Global Humanitarian Award, named after Applied’s former longtime CEO, honors individuals whose leadership and vision positively impact humanity.
Employee Volunteering: Applied Materials’ community involvement programs help employees make a difference to society through volunteerism, educational outreach, technical mentoring, environmental stewardship and health-related activities. Employee-organized campaigns including the annual India “Food Drive” and “Book Drive” are planned and executed by employees, creating opportunities for the entire organization to come together to raise funds for a local cause of significance. These are events where teams are created cross-sectionally, and employees work shoulder-to-shoulder with diverse groups and teams across the organization.
Corporate Program To Facilitate Employee Giving & Volunteering: We have evolved the “Applied Giving” program to further promote the concept of “giving” and “volunteering,” by matching employee contributions of money and time to registered eligible charities. In a year, an employee can request personal financial contributions to eligible charities be matched up to $2000 from the Applied Materials Foundation. Employee volunteering (personal time) in the community is also financially matched with $400 a year for 40 hours of volunteer service for each employee. The employee can direct the funds to an eligible charity of his/her choice.
Recognitions to Promote Community Consciousness: The Exemplary Social Citizen Award at Applied Materials India is a special award given quarterly to employee(s) who have gone beyond the call of duty to contribute to society. This does not include community activities organized by the company, so it serves as a true recognition of social contributors and innovators. It also underscores Applied Materials’ commitment to make a positive contribution to the communities where we live and the world around us.
Innovation for the Community: A recently concluded IoT hackath on at Applied Materials India had social responsibility as one of the streams open for ideas. The best ideas were reviewed in detail by a panel to receive mentoring and funding support for further development. An idea currently being incubated is a project, “Wireless transmission of purity of potable water”.
Given the various setbacks to CSR implementation in the country, what is the need of the hour according to you for India to evolve a robust CSR framework?
For Applied Materials, which had a CSR framework and programming in place prior to passage of the CSR Bill, there have been no setbacks or concerns about adherence to the intent of the Bill.
However, for organizations new to CSR, more clarity on the bill, increased information on specifics, and industry case studies might be helpful in in facilitating CSR implementation. There have been many initiatives supported by industry organizations and NGOs, which businesses can learn from and leverage.
Organizations also need to embrace CSR in spirit, and realize that it benefits the corporation and their employees in many ways. An in-house team managing CSR/Sustainability will bring more structure and ensure continuity of initiatives.
What is your CSR vision for the year 2017?
As mentioned earlier, our corporate responsibility initiatives range from business sustainability practices, to community involvement, to improving energy efficiency. Our vision for CSR stays the same – meaningful involvement in the community that ensures we are an engaged, responsible corporate citizen.
What is your mantra of running a successful CSR program?
It’s quite simple – one of Applied’s core values is to operate with responsibility and integrity. Our commitment to CSR, our contributions to the community, and our engagement of employees are rooted in this fundamental value.
How has the CSR mandate in the Company’s Act changed the way your company plans its CSR programs?
Applied Materials already had a full-fledged Community Affairs program, and this was part of the Applied India entity since its inception almost 15 years ago. We are proud that we had a strong foundation in CSR when the Company’s Act was passed, and we are pleased that our programs adhere to the principles outlined in the Act. Because of this, there haven’t been any major changes in the way we planned or designed our programs.
How do you plan to position your company in the area of CSR & Sustainability?
Applied works to share information about our commitment to CSR and sustainability with key stakeholders both inside and outside the company. We publish an annual Citizenship Report, post to a CSR Applied Blog, and contribute articles and information for our employee intranet. To increase employee awareness of our CSR efforts, we often include relevant information at all-hands meetings, in quarterly videos for the entire workforce, and via executive communication to staff. Applied is often recognized for our CSR efforts and we proudly share the distinctions with those who might be interested.