The world cannot be a prosperous place until the last person can live a better life with dignity, respect, and wellbeing. With less than a decade to go, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have found a renewed importance in the global agenda. The developing countries are deemed to play the most significant role in shaping the future of the coming generations. This has become further obvious in the light of COVID-19, the climate crises, and the unprecedented loss of biodiversity that the world is witnessing.
For a country like India, which has arguably adopted one of the most ambitious targets ranging from renewable energy to lifting most of its population out of dire poverty, the challenge is unique. 65% of its population still lives in its rural hinterlands, and the urban-rural divide is still glaringly significant. It is, therefore, paramount to drive transformational rural community development to steward the country's development journey in the coming years.
With communities at the core of its social purpose, partnerships and programs, Pernod Ricard India is leading the line as a responsible corporate citizen with the vision to transform communities and accelerate local development near its plants and beyond in the areas of national development priorities.
The company has rapidly scaled up its social impact footprint to reach close to 900,000 people near 24 manufacturing plants in the past three years.
Here's a look at how Pernod Ricard India is Creating Shared Value to reach the farthest from the first in its communities: -
Water | Agriculture | Livelihoods
India is staring at the bleak possibility of becoming a water-scarce nation by 2025. Many regions face high to extremely high water stress. Agriculture, which is the mainstay for more than 60% of its population, consumes 80% of this groundwater for irrigation, adding another layer to the issue.
Championing a 360° water stewardship effort, Pernod Ricard India (PRI) has emerged as a Water Positive Organization putting more water back in the ground than it withdraws for business operations since 2019. To foster water resilience, its W.A.L (Water, Agriculture, Livelihoods) program spanning six states aims to safeguard water availability for 1,08,000 people while empowering more than 30,000 farmers. Working with vulnerable groups, especially small and marginal farmers, the program focuses on replenishing surface and groundwater to ensure year-round water availability through groundwater replenishment and surface storage creation. The program also promotes water-efficient agriculture, sustainable production and natural resource management to augment the disposable incomes of the farmers. The program has also strived to build community ownership of the water structures for long-term sustainability with participatory engagement. This has been done by establishing institutions such as Gram Sangathans, farmer groups, and water management committees.
Clean Drinking Water Sanitation And Hygiene
Envisioning Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) as a human right for communities, Pernod Ricard India has made tremendous efforts to bridge the demand and access gap in the availability of potable water to underserved communities, for whom drinking is inevitably tied to good health and wellbeing.
Pernod Ricard India Foundation's Clean Drinking Water programme has installed 50 Water ATMs at 18 locations across six States, which serve more than 1,50,000 beneficiaries. The unique "Hub and Spoke" model adopted in the programme addresses the gaps in reach and delivery of a high maintenance single RO model, which often fails to curb access and related labour and transport costs for communities.
The Hub and Spoke model provides clean drinking water to communities in their neighbourhood through specialized ring structures, which serve as storage and dispensing stations to supply water from a centralized RO plant through a rigorous quality assured process. The ATMs also generate local employment opportunities by employing youth and women SHGs from the communities as machine operators through an RFID-based dispensing model providing water at just 30 paise per litre. The program has been instrumental in bridging the drinking water gap in Sahibganj, a NITI Aayog aspirational district in Jharkhand with a significant tribal population and most rural households below the poverty line. The Hub-and-Spoke model of Water ATMs serves 10 locations with 2,000 LPH RO and ten ring structures and serving a population of 75,000 beneficiaries.
Preventive Healthcare At The Doorstep Of The Rural Poor
Committed to safeguarding the health and well-being of communities near its plants, Pernod Ricard India Foundation strives to take universal primary healthcare at the doorstep of rural poor, focusing on women, children and the elderly, and everyone who lacks access to it.
Project Sanjeevani, its mobile healthcare program, has deployed an interwoven network of 15 mobile health vans covering more than 200 villages near ten plants. Modelled on an inclusive approach of providing awareness, diagnosis, cure and referral, the vans cater up to 125 patients every day, covering a range of generic and severe conditions. The vans also establish a strong linkage with specialized hospitals. For patients with conditions that cannot be treated at the vans, doctors provide timely referrals for specific treatments at affordable places with a periodic follow-up cycle for each such patient. One of the focus groups for the program is rural women, for whom healthcare is often inaccessible given their low mobility beyond their villages. In 2020, the mobile vans treated more than 1,11,576 women across all locations for issues ranging from Anaemia to UTIs, and STDs. They sensitized them on reproductive, sexual and maternal health, better nutrition, prevention of UTIs and adoption of improved WASH practices. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the vans have also ensured that people continue to access critical generic medicines and are aware of prevention measures like physical distancing, mask-wearing and handwashing and the latest information and guidelines.
Batting Covid-19 & Beyond: Supporting Frontline Workers, Critical Healthcare Infrastructure And Communities
At the onset of the crisis, PRI repurposed its production in five states to manufacture more than 420,000 litres of hand sanitisers. The company also provided 400,000 surgical and N95 masks and 10,000+ PPEs to health workers and communities. In April 2020, the company also set up the first-ever RT-PCR COVID-19 testing facility in the landlocked region of Ladakh.
To accelerate COVID-19 innovations ranging from remote healthcare support for pregnant mothers to X-ray based COVID detection, PRIF incubated four women-led enterprises as part of its We Social Impact Incubator.
With the brutal second wave of COVID-19 striking India in April 2021, Pernod Ricard India is rapidly scaling up its support to augment the government's efforts to provide affected citizens with timely access to quality healthcare. To date, more than 100 Intensive Care Ventilators, 105 HFNC (High Flow Nasal Cannulas), 140 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds, 35 Multi Para Monitors, along with preventive healthcare support for personal & public hygiene with sanitisers, and masks have been provided across 17 states for Frontline COVID-19 warriors like the Punjab Police Personnel, Indian Navy & Air Force (CSD), State Health Departments and Truck Drivers.
The Oxygen Crisis during the second wave also affected thousands of citizens. PRI further stepped up its efforts by helping set up 8 Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) Oxygen Plants units in large multi-speciality government hospitals in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh & Maharashtra.
While the 2nd wave has thankfully abated, the threat of the virus remains clear as daylight. This gets further exacerbated in rural India with its fragmented healthcare system. Since the first COVID-19 wave, 14 Mobile health Vans, 4 Ambulances have been serving the affected during these crisis times, taking care of the primary healthcare needs of 2,81,700 community members. The Mobile Health Vans will continue to reach out to more than 600 villages each year over the next three years, bridging access to awareness, diagnoses, free medicines, and referral services for remote and rural communities. In addition to this, PRI has also supported vans that aid the local healthcare centres in scaling up the vaccination efforts.
Sustainable social impact can only be brought about by creating spaces that enable people to seek progress for themselves. Pernod Ricard India is weaving transformational growth and development with its communities across the country, setting a strong precedent for collaborative action for India Inc. and the society at large.