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Published on: May 17, 2024, 1:55 p.m.
How Hindustan Zinc empowers communities
  • Hindustan Zinc’s unwavering commitment to CSR forms an integral part of its growth strategy

By Arbind Gupta. Assistant Editor, Business India

Hindustan Zinc, a subsidiary of Vedanta has prioritised Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a focal point for its inclusive growth strategy. Through its focus on strengthening the local economy and improving the quality of life, in alignment with UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) and its national development goals, it has deepened its footprint in the areas of education, sustainable livelihoods, community asset creation, environment & safety, women empowerment, health, water & sanitation and sports & culture. 

The company’s operations involving lead-zinc mines, hydrometallurgical zinc smelters, lead smelters, pyro-metallurgical lead-zinc smelters are clustered in north-west India, in five districts of Rajasthan (Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Bhilwara, Rajsamand and Ajmer) and one district of Uttarakhand. The company is India’s largest and only integrated zinc, lead, and silver producer. In fact, it is the world’s second-largest integrated zinc producer and the fifth largest producer of silver.

Its CSR programmes are aligned to community needs, national priorities and the United Nation’s SDGs and the projects are carried out in close partnerships with the government, local communities, and credible NGOs. The CSR policies and systems are framed and implemented in an efficient manner to ensure deployment of resources to deliver sustainable impact at grassroots. 

“Our commitment to community development at Hindustan Zinc is not just about numbers,” says Priya Agrawal Hebbar, chairperson, Hindustan Zinc & non-executive director, Vedanta. “It’s about creating a tangible impact that resonates with our core philosophy of ‘transforming for good’. We firmly believe in social investments that go beyond transforming communities; they contribute to national development and create lasting value”.

Positive impact

“Our unwavering commitment to CSR forms an integral part of our growth strategy, intricately woven into the framework of the UN Sustainability Development Goals. For over two decades, our initiatives, spanning education, sustainable livelihoods, healthcare, and overall community development, have become integral to Hindustan Zinc’s identity. We are proud to have positively impacted the lives of 1.73 million individuals across 237 villages,” adds Hebbar.

The company’s initiatives are holistic, addressing key areas such as reducing malnutrition, promoting education, livelihoods, and infrastructure development. Importantly, it has played a pivotal role in establishing strong community institutions that empower local residents, ensuring sustainable progress. Its outreach efforts have expanded significantly, experiencing 3-4 times increase since 2019-20. The growth highlights its dedication to reaching people across varied age groups and diverse demographics.

“We have gone beyond obligatory spending,” Hebbar acknowledges. “We have dedicated a substantial sum of Rs276.34 crore to transformative programmes. This investment is strategic and aimed at addressing critical areas, creating a ripple effect that goes beyond immediate beneficiaries”.

“At Hindustan Zinc, our commitment to inclusive growth is deeply ingrained in our initiatives that span across education, sustainable livelihoods, women’s empowerment, health, and more,” she goes on to explain. “We believe in empowering communities through institution development, and our projects Gauam, Daichi, and Upaya have made significant strides in this direction. Through these initiatives, we have reached an impressive 2.3 million lives across 2,800+ villages”. 

The company has established legal institutions such as Farmer Producer Companies & Federations, fostering community-led development. One of its notable projects, Samadhan, has benefitted 184 villages through integrated farming and livestock development, while Zinc Kaushal provides market-led skill training. Together, these initiatives have positively impacted the lives of 0.59 million people.

  • Hebbar: creating a ripple effect

    Hebbar: creating a ripple effect

In the realm of education, the targeted initiatives like Khushi Nand Ghar, Shiksha Sambal and Unchi Udaan, along with women empowerment programmes like Sakhi self-help groups and microenterprises, have collectively impacted 0.32 million people. These programmes are designed to uplift and provide opportunities for growth, especially for women and youth.

The community development initiatives, covering health, water and sanitation, community asset creation, environment and safety and the promotion of culture have touched the lives of 1.33 million individuals. These efforts are pivotal in addressing the holistic needs of the communities it serves.

The Zinc Football Academy, a marquee initiative capturing the local communities’ passion for sports in Rajasthan, is a testament to its commitment to youth empowerment through sports. The AIFF accredited three-star elite academy has produced two players in U16-17 teams and 11 invited for national trials last year alone. These football stars are shining bright, symbolising the transformative power of sports in the lives of the youth.

“Our efforts at Hindustan Zinc are not just about numbers but about creating opportunities and pathways for individuals and communities to thrive, fostering inclusive growth, and transforming future,” explains Hebbar. At Hindustan Zinc, its commitment to sustainability is not just about achieving global recognition; it’s about building a sustainable future that reflects our responsibility towards the environment and society.

Recently, the company secured the highest score of 85 in the S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment, making it the Global ESG Leader in the metals and mining sector and placing it in the topmost quartile of sustainable development. 

Towards net zero

“Our collaborative efforts towards achieving ‘net zero’ emissions have been instrumental in propelling us forward on our journey to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonise our operations. These targets, validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), underline our commitment to aligning our climate strategy with global standards,” says the company spokesperson.

In the realm of transportation, the company has introduced LNG-run vehicles and electric vehicles (EVs) for both finished goods and concentrate transport. This strategic move not only enhances operational efficiency but is a key facilitator for our net-zero roadmap, contributing significantly to the reduction of scope-3 emissions.

Waste management is a critical aspect of the company’s sustainability initiatives. It has commissioned India’s first fumer plant, utilising advanced technology for waste reduction at the source. This ground-breaking initiative showcases its dedication to minimising the environmental impact of our operations. Furthermore, its commitment to responsible water usage is reinforced by the commissioning of zero liquid discharge plants at its mines and smelters. This aligns with the company’s vision to achieve 5x water positivity by 2025.

The company’s waste management practices are intricately aligned with the ‘4R’ strategy – ‘reduce, reuse, recycle and reclaim’. The company believes in the gainful utilization of mine and smelter waste, including tailings, jarofix, jarosite, etc. This involves recovering minor metals and utilising waste in various industries, such as cement and road construction. The integration of these principles into the company’s business model ensures that waste becomes a valuable resource, contributing to sustainable practices.

  • Sakhi Self Help group: empowering woman

“By aligning our climate strategy with national and global commitments and frameworks, Hindustan Zinc continues to set benchmarks in environmental stewardship,” informs Hebbar. “Our initiatives not only ensure the sustainability of our operations but also contribute to broader goals of a cleaner and greener future. In essence, our journey toward sustainability is an ongoing commitment, and each of our initiatives is a testament to our vision of leading the way in responsible and environmentally conscious mining practices”.

Equity and inclusion lie at the very heart of Vedanta, and Hindustan Zinc is unwavering in its commitment to ensuring inclusivity and promoting diversity throughout its organisation. The company’s robust recruitment strategy serves as a cornerstone in creating a workforce that is diverse and inclusive.

The company has now engaged 501 women employees across various streams, including 146 women engineers, contributing to a gender diversity ratio of 19.5 per cent. It is resolutely working towards reaching a target of 30 per cent at the earliest. It’s essential to note that women are actively contributing and flourishing in key functions, ranging from driving large mining vehicles to operating plants and working night shifts. 

In terms of women in leadership roles, the company’s commitment to diversity is evident in the composition of its Executive Committee, where 21 per cent are women. Moreover, out of the nine board members, five are women. As a pioneering move, Hindustan Zinc takes pride in having commissioned the industry’s first all-women’s rescue team, showcasing its dedication to breaking barriers and fostering an inclusive work environment.

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