BUILDING SUSTAINABLE BUSINESSES FIT FOR A SUSTAINABLE WORLD 30 CATERING FOR OUR CHANGING WORKFORCE The context of the countries, sectors and markets in which we operate are changing and to remain relevant, our businesses must evolve. In January 2015, the Aditya Birla Group signed the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s WASH Pledge (http://www.wbcsd.org/ washatworkplace.aspx) to support its efforts for all businesses to confirm that they supply safe drinking water, good sanitation and hygiene for all employees across all operations. The challenge of working in developing markets and in some of the sectors where we operate means that often these have been male dominated areas. Ensuring that we have the right facilities for female colleagues is a priority, not just to ensure access to sanitary conditions as a right, but because if we want to attract the very best talent, that means recognising that discrimination, in any form, is unacceptable. We see a pledge to meeting the WASH standards as more than having bathrooms, but about who you have the bathrooms for and about changing the legacy of out-dated mind-sets – not because they sought to consciously discriminate, but because circumstances and traditional employment practices have led to subliminal barriers to certain groups in society. After the initial assessment process, we found that the majority of our sites were in compliance with the Pledge’s requirements. Where deficiencies have been identified, we have focused on removing the process issues such as poor cleaning. A total investment of USD 2.87 million was made across the Group for the improvements in physical facilities needed. Emphasis was given to increasing the number of washrooms for male, female and the physically challenged employees. Additional facilities of 629 male urinals, 521 male toilets, 214 female toilets and 48 toilets for our physically challenged employees and visitors have been constructed across the Group benefiting 106,539 employees at the 243 sites involved. We see our commitment to the WBCSD’s WASH Pledge as an opportunity to further reach out to talented female and less physically abled professionals who seek to tie their future success with that of the Aditya Birla Group. World Business Council for Sustainable Development Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Pledge as an occupational health issue The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals has identified the aim to achieve universal access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) by 2030 as today, an estimated 1.8 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water and 4.1 billion lack adequate sanitation. There is a compelling and clear economic argument for businesses to demonstrate leadership by addressing this situation. Globally, many businesses have operations, employees, contractors and customers in countries lacking access to these provisions. We know that the impacts of poor hygiene, sanitation and the lack of access to portable water are related to safety, productivity and employee wellbeing. A healthy workforce with acess to “safe water, sanitation and hygiene at the workplace” is a key theme of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). To demonstrate leadership and its commitment to this global goal, the Aditya Birla Group leadership signed the WASH Pledge in January 2015. Using our self-assessment system, we have tracked compliance by site and by business against each of the Pledge requirements. A multi-layer monitoring of progress was designed to ensure the implementation process was infallible. Senior personnel were responsible to review the data and evidence uploaded and guidance notes and training modules were developed as a resource for site personnel involved in the implementation programme. Overall, the ABG compliance level to the WASH Pledge requirements increased from 75.5% to 92.5% which has surpassed our initial target set in January 2015. Out of 243 sites, 51 sites are still in the process of completing their action plans. CASE STUDY