Corporate Social Responsibility is an integral part of Canon India’s DNA. It believes that each individual and organisation must carry the sentiment of community development as their responsibility.
“Our philosophy of ‘Kyosei’ – living and working together for the common good, comes foremost in our way of working and day to day operation. However, our definition of the word is much broader and encompasses “all people, regardless of race, religion or culture, harmoniously living and working together for the common good.” Moving forward with the philosophy of ‘Kyosei’, we strive to make a positive impact on the society and the environment in which we operate,” says Kazutada Kobayashi, President & CEO – Canon India.
Canon’s view of CSR reflects in its endeavour of creating self-sustaining communities. “We would like all the people connected with us – our Employees, Customers and Partners to take pride in their association with Canon.We consider the CSR mandate an encouraging move by the authorities, which provides a strong direction to several organisations, aiming to contribute towards community development,” he says.
The senior leadership also plays a key role in motivating the employees to participate in ‘Canon Involve’ and contribute towards the cause. Along with this, it has a representative selected in each region to support its CSR team.
‘Adopt a Village’ – Canon’s flagship initiative
Canon commenced its flagship initiative ‘Adopt a Village’ in 2012, where it undertakes the task of overall development of the village for five years. Canon has adopted four villages across all parts of the country, including Sol Gohalia village near Kolkata in West Bengal, Ferozepur Namak village in Haryana, Maharaja Katte village near Bengaluru and Karanjoti village near Maharashtra. The project involves engagement with children to enhance their education as well as providing eye care facilities and supporting the environment in the village, leading to the overall empowerment of communities.
One of the most important parameters Canon follows while selecting a village is its proximity to its office location. “We believe, social endeavours require the right sentiments for leaving a long lasting impact on the community. This criteria ensures constant engagement between our employees and the adopted villages. We call this engagement, ‘Canon Involve’, where Canonites get involved in the development of the community. I regularly encourage the staff to continue this noble endeavour. Our employees educate the students on the importance of health, hygiene and other important aspects of learning which would contribute to their growth. Fun activities like cricket, football tournaments are organized for ensuring overall development of the children,” explains Kobayashi.
Another important parameter is association with like-minded and ethically strong organisations. Taking its experience with ‘Adopt a Village’ forward, Canon associated with SOS Children’s village across the country to support the education and overall development of children in these villages under an exclusive initiative. As part of this initiative, its employees have adopted children to take responsibility of their wellbeing. As part of ‘Support a Life’ initiative, Canon employees had adopted 187 children across SOS Children’s Village in the country to contribute to their well-being.
The villages have undergone noteworthy developments under Canon’s tutelage. To mention a few, capacity building in the schools has led to students returning to the village school, taking the drop out ratio to negligible.
“A Resource center with a non-formal education teacher to impart computer literacy, art and craft skills has been operational in all our villages. Parents are highly motivated by the school’s revamped infrastructure and facilities. Several citizens of the villages have been able to utilize the services of the Vision Center and now with vocational training centers started last year, the village youth is heading towards an empowered future,” cites out Kobayashi.
These entire initiatives move parallel to Canon’s CSR philosophy of 4E, comprises of Education, Eye Care, Environment and Empowerment.
In the area of education, Canon aims at improving enrolment of children in the school and delivers quality education within the age group of 6-14yrs. With infrastructure development including establishment of activity resource centre equipped with education aids and a library for children, the company is working towards building a learned and self-sustainable village.
Being the leaders in imaging technology, Canon feels privileged as its products contribute in the noble endeavour of ‘Eye Care’. “We have established sustainable eye care facilities called ‘Vision Centres’ across our adopted villages. The Vision centres support screening of patients, provide spectacles and refer to the base hospital for surgeries,” says Kobayashi.
Canon’s commitment towards environmental conservation continues with numerous tree plantation drives in the adopted villages. As an initiative to promote a green Earth, it has set up solar panels in some of the schools in the adopted villages, thereby, solving the problem of electricity in the classrooms. Enabling self-sustainable communities, Canon has initiated vocational trainings to support skill development among the villagers and empower them for a brighter tomorrow. For this endeavour, Canon is organising new laptops and e-learning system along with trained faculty, to imparting basic computer training among the village youth.
Canon India also has a dedicated Quality Environment Health & Safety (QEHS) team that keeps working on environment initiatives throughout the year. “Every year, we closely monitor the progress of our initiatives throughout the product lifecycle, making steady strides toward energy conservation, resource conservation, elimination of hazardous substances, and biodiversity conservation.
Our employees are also mindful of environment preservation. Regular tree plantation and cleanliness drives are organised to support the commitment towards a greener and healthier environment. Under ‘Canon Involve’, our employees also educate children in our villages on the benefits of energy conservation and commitment towards nature. In my view, with the right values being instilled in the children from an early age, they will grow up to be responsible citizens,” points out Kobayashi.
CSR in India…
Canon is deeply involved in meaningful, welfare driven initiatives that impact lives and make people future ready. Its association with its adopted villages have given the Canon family a way to express its dedication towards the upbringing of children of the country.
“In my experience so far in India and with the CSR activities undertaken by us at Canon India, I have realized Indian communities are very close knit. The thought of helping one another and contributing to the common good is a part of being for most people. Hence, designing and implementing our CSR programmes here gives us further support with the level of enthusiasm we receive from our employees to participate in the same,” sums up Kobayashi.
Success story of Canon
Canon has recently completed three years of its intervention at Maharaja Katte village, Bangalore. Listed below are some of the experiences from the village-
Shekarappa C Mulli Mani, School Principal says donation of 3 rooms – one library, one computer center and one resource center has made a huge difference in the education of the children. The school environment has changed and children feel more excited to come to the school. Not only children, but the entire education office is appreciative of the work done by Canon.
Jyothi believes that one reason for her good performance in studies is due to the co-curricular and fun activities that Canon India keeps organising
Ruchitha says that the teaching materials and books provided by Canon have helped her in her studies.
Ganesh is happy because his school is always clean now. 2 new class rooms add to his happiness.