December 11, 2013
1 February 2011
The Aditya Birla Group, an industrial conglomerate based in India, has opened a knowledge centre in Saraburi province as a first step towards launching more corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects in Thailand. Chairperson Rajashree Birla, who presided over the official opening of the Aditya Birla Knowledge Centre in Saraburi last week, said CSR activities had been one of her company’s practices since the 1940s -– long before CSR became a well-recognised business principle.
In Thailand, where the Aditya Birla Group has been involved in the chemical industry for more than 40 years, the company has carried out CSR projects since it first arrived. The knowledge centre in Saraburi province is near where its subsidiary – Thai Peroxide – has a manufacturing plant. Despite its opening last week, the centre has been operating for six months.
The Aditya Birla Knowledge Centre aims to train and develop the vocational skills of people living in communities near the manufacturing plant. Courses include tailoring, electronics, and computer operation, as well as English language. Already, it has trained 300 students.
Birla said people being trained at the centre would have the capacity to work and earn a living. For example, those learning tailoring will be able to earn a living by tailoring uniforms for the company’s employees. However, they are free to work anywhere, and not just for the Aditya Birla Group.
The company will wait to measure the response to the knowledge centre before thinking of revising the courses or even providing new courses. This will depend on the requirements of local villagers, Birla said.
The company has welcomed the opinions of local residents since opening the knowledge centre and will continue to create opportunities for local people to share their ideas.
“Aditya Birla Group has operated with many companies in other provinces, including Samut Prakan, Rayong and Angthong, and we expect to establish similar knowledge centres in those provinces as well. As for the Saraburi centre, we will expand its capacity to serve more students – perhaps around 500 – in the near future,” she said.
Aditya Birla Group’s CSR projects cover many fields, including education, health, infrastructure and sustainable livelihoods. It spends about US$50 million (Bt1.52 billion) per year on these projects in India, Egypt and the Philippines. In Thailand, it is committed to spending around Bt20 million per year.
As well as the knowledge centre projects, Birla said the company conducted many projects useful to local villagers, particularly to children. It gives scholarships to students and also supports the Thai Kids’ Lively Library in Angthong province. Aditya Birla’s annual CSR budget of Bt20 million covers these activities, she said.
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