BASF Catalysts India Private Limited (BASF), an Indian subsidiary of the German conglomerate BASF, engaged with Waterlife India, a social enterprise that works with underprivileged
communities to promote safe drinking water provision and the adoption of sustainable sanitation solutions.
Synergies in the engagement
BASF’s key objective for its CSR-based activities was to enhance access to clean drinking water for underprivileged communities located near its plant in Tamil Nadu. BASF also intended to deploy its resources to engage with the community members. BASF was seeking a partner that could ensure the sustainability of interventions by interacting with the communities in question (working with local stakeholders), taking charge of operation and maintenance, and conducting
For BASF, the objectives for initiating this engagement were to:
• address the lack of purified water available in the community and install sustainable potable water provision through its CSR initiative;
• contribute positively to society and bring about sustainable change by leveraging available resources and existing networks; and
• partner with SGBs and, balancing the social, economic and environmental needs of the communities around the manufacturing sites, to deliver a sustainable change in society.
For Waterlife India, the objectives for engaging with BASF were to:
• utilise BASF’s CSR funds to install more water purification plants in communities in Chennai; and
• deepen the relationship with BASF (Waterlife India used a BASF filtration membrane for ultrafiltration).
Stakeholder objectives and the structuring of the engagement
The following diagram describes the CSR-driven engagement between BASF and Waterlife India:
Engaging with communities
• Improving quality of life of communities in the vicinity of its plants
Installing water purification plants + Operation and Maintenance + Community outreach programmes BASF
Funding and non-funding support
• Financing the installation of water purification plants
• Access to community members
Type of SGBs supported Waterlife India Private Limited (http://www.waterlifeindia.com/) Sector: social infrastructure (water and sanitation)
Overview of engagement
model BASF worked with Waterlife India on a CSR initiative to set up two community water purification plants in Tamil Nadu near their manufacturing plants.
The intervention sites were Singaperumalkoil village and the Gram Panchayat of Veerapuram, Chennai.
Non business aligned Business aligned
periodic checks on water quality (including audits). Through this engagement, Waterlife India was able to access the funds required to set up the plants and, more importantly, to access sites suitable for the installation of its units.
Programme structure and chain of impact The following table contains information on the process chain elements (namely programme structure, scouting method, performance assessment and criteria for success):
BASF: The engagement enabled BASF employees to engage with the communities located near their plants.
Waterlife India: The model showcases the benefits of working with corporates – namely access to CSR funds, technology-based support, access to sites, and an emphasis on community
• BASF established two filtration units in communities without access to clean water.
• Waterlife India had access to BASF technology and the community.
• Serves as a proof of concept for corporate-driven initiatives that work for communities.
• Can be replicated by other corporates.
• Exemplifies how CSR funds can be deployed in combination with the leveraging of in-house technology expertise.
• Positive impact on community members’ quality of life.
Output Outcome Impact
RESULTS CHAIN Programme structure Funding support
• Use of CSR funds to pay for the installation of water purification units Non-funding support
• Engagement of BASF employees
• Provision of BASF technology (membrane) to Waterlife India (for superior performance) Scouting method BASF identified Waterlife India based on its selection criteria
• Need to focus specifically on the south of India
• Need for a partner that could ensure a sustained presence in the field following the installation of the water filtration units
Performance assessment • Monthly evaluation of checks and audits performed on water quality, maintenance and service Criteria for success • Discernible impact on the community’s access to clean water, which is sufficient to improve
Assessment of the engagement model Strengths
By employing this model, it was possible to use BASF’s CSR funds in a way that benefited local communities and ensured compliance with the relevant statutory provisions.
High involvement Low involvement
The replicability of the model for other CSR activities, especially in cases where the corporate can make technological contributions to fulfil SGB needs.
This engagement model relies on the corporate having a physical presence near the target communities – an aspect that is critical if the original interventions are to be sustained. A risk to the sustainability of interventions might therefore be the relocation of corporate assets or changes in the corporate’s CSR strategy.
The engagement serves as proof of concept for alternative modes of providing SGBs with access to CSR funds. This CSR-oriented model capitalises on the strengths of BASF – particularly their ability to provide technological support and access to suitable communities – to improve community welfare.