India team’s deep support for its local community 

Vanderlande’s Global Capability Centre in Pune, India, is renowned for its work in areas such as engineering, technology, data analytics and shared services (finance, supply, ICT). It’s also making a positive impact on the wider community by supporting a number of NGOs that are dedicated to improving the lives of local people and the environment.

The outreach work is part of Vanderlande’s commitment to corporate social responsibility. Activities align with the company’s wider sustainability framework and the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals.

Improving the environment – and boosting livelihoods

When it comes to helping the local environment, key initiatives include partnering with an NGO called Seva Sahyog to conserve water in drought-affected areas of the Maharashtra region (where the Capability Centre is located). The joint venture has provided water storage capacity of over 500 million litres for 11 villages. Artificial lakes have been constructed to collect rainwater that can be readily accessed by more than 20,000 farmers.

“This project has a long-lasting benefit, because it helps make farming a viable option for the next generation, who would otherwise end up migrating to cities for work,” explains Rashmi Chethan, who leads the Pune team’s sustainability outreach activities.

Looking towards a more urban setting, and the team is working with NGO Shree Kalpataru Sansthan on the Green Lungs project. This involves the creation of a small forest populated with 12,000 trees in the middle of Pune. More than 100 species of tree are being planted, including some rare and endangered species.

Other environmental initiatives include the installation of earthenware pots to provide water for local birdlife in a collaboration with Kalptaru Sansthan. Vanderlande has also worked with the Energy Swaraj Foundation to install solar panels in local villages that would otherwise have limited access to electricity.

Helping underprivileged young people

The Lighthouse Communities Foundation is a public-private partnership that provides training to improve young adults’ education, skills and livelihoods. Vanderlande sponsors a “mini-Lighthouse” in Pune that is providing more than 300 young people with the skills they need to embark on a professional career path.

“The Foundation’s activities fill the young people with confidence, for example in speaking English, as well as in understanding what they want to do in life,” says Rashmi. “Last year, Vanderlande actually hired two young women from the Lighthouse programme – one is working as an IT engineer and the other as an administrator – and we plan to hire more in the future.”

“We’re delighted and privileged to have been in partnership with Vanderlande since November 2021,” adds Ruchi Mathur, CEO of the Foundation. “This Lighthouse has already placed 100 young people from low-income communities in jobs.” 

Through another long-term commitment, Vanderlande partners with the Aatmaja Foundation to help underprivileged female students complete their education. Support provided includes sponsoring 23 young women who are working towards degrees in engineering, medicine and finance. “Your financial support and mentoring will go a long way in making an impact on their lives,” says Priti Rao, Aatmaja Foundation’s Chairperson. 

Helping the underprivileged is a theme that runs through Vanderlande India’s commitment to corporate social responsibility, and is exemplified through its sponsorship of a rural school near Pune. The initial goal was to improve its infrastructure facilities, and so make a real difference to more than 300 female students and their teachers. 

“In addition to providing decent toilets, we installed solar panels and rainwater harvesting equipment,” explains Rashmi.  “The improvements make the school much more welcoming and have led to an increase in student attendance.” 

Look out for our next article, which reveals the dedication and commitment of the sustainability team at Pune.