Canon India—Harmonising Society Through CSR

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Kazutada Kobayashi

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an essential part of Canon’s everyday life. We strongly believe in our corporate philosophy of “Kyosei”, which means aspiring to develop a society in which all people, regardless of race, religion or culture, harmoniously live and work together for the common good, says Kazutada Kobayashi, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canon India, in conversation with Rashi Aditi Ghosh of Elets News Network (ENN).

Canon believes in the philosophy of ‘Kyosei’, how much importance does Canon give to CSR as an organisation?

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is in our DNA from the time we started our operations, to be precise 80 years. The founder of Canon is a doctor. In a way, this profession is noble and contributes to the society. So, we can see a clear connect to CSR from there as well. Corporate social responsibility means much more to us than it mandates. It’s an essential part of our everyday life. We have a strong belief in our corporate philosophy of Kyosei, which means aspiring to develop a society in which all people, regardless of race, religion or culture, harmoniously live and work together for the common good into the future. Products by Canon such as the camera or may be the printer are not a necessity, but they definitely help in improving the life of a human being.

Be it education, environment, eye care and empowerment of people, why these have been the focus areas for Canon when it comes to village adoption programme under CSR?

We started ‘Adopt a Village’ initiative in 2012, focusing on four ‘Es’ in terms of improving education facilities, environment conservation, eye care services and empowering villagers. This initiative has already made discernible impact in Ferozepur Namak Village in Haryana, Maharaja Katte Village in Bengaluru, Karnataka, and Karanjoti Village in the Thane district of Maharashtra. Canon India recently adopted its Maheshwari village at Rewari district in Haryana. This is Canon India’s fifth village adoption. Through these village adoptions, Canon is implementing the philosophy of CSR. Our eye care centre helps in improving the eye health and protects it from future damage and diseases. We are also providing educational facilities in the village especially for the girls who dropout from schools. Our education centres have washrooms and drinking water facilities. Unavailability of these facilities is a major reason behind school dropouts.

Please elaborate on the various CSR activities being undertaken by Canon in various parts of the country.What challenges do you face while implementing CSR in India?

One of the typical characters of CSR activity is raising the flag of “Involve”. By “Involve” I meant involving our employees, convincing them to be a part of CSR activities, taking out time from their office work. This is the reason I have identified the villages that are within one or one-and-a-half hour drive from the office. So, the employees can easily visit these places, plant trees, play with students, paint the walls and do much more. CSR is not just about giving money to the adopted village. It involves sharing time and experiences with the villagers. These activities help our employees in understanding the objective and feelings behind our CSR activities.

What are your future plans in terms of CSR?

CSR activities involve a lot of innovations that too on consistent basis. We will continue doing village adoptions at least once in five years. In addition to this, I would like to improve the internal and external communications for boosting our CSR activities, and the media definitely plays an important role in this regard.

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