"It may be corporate social responsibility for others, but for HCCBPL, business growth strategy is embedded in sustainability." The general manager of Coca-Cola’s largest Indian bottler discusses initiatives for community development in India.

In the course of a week, if you were able to see efforts to support young adolescent girls who can now go to school instead of being forced to drop out because there are now separate toilets, help empower women them to become financially independent and earn their own livelihoods, or speak with farmers who have been rescued from the brink of disaster from learning effective drip irrigation strategies, would you call that corporate social responsibility (CSR) or good business?

It depends on who you ask. 

According to T. Krishnakumar (KK), CEO of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd. (HCCB), The Coca-Cola Company’s owned bottling partner in India, supporting the community and driving business growth are inextricably linked.

“We want to demonstrate our intent to build a business which adds value to the communities we serve," he says. "We also want to reiterate that we cause no adverse impact on the environment – we do not eat into the natural resources, water or energy. And, that we help grow the local community. It’s that simple.”

KK hopes the mom bloggers who are visiting India this week from the United States see that building stronger communities by reaching out to the underprivileged and underserved is wired into his company’s DNA. Protecting the environment is another. And India is one of the many countries that has benefitted in more ways than one.

In 2010, when Coca-Cola announced the 5by20 initiative to empower 5 million women by 2020 to help them achieve their entrepreneurial dreams by giving them access to the necessary skills and support, India was one of the pilot countries. Other community initiatives by the company and its partners in India include Support my School, Career Development Centres and Model villages.

Today, these initiatives have matured and impacted hundreds of communities.

HCCB’s journey, KK says, has not been easy. However, the learnings have been invaluable and today he says HCCB is a strong bottler with a forward looking business growth strategy anchored in the basic principles of sustainability.

T. Krishnakumar

“I hope our guests walk away with a clear line of sight to our programs that have not just impacted the company’s business goals, but also the lives of the thousands of people who it has benefitted," he concludes

T. Krishnakumar (KK), is CEO of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd. (HCCB), The Coca-Cola Company’s owned bottling partner in India.