A chance to set things right
I like to think of CSR as Come Set things Right. There are multiple ways in which we approach this at Aranyani, and ultimately everything is inspired by the fact that I was guided by Sri Sathya Sai Baba, to make Bharat (or India) proud.
Having worked in manufacturing and supply chains of fashion for over 25 years, I have seen the perils of wastage, over-consumption, thoughtless approaches to price-cutting strategies and labour starvation. People and the planet suffer from such practices and there is no way that you can claim to create quality or luxury products if these are the conditions in which they are made. Fashion is art. It has to be beautiful, peaceful and creative. A thing of beauty can be a joy forever only if the process brings delight and happiness to everyone involved.
So everything starts from the inside out.
Aranyani takes excellent care of its employees, providing rent-free accommodation to craftsmen, and training them to learn English and use computers, so they are constantly being up-skilled. They are provided with healthy meals made using the organic produce we grow at Aranyani orchards, and are covered by insurance, along with their families. We did not implement pay cuts during the pandemic, which is a fact we are especially proud of as a young brand.
In 2020, we established the Aranyani Educational and Vocational Trust which sponsors the education for three children and we intend to extend that to 15 more this year. One percent of the turnover from Aranyani is used as a contribution to this Trust. In addition to the above, Aranyani has contributed over INR 50,000,000 to the SSS Mirpuri College of Music to promote education in the field of music which is provided free of charge by the Sri Satya Sai Institute of Higher Learning.
The main edifice of the Sri Sathya Sai Mirpuri College of Music
Apart from these, we are constantly donating to causes that resonate with us, and supporting communities across religions, as much as we can.
What is vital to understand when it comes to CSR is that the intention matters. If you see it as a deliverable or something to tick off a list as a company, you're missing the bigger picture. I have learnt in my career to always approach it as holistically as possible. The happiness of people you touch will always reflect on your own company, and especially in these days, could any of us ask for more than that?