The Godrej Group's Good and Green business model is based on the premise that social good is strongly wedded to profits. And spearheading the various projects under it is its flagship company Godrej Consumer Products Ltd.
Even as Maria prepared for her re-test over the next one year, she used her spare time to get trained as a professional beautician. Maria may still be far from realising her dream, but she has taken the crucial first step and she thanks Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (GCPL), the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) arm of the Rs 30,000 crore Godrej Group, for it.
Maria, whose father paints buildings for a living and whose mother is a homemaker, has since completed her schooling and is currently pursuing a degree in social work. In her free time, she works as a trainer with the institute where she undertook her training in hair and beauty treatment. The centre, in Nagpur, is a project partner for SALONi—GCPL’s beautician and hair care training programme launched in 2012. The part-time job has made Maria financially independent; she earns Rs 10,000 a month and is able to contribute some money to her household. “The exposure I got during the [SALONi] programme instilled a sense of confidence in me,” says Maria. “The trainers explained the science behind hair and beauty treatment and gave us access to equipment that we hadn’t used before. This has helped improve my skills as a beautician.”
The role that an employability programme like SALONi, sponsored by GCPL, played in shaping Maria’s future is symbolic of the conscious capitalism that the company, and the conglomerate of which it is a part, pursues. It is characterised by an endeavour to align the interests of its multiple stakeholders—employees, suppliers, shareholders, customers, the environment and the community at large. For Godrej, this effort is not mutually exclusive from the core objective of all businesses—profit maximisation. On the contrary, steps taken to ensure the welfare of stakeholders are congruous with this process and are helping the core businesses of Godrej thrive in their own way.
For instance, if Maria’s dream to open her own beauty salon were to come true, it is logical to assume that she would be more inclined to purchase GCPL’s hair colour products, given the influence the company has had on her life and career. Moreover, Maria’s better finances after she becomes an entrepreneur will make her a prospective customer for not just GCPL but for the entire Godrej Group, which houses different companies that make a host of products from soaps and air fresheners to residential homes and furniture.
“Being a conscious capitalist is important for the success of the organisation,” Adi Godrej, 73, chairman of the Godrej Group tells Forbes India. “It has helped us earn the respect of a lot of people we interact with—be they employees, customers or shareholders. It has helped us recruit and retain good people over the years. More importantly, it has been very satisfying.”
Apart from the SALONi project, the Godrej Group also runs other vocational programmes targeted at developing sales and marketing professionals, increasing farmer productivity, and providing construction and technical training. GCPL alone has trained some 90,000 people through its programmes to date.
“The main aim of these projects is to ensure the upliftment of the disadvantaged sections of society, especially women,” says Vivek Gambhir, GCPL’s managing director. “But ultimately, we assess the impact of these interventions by assessing the direct or indirect benefits that it brings to the company.”