Community Engagement Strategy
“The engagement with SustainAbility helped us to crystallize our thinking on the way forward for Tata Power in the area of Community Relations. We now have a challenging set of principles for engagement, and an underlying governing system in place.”– Prasad Menon, Managing Director, Tata Power Limited
Tata Power pioneered the generation of electricity in India a hundred years ago, and is today the country’s largest private power utility.
When India’s government opened up the utility sector for private investment a few years ago, Tata Power started investing heavily in expansion. But the company’s growth coincided with increasing disaffection in the private sector across India, as communities found themselves displaced from their lands and livelihoods to make way for new enterprise.
This presented Tata Power with a challenge. As with all members of the Tata Group, the company prides itself on commitment to ideals that put people before profits. But living up to such standards during a period of rapid growth demands careful management.
This led to Tata Power’s engagement with SustainAbility, drawing on our expertise and knowledge of sustainability best practice to help the company deliver against both its economic and its societal aspirations.
In 2008 we started working with Tata Power to develop and implement a community engagement framework consistent with the company’s core values. The framework spells out how every new project should be undertaken, defining how employees should engage with communities and monitor progress at every step.
The framework has since been formally adopted across Tata Power, helping to ensure robust, ongoing engagement which will better enable the company and its leadership to achieve their ambitions.
Following the success of this first project we are now advising Tata Power in its implementation of best practice sustainability reporting, and helping the company define rigorous social and environmental standards for its supply chain.