Support in India
When Huntsman Textile Effects acquired its site in Baroda, India, in 2009, it embarked on a study to determine how it could impact the community in a sustainable and meaningful way.
The findings were dire. Classes were held in inadequate classrooms and there was a large dropout rate affecting the quality of education. They also found healthcare lacking, with a high percentage of infant and maternal mortality rates.
Recognizing that its business relies on a multitude of relationships with stakeholders, including its communities, Huntsman introduced programs to improve education through local schools, Anganwadis (pre-school), and health care for adolescents, mothers and villagers at large.
To enhance the quality of education and health, Huntsman works with local schools and Anganwadis under a program called “Anandi
… Towards Joyful Learning.” Anandi takes a holistic approach by upgrading infrastructure facilities, drinking water and sanitation facilities and learning methodologies. A rote-learning system was replaced with activity-based learning techniques. Besides providing school supplies for students, Huntsman established an academic achiever awards program to encourage high performance. Teachers were provided with regular training, and school management committees were enhanced to provide ongoing oversight and improvement.
Ensuring Safe Drinking Water
Access to potable water in villages is still a problem in India. It has to be fetched from long distances, a task usually done by women in the family who draw water from a well or a pump in the area.
Huntsman Textile Effects site in Baroda, India, worked to clean up contaminated groundwater and integrate treated water in its processes, and then focused on providing clean drinking water to residents outside its gates. At the site’s water treatment plant, Huntsman treats water to meet international standards for its own use and then also to provide drinking water to local villagers.
Huntsman also works with pollution control boards to improve the overall quality of underground water by groundwater treatment system and monitoring onsite and offsite wells. Today, drinking water is made available to villagers of Umraya and luna at various outlets provided near the factory gate and across the site boundary. Current consumption is approximately 2,900 gallons (11 cubic meters) per day, which is expected to increase in the future.
However, social responsibility does not stop at the factory gate. In Umraya village, Huntsman has helped by giving funds to install a reverse osmosis system to provide the entire village of 3,500 people with clean drinking water. Huntsman also maintains the drinking water facility for approximately 450 students in Luna primary school. Recently, the site replaced all the system’s filters.
In addition, Huntsman is also educating people about proper water use and working with local industry to improve overall water discharge quality. According to the World Bank, India is the largest user of groundwater in the world. If current trends continue, in 20 years, approximately 60 percent of all of India’s aquifers will be in critical condition.