Mobility’s role in supporting the economy – and arguably, life itself – cannot be overstated. Whether it is delivering life-saving products and services where they are most needed or taking people closer to their loved ones, CEAT is proud to shoulder this responsibility. In today’s post-pandemic world, our purpose of ‘Making Mobility Safer & Smarter. Every Day.’, is more relevant than ever. Through this report, titled ‘Safer. Smarter. Sustainable.’, we hope to demonstrate concerted efforts to leverage our unique strengths and capabilities to create value for all our stakeholders.
One of the key tenets upon which our business is built is a commitment to ensuring safety. Our top priority during the pandemic is the safety of our people and partners. We have equipped all our factories to be ‘COVID-19 safe’ through social distancing and sanitization of our facilities. In keeping with our commitment to safety, our products also include tailor-made solutions to address the unique safety concerns of the different markets we operate in. In the 2 Wheeler segment, for instance, the most pressing need for the Indian consumer is a strong grip on the road for the purpose of safety. We fulfill this need by ensuring the best-in-class braking distance and cornering on wet and dry road conditions. Another one of our key roles is to continuously invent for our customers. We recently launched Puncture-Safe Motorcycle Tyres for the Indian market, where puncture resistance is becoming ever more important as one of the biggest worries of the bike riders is getting stranded on the road. We continue to invest in Research and Development (R&D) in areas such as green technology, nanotechnology, advanced material, and novel processing. Moreover, our safety-first approach extends to our operations, which ensure occupational health and safety through a robust framework comprising of risk identification and mitigation, training, and certifications. As a recognition of our safety efforts, the British Safety Council conferred the ‘Sword of Honour’, one of the highest safety awards, upon us.
Our people are our most important asset. We truly believe that people excel when given the freedom and a purpose beyond making money. Our policies are amongst the most liberal in the corporate world, with no formal working hours, options of working from home even before the pandemic hit us, and care for our people’s health and their families. We recently appointed a Chief Fitness Officer, who helps ensure the physical wellbeing of our people. We have also tied up with mental health specialists in light of the pandemic. Diversity and inclusion in CEAT go well beyond gender diversity to include people with disabilities and those from different educational backgrounds. All this has helped strengthen CEAT’s position as an employer of choice, boosting our Great Place to Work® rank to 35, up from 67 in the previous year.
Today, all companies have been impacted by digitization and we would like to be at the forefront of digital adoption. In our factories, we have been able to supplement our TQM (Total Quality Management) thinking with digital solutions to be even more efficient and consistent. Partnerships and learning from the outside are extremely important, and to do the same, we launched a start-up competition ‘Excellerator’ to boost innovation in the areas of connected, shared, and tech-enabled fleet management. The initiative provided winners with funding and mentorship, along with access to CEAT’s wide-reaching business network.
The work that I feel most proud of is the work we do for society. In the reporting year, we continued to impact people’s lives through efforts in areas like health, hygiene, providing clean drinking water, road safety, women’s empowerment, and skills training for employability. As the country came to a grinding halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown, CEAT focussed its efforts on various fronts that demanded immediate attention. This included the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits, gloves and masks, and dry rations and hot meals to those in need. The Company also undertook truck sanitation drives to ensure the seamless delivery of essential goods in these uncertain times. Recognizing the need for strengthening healthcare infrastructure, CEAT funded a start-up to develop a low-cost prototype of a ventilator and leveraged its own prowess to build COVID-19 testing booths for hospitals. In line with the Company’s commitment to safety, July 2020 also saw the launch of the GoSafe S95 face mask to help bridge the PPE gap.
Climate change is one of the most serious issues that we face and we believe it is our responsibility to play an essential role in this space, especially considering the sector that we operate in. Therefore, as part of a concerted effort to make the shift to renewable energy, CEAT has collaborated with Greenzest Solar for a captive solar power for its plant in Nashik. We are also launching tyres for electric vehicles, utilizing sustainable raw materials like re-used rubber and silica, and optimizing packaging and processes to reduce the overall environmental impacts of mobility.
The near future is not devoid of challenges. However, the changing mobility landscape, a global supply chain shift, and growth in Indian rural and semi-urban markets present a wealth of opportunity for the Company. We are confident that our commitment to safety and digitization, the culture of freedom and transparency, R&D expertise, and strong alliances have positioned us to win the marketplace. Embarking on the Integrated Reporting journey, CEAT not only hopes to showcase our Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) performance but also work on these aspects in earnest. We believe that this will take us further on our journey towards excellence and allow us to channel our extensive reach to create a world that is inclusive, sustainable, and prosperous.
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