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‘Corporate firms should be environmentally conscious’

Culture‘Corporate firms should be environmentally conscious’

Chairman of C.G. Corp Global, Binod Chaudhary speaks to Bhumika Popli about the challenges of helming an international conglomerate and the social responsibility of corporate organisations.


Q. Your father, Lunakaran Das Chaudhary, was from the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan. What drew him towards Nepal to establish the Chaudhary Group there?

A. My grandfather came to Nepal at a very early age. I’m told he was less than 20 years old. My father was born in Nepal and he passed away at the age of 93, about three years ago.

The then Prime Minister Bir Shumsher Jang Bahadur Rana had written to four Marwari families in Rajasthan, formally inviting them to start trading in Nepal. According to my father, they were the families of Mangal Sahu (the Suraj Mal family) Maya Ram Bhola Ram (the Tibrewal family), Hanuman Sahu (Banawari Lal Mittal’s family) and Mahavir Prasad Brijwala (the Kedia family). My grandfather came to assist Mangal Sahu.

Q. What sort of challenges have you encountered in your highly successful business career?

A. My life has been full of challenges right from the beginning. I was circumstantially pushed into joining my father’s business at the age of 18.  My dreams were big. I did not want to compromise in creating the largest corporate house in Nepal. Starting from a humble beginning and subsequently building the first Nepalese multinational.

Every day I would wake up with a new set of challenges but take a sigh of relief and satisfaction that I addressed what I encountered yesterday and found a solution. That’s how an organisation is built. No organisation is stagnant. The enabling environment is dynamic and accordingly the organisation needs to move forward and resources need to be augmented.

Q. What constructive role can corporate organisations play in a world increasingly threatened by global warming and a looming environmental crisis?

A. Environmental degradation and global warming may be the singularly most important issues of this generation and the ones that follow. Looking at it only from the business point of view, these factors pose a major threat to the global supply chains through various means.

The first responsibility of businesses is to acknowledge that climate change is real, acknowledge the causes of it and finally acknowledge that something must be done. They must strive to not only change themselves, but also their customers’ views on environmental issues. Businesses should take initiative in starting to adapt their operations and regulations to more eco-friendly and sustainable practices themselves, and not wait until they are forced to do so by change of laws in their respective countries.

For example, the Chaudhary Group’s industrial park (CGIP) in southern Nepal, which we built in the 1990s, has incorporated many environmentally-friendly features since its construction. A large portion of the park was conserved as a forest to maintain balance with the environment; the factories were designed to produce minimal emissions; waste water produced within is treated on site to ensure it is safe to be released back; over 3,000 new trees have been planted in the surrounding areas etc. |The Chaudhary Group promotes sustainable consumption patterns through the supply chain, especially in agriculture, by engaging directly with producers and buying both raw materials and end products. At the CG headquarters in Kathmandu, we just started an e-waste recycling programme this month, which will be expanded to a general recycling programme. We do all this because we value the environment that our employees and customers live in.

Q. How can corporate firms be more socially responsible in general?

A. One of the most important ways a corporate group can be socially more responsible has already been answered in the question above: by becoming more environmentally conscious. Apart for that, corporate firms can become socially more responsible by listening to the population they serve, observing what is needed and accurately identifying problems and solutions. For example, Chaudhary Group created the Chaudhary Foundation in 1995 as their CSR initiative to give back to the community that helped us become who we are now. We try work in all development sectors possible, but two of our major areas of concentration are post-disaster reconstruction and economic improvement. Why these? Because these cover two major problems Nepal faces, natural disasters and high levels of poverty. From these two areas of focus, the foundation works on empowering women; improving healthcare, nutrition and sanitation; rebuilding homes destroyed during earthquakes and other natural disasters; and incubating socially conscious businesses run by local young entrepreneurs. We observed and identified the problems and now are working towards solutions.

Q. Tell us about the Chaudhary Group’s recent endeavours in India.

A. The C.G. Corp Global, as it is known in India (Chaudhary Group is our Nepal arm), is rapidly moving forward in expanding our hospitality businesses with 60 hotels under our umbrella, under the brand called Fern; our FMCG business with nine different plants spanning across Assam to Chittoor; and an infrastructure project focused on agriculture processing, i.e. a food park, in Rajasthan. We are looking at expanding in other related areas where we are active either in Nepal or globally— such as power, banking, infrastructure, real estate etc.

Q. For those looking to establish new businesses of their own, what are the key points they need to consider before venturing out on their projects?

A. Be persistent and never give up. Have an unflinching commitment towards your objectives, regardless of the challenges you face. If one project does not work out, be prepared to switch to the next one to achieve your goals. Be ambitious and don’t be intimidated by competition.

Restlessness ruins negotiation. The more you appear restless at the negotiating table, the more you lose. The person in front of you tries his best to corner you. A deal hinges much on how you talk and how you present yourself.

Discipline. Discipline is about two things: personal conduct and time management. How do you conduct yourself with your colleagues? How do you present yourself before your partners, sales agents and buyers? These things determine your discipline.

My final piece of advice is that if things need to change, then be a part of that change. If you wait for the perfect moment to enter the battle, you will never make that first move. You cannot expect everything to be exactly as you want it to be. That’ll be too late. So either be the first mover, make the change and have that advantage, or be left behind.


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