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close this bookThe Business Response to HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS, 2000, 79 p.)
close this folderSECTION 5. PROFILES OF BUSINESS ACTIVITIES IN RESPONSE TO HIV/AIDS
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentProfile 1. American International Assurance, Thailand - Workplace evaluation and accreditation programme
View the documentProfile 2. The Body Shop, Japan - In-store HIV/AIDS campaigns
View the documentProfile 3. Warsaw Marriott Hotel, Poland - Hosting conferences for people living with HIV/AIDS
View the documentProfile 4. Larsen & Toubro Limited, India - Education and prevention programmes
View the documentProfile 5. Volkswagen do Brasil, Brazil - HIV/AIDS care programme
View the documentProfile 6. Molson, Canada - Cause-related marketing support for AIDS service organisations
View the documentProfile 7. Chevron Nigeria Ltd, Nigeria - Education and prevention programmes
View the documentProfile 8. Standard Chartered Bank, Uk - HIV/AIDS Policy and Awareness Programme
View the documentProfile 9. International Hotel & Restaurant Association - Workplace HIV/AIDS guide for hospitality industry
View the documentProfile 10. Anglo Coal, South Africa - Multi-pronged education, prevention and care programmes
View the documentProfile 11. Eskom, South Africa - Education and prevention programmes and monitoring
View the documentProfile 12. Alms, Czech Republic - Website information service on HIV/AIDS prevention
View the documentProfile 13. Teddy Exports, India - Workplace and local community education campaigns
View the documentProfile 14. Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, USA - Care and support for women and children with HIV/AIDS
View the documentProfile 15. The Shell Company of Thailand, Thailand - Peer Education at the Pump Project
View the documentProfile 16. Business Coalitions on HIV/AIDS, Worldwide - Collaborative Advocacy and Action
View the documentProfile 17. International HIV/AIDS Alliance - Non-governmental organisation partnerships with business

Profile 4. Larsen & Toubro Limited, India - Education and prevention programmes

Key lesson: Long-term commitment to workforce awareness

· Business description:

Larsen & Toubro, founded in 1938, is one of the top private sector companies in India, with net profits for 1998-99 at Rs. 4,710 million (approx. $US 105 million). The company is engaged in engineering and construction, cement, electricals and electronics and construction equipment, with manufacturing facilities in 20 locations throughout India. Larsen & Toubro makes a commitment to the wellbeing of its employees and to the local communities, providing social and economic assistance programmes.

· Number of employees:

26,000

· Contact:

Rupam Nangia


Senior Executive - Employee Welfare


Larsen & Toubro Limited


Powai Works


Saki Vihar Road


PO Box 8901


Mumbai 400 072


India

· Tel:

+91 22 858 1401

· Fax:

+91 22 858 1111

· Email:

m-pwd@powai.ltindia.com

1. Motivation for action

Larsen & Toubro recognised that HIV/AIDS placed the private sector in a vulnerable position as a result of the high level of incidence of HIV in the age group 18-35, placing at risk the most productive section of their human resources. In addition, by recognising that the combination of the absence of good quality medical facilities available to most people in India and the lack of any cure, prevention was the principal way for them to assist in containing the spread of HIV/AIDS. Importantly, they sought to achieve this through extensive education programmes and by attempting to remove the prejudice, myths and social stigma around HIV/AIDS and those living with HIV/AIDS and their families. Essentially, the principal aims were to prevent an epidemic, ensure a healthy workforce, maintain productivity and morale and fulfil the company’s social responsibility.

2. Business response to HIV/AIDS

Larsen and Toubro have a long history of responding to HIV/AIDS, dating back to 1985 when they first launched an awareness-raising programme. The commitment has remained to the current day with a diverse range of programmes undertaken, including the following:

· Awareness-raising programme: Initially involving the training of trainers, held in English and the local language, in order to give them the knowledge, skills and sensitivity to conduct HIV/AIDS awareness programmes. Over the years the programme has involved 85 trainers and social workers on over 200 training programmes and covered approximately 10,000 employees, 4,500 members of employees, families and 1,500 local school children. A particular focus has been made on youth, including the apprentice trainees, new graduate trainees, the employees’ children and local municipal schools and slum communities. These programmes are ongoing, becoming an integral part of the company training schedule.

· Supporting people living with HIV/AIDS and prevention of discrimination: Larsen & Toubro actively promote non-discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS for hiring, promotion, transfer and training of its employees. There is no mandatory testing at any stage, pre- or post- employment. The company provides counselling to people living with HIV/AIDS and is engaged in partnerships with governmental organisations and NGOs to ensure good practice and assistance provision. Through peer education the company seeks to create a better acceptance and integration of employees living with HIV/AIDS.

· Involvement in external initiatives on HIV/AIDS: In 1995, Larsen and Toubro participated in the formation of one of the earliest private sector led participatory bodies in response to HIV/AIDS, the Industry Response to AIDS, which consisted of management level representatives from 13 large companies in Mumbai. While this was not a long-standing arrangement it stood as an example of future approaches in the business response to HIV/AIDS. In addition, representatives from Larson & Toubro are members of technical working groups on local and international bodies devising HIV/AIDS intervention strategies for the local communities.

· Sharing workplace experiences of HIV/AIDS: Personnel from Larsen & Toubro were instrumental in designing and writing a HIV/AIDS policy guideline for Indian industries, “Corporate Response to AIDS: Policy Guidelines”, in partnership with the Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Moreover, through several different local and national industrial associations Larsen & Toubro provide access to their HIV/AIDS workplace and community education and prevention training modules and materials.

3. Results and lessons

Due to the long-term commitment and willingness to share knowledge and materials on HIV/AIDS, Larsen & Toubro have become well respected throughout the private, governmental and NGO sectors within India, resulting in an increasing interest in replicating the company’s HIV/AIDS programmes. While there has not been any specific monitoring studies undertaken, company observations reveal that the incidence of HIV cases amongst the workforce has declined. In addition, employees and their families are more prepared to discuss HIV/AIDS with the company’s Employee Welfare Department.

The extensive experience of Larsen & Toubro provides useful lessons in how to undertake and maintain private sector responses to HIV/AIDS. Principal ingredients of success of the company’s activities have been identified as follows:

1. Internal commitment from senior management within the company;

2. A multi-pronged intervention strategy implemented at all levels within the company and the local community;

3. The education and prevention programmes built into the training strategy of the company;

4. The development of multicultural and multilingual educational materials appropriately directed at specific target groups;

5. Involvement of labour unions in the planning and implementation of the programmes;

6. Involvement of peer leaders from the target groups in the dissemination of the education and prevention information;

7. Positioning the company’s programme implementation department as a professional, non-threatening and neutral body;

8. Care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS and their families.