In Conversation With Ms. Alka Talwar, Chief - CSR & Sustainability, Tata Chemicals

Ms. Alka Talwar currently holds the position of Chief - CSR and Sustainability Officer at Tata Chemicals Limited. She oversees all sustainability initiatives and disclosures for the company, promoting “Responsible Manufacturing” across geographies and the value chain. She also leads the diversity & inclusion and social development programs that include projects on natural resource management, environment conservation, rural energy, sustainable livelihoods, and empowerment. 

Ms. Talwar has been associated with Tata Chemicals for more than 30 years and has worked in various functions which include heading the community development functions at Mithapur, Gujarat, and at Babrala, Uttar Pradesh. An architect by education and a certified achievement motivation trainer, she is also the Hon. Trustee & Hon. Secretary of Tata Chemicals Society for Rural Development, Okhai – Centre for Empowerment and Uday Foundation (only Hon. Trustee). While she has worked extensively on both environmental and social aspects, there are some programs that require a special mention; 

  • Nature conservation programs - Whale Shark & Turtle conservation, and Eco restoration of coral reefs
  • Women empowerment initiatives through Okhai – a center for empowerment that provides sustainable livelihood to women artisans.
  • Furthermore, Ms. Talwar played a pivotal role in setting up a center of excellence for coastal and marine biodiversity conservation and Ncourage Social Enterprise Foundation (NSEF) that aims to build and promote social businesses to address various development challenges and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She is also a Director on the Board of NSEF. Recognizing her efforts, she was conferred with the ‘Leading Women Award 2019’ in the Excellence category by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. 

    She holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from CEPT University and has also co-authored two papers on The New Corporate Citizenship & Development and Linking Social enterprise with Social change: the mediating role of Empowerment. Practicing the perfect work-life balance, Ms. Talwar also dabbles in photography and is a keen naturalist who enjoys both nature and the outdoors.

    In this Interview, Ms. Talwar answered the following questions: 

    1. Tell us a little bit about the CSR that you do at Tata Chemicals. What is the vision behind it and what priority areas do you work in? 
    2. How did you bring your expertise in science to the forefront for larger good during COVID-19, as a part of your "Science for Good" initiative? 
    3. You have been extensively working with communities towards creating these sustainable livelihoods projects around farming, sanitation, and education. What all does it entails and how do you then hand over the reins to the community to take it forward?
    4. Women have in many cases been the torch-bearers for community-led change. How does the same translate into your initiatives and why do you think this is so?
    5. Lastly, over the past 3 decades that you have been with the organizations, how has its impact grown, and what does the future hold for newer prospects to create positive change? 

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