India-based company wants more than profit

MUMBAI, India – When people report to work at Tata Sons Group or one of its seven major sectors, they know they are working to serve a higher purpose.

“We are not just working for one man or one family. What we are doing is working for the good of society,” Tata’s brand custodian and chief ethics officer Mukund Rajan said Monday at the global giant’s world headquarters in Mumbai.

That’s because each year for more than a century, a large chunk of profits from the company have been returned to society via trusts for things like education, health care, nutrition or natural disaster aid. Last year, more than $200 million, or two-thirds of the company’s dividends and profits, were contributed to charitable needs, especially in the crowded country with high poverty rates, Rajan said.

He spoke in a mahogany-lined boardroom inside Bombay House, Tata Sons’ Mumbai corporate headquarters. In the room were portraits of past leaders of the company, and a marble bust of company founder, Jamsetji Tata.

Work for this parent company of Warren’s Thomas Steel Strip does not end just with India.

The company’s belief in education, nutrition and health care has reached around the world, including to the United States, where it gave, for example, more than 300,000 books to schools and children in North America, provides healthy eating programs for needy families with children in Chicago, and offered help in many other programs.

It’s likely the caring and demand for excellence that has employees inside the headquarters and the Tata-owned hotel, where a group of American journalists, are staying beaming with pride.

I am among a group of five American journalists invited as guests of Tata Group.

From our drivers, to hotel workers to corporate executives, workers speak highly of the company and its role in the Indian society.

Trusts for important, but underfunded, projects began more than a century ago, founded by the two sons of Tata’s founder because they had no children to whom they could leave their large inheritance. Today, the trust continues the mission.

The company is hoping to achieve the quick brand recognition in the worldwide companies that already exists in India for its products and companies. Rajan told the journalists on Monday that a branding campaign is set to begin in North America and other continents.

That plan may be motivation for the company’s desire to invite journalists this year to visit India and learn more about the company. The tours began earlier this year with visits from British journalists, continues this week with American journalists and in November is expected to include South African journalists, company officials said.