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Employees at BKT Tires step up in global fight against COVID-19

Corporate social responsibility efforts help feed vulnerable people, provide medical equipment around the world

June 19, 2020  By Rock to Road Staff

Activist shareholders, altruistic employees and an increasing focus on good citizenship has put corporate social responsibility at the forefront for many organizations.

BKT, a global manufacturer of tires based in India with employees around the world including Canada, recently created a 28-page document that explained, in detail, steps it is taking to be a positive force in the world — a PDF it released at the height of the global pandemic.

“Life is made up of different events. Some happy, others sad,” wrote Arvind Poddar, chair and managing director at BKT.

“Each of us questions and reflects, wondering how to react. And so it is for the situation we are living through due to COVID-19.”


Arvind Poddar, chair and managing director, BKT Tire

A truly global effort

The document outlines some of the efforts BKT embarked on around the world, including India, Italy and the United States.

More than 2,000 employees donated one day’s salary to the “solidarity projects of the BKT foundation.”

In real dollars, that amounted to nearly $200,000 (Canadian) in support. In India, some of these resources were steered towards food, clothing and housing for vulnerable people.

“In India, there are many people who are earning their livelihood by doing some short term/odd jobs and many are earning their wages daily,” the report said.

“Due to the lockdown imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, these people could not earn their wages and furthermore due to various restrictions, could not get the food items needed for daily living.”

BKT arranged for cooked food and grain packets for the lockdown period, provided to jobless workers at various construction sites and agricultural farming areas. That included:

  • 60,000 packs of food assistance
  • 300,000 kilograms of flour
  • 60,000 kilograms of salt
  • 60,000 litres of cooking oil
  • 60,000 kilograms of lentils
  • 120,000 kilograms of rice
  • 60,000 kilograms of sugar
  • 60,000 spice bags
  • 60,000 bottles of soap

Helping medical professionals with PPE

BKT also donated 25,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) kits to medical staff who were treating COVID-19 patients.

The single-use kits included a protective suit with a hood, a face shield, a mask, a pair of gloves and shoe cover. It also included a biowaste bag to dispose of it safely after use.

Helping Italy

Italy was one of the nations hit hardest by the pandemic. BKT worked with Cesvi, an Italian humanitarian organization, on a “We’ll come to you” project to support the most vulnerable elderly residents.

“By activating home social assistance services, it manages the primary needs of thse people, supporting them so that they do not remain alone and emarginated due to the Coronavirus emergency,” it wrote.

South of the border

While the United States was hit in the later stages of the pandemic, all 50 states were eventually impacted.

“The U.S.A. has had the highest level of contagion and deaths worldwide,” the report noted.

Employees in Akron, Ohio, donated one month’s travel allowance to Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief agency. It helped set up a field hospital in New York’s Central Park, and also a respiratory care unit. In Cremona, Italy.

“We want to get involved, to do something concrete for ourselves and for our loved ones, to help our friends, to offer assistance to those who are suffering, to help support those who are in the front line fighting this insidious and invisible enemy,” said Poddar. “We know that it is not finished and that the virus is still not beaten. But we also know that this challenge that we have faced together has made us even stronger and ready to act, once again, all together.”

The cover of the report

The cover of the 28-page PDF which highlights the company’s corporate social responsibility efforts as it mobilized employees to support the fight against COVID-19 around the world.

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