The CII Foundation was set up by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in 2011 and works across India through a collaborative approach, partnering with the government, corporates, civil society and NGOs, academic institutions, and other key stakeholders to drive social change. The Foundation undertakes projects in diverse areas, often on a pilot basis initially, and presents a successful model of engagement that is replicable and scalable to amplify impact. Each initiative is led by a committed team of dedicated stakeholders who bring different expertise to maximize impact.

Areas of Intervention

  • Climate Change Resilience
    • Cleaner Air, Better Life - Crop Residue Management Initiative
    • Waterbody Restoration
  • Women Empowerment
    • CII Foundation Woman Exemplar Program
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Disaster Management
    • Immediate Relief Efforts
    • Long-term Rehabilitation Interventions
  • Waste Management
  • Healthcare

Key Initiatives

Climate Change Resilience

Cleaner Air, Better Life - Crop Residue Management

Air quality in north India has declined rapidly over the last decade, with crop residue burning in North-Western states being a significant cause. To mitigate crop residue burning and promote sustainable agriculture, the CII Foundation launched a Crop Residue Management (CRM) initiative in 2018 in 19 Punjab villages. The impact of the project interventions was notable: 80% of farmers adopted no-stubble burning practices, and 75% of intervened farmland became stubble-burning free in 2018, compared to 3.5% in 2017.

Encouraged by this success, the CII Foundation expanded the project into a multi-stakeholder partnership involving the government, industry, agricultural universities, and the farming community. Partners include Birlasoft, Apraava Energy, Cadence, Fidelity International, Goodyear, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, PTC Financial Services Limited, HDFC Bank, SBI Card, Cummins, BPCL, ONGC, Royal Enfield, ReNew Power, RAU Study Circle, and the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

The project employs a multi-pronged approach including creating awareness, providing machinery and training to drive behavior change and create a 'zero-stubble burning' movement. It now spans almost 600 villages in Punjab and Haryana. In the 2023 season, stubble burning was reduced by 91% in the 432 intervened villages.

Waterbody Restoration

The degradation of waterbodies is a pressing environmental issue, leading to loss of biodiversity and exacerbating water shortages. The CII Foundation is working to revive waterbodies and wetlands, with the first project launched in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, where 10 waterbodies have been revived and handed over to local government and communities. This initiative is supported by Kemin Industries South Asia Pvt Ltd, GMMCO Ltd, Danfoss, Pon Pure Chemicals Group, and GRUNDFOS, and facilitated by CII Southern Region. The initiative is being scaled up.

Key interventions include cleaning and clearing blocked passages, increasing water holding capacity and improving drainage systems. The project is also being implemented in rural Gurugram, Haryana, supported by PTC India Financial Services Limited in partnership with Gram Panchayats to restore 10 waterbodies.

CII Foundation Woman Exemplar Program

Grassroots women often face challenges due to poverty and social and gender-based discrimination. Yet many overcome these challenges to become community leaders. To recognize such women, CII instituted the Woman Exemplar Award in 2005, which became a part of the CII Foundation Woman Exemplar Program in 2011.

The program celebrates the resilience of grassroots women leaders from resource-poor rural or urban areas who have excelled as social change leaders. It identifies, recognizes, mentors, and amplifies women driving social change in Education, Health, and Micro-Enterprise.

Each year, the program selects 15 grassroots women leaders from hundreds of nominations from NGOs across the country. An eminent jury chooses three winners for the Woman Exemplar Award, which is presented at a prestigious national event like the CII Annual Session, attended by senior dignitaries from government, business, media, and civil society. The program also works extensively with these women to build their capacity and expand the impact of their work. Today, the CII Foundation has created a powerful network of more than 120 women changemakers, who reach over 3 million beneficiaries annually, creating ripples of social change.

Early Childhood Education

The early years of a child's life are critical. Multiple pieces of research have demonstrated that maximum brain development occurs between the ages of 0-5 and that quality early childhood education (ECE) is critical in determining a child's life outcomes in terms of health and income levels. Further evidence also links the importance of ECE to social returns such as lower crime rates and better citizenship.

Since ECE is delivered through Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) in India, the CII Foundation works with AWCs using a multi-stakeholder approach, collaborating closely with state governments and industry such as Volvo Trust Group, Mitsui & Co. Ltd, and local NGOs. Currently, the CII Foundation is working with AWCs across Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, and Maharashtra to provide infrastructure support to develop model Anganwadi Centres, build the capacity of Anganwadi workers, develop age-appropriate curriculum, engage the community, and develop parameters for tracking outcomes.

Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation

The CII Foundation has been at the forefront of disaster relief and rehabilitation initiatives across India, responding to calamities like devastating floods, cyclones, and earthquakes to provide succor to those impacted. To maximize reach and benefit for the disaster-affected, the CII Foundation employs a multi-stakeholder approach, leveraging industry connections and collaborating with local governments, NGOs, hospitals, and other stakeholders. From immediate relief measures to long-term rebuilding efforts, including the restoration of vital institutions like schools and hospitals, the Foundation remains dedicated to fostering resilience and recovery in the face of adversity. Amongst key current initiatives, the CII Foundation has been undertaking rehabilitation initiatives in Kerala through the reconstruction of schools and healthcare facilities damaged after the devastating floods of 2018.

Waste Management

India is facing significant challenges in managing urban waste, especially with rapid urbanization and increasing population densities in cities. In some pockets, especially in urban clusters, the current waste collection and management systems fail to handle the enormous amounts of waste, leading to environmental harm and health risks. In 2021, the CII Foundation launched a waste management initiative in Delhi’s Abul Fazal, a densely populated area supported by PTC Financial Services. Through project interventions including creating awareness, promoting improved waste management practices, and building the capacity of waste workers, the project achieved significant results with more than 70% of households segregating waste at source. Similar projects have been launched in Leh, Ladakh, and Farrukhnagar, Gurugram in the North, and Kochi in the South supported by General Insurance Company RE and HDFC Parivartan.


Improving health awareness, especially among children, and healthcare in India is critically important to create healthy, resilient communities. Enhanced healthcare infrastructure and better training for healthcare professionals will have significant positive outcomes as better healthcare reduces the disease burden and enhances the productivity of individuals, thereby promoting economic growth. The CII Foundation is working towards enhancing health awareness among school children by working closely with schools in states such as Delhi, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, in partnership with with HOPE Initiative (Health Oriented Programmes & Education). It is also strengthening healthcare infrastructure in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu to improve the delivery of healthcare facilities.

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