Leader’s  vision influenced CSR internalization

JLL is one of the unique success stories of home-grown, single product, one man initiative growing to an Indian MNC in FMCG domain making a mark in the product segment dominated by large MNCs.  JLL has been dominating the fabric blue segment with its Ujala Brand having about 72 % of market share, while HLL has only about 2 % of the market share. Interestingly, the vision of the founder has a social orientation leading to CSR oriented culture since early days, irrespective of the CSR law , which  became effective only in 2014.

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JYOTHY Laboratories is one of the oldest and most trusted consumer goods company in India with a total of 10 brands under its portfolio. The categories that JLL caters to are Fabric care, Home care, Personal care and Dishwash. In addition, the company also owns a subsidiary called Jyothy Fabricare Services Ltd. JFSL is engaged into service sector in organized laundry to provide “World class laundry at affordable price at your doorstep”.

Over the years, the company has diversified its operations in area of fabric care, household insecticide, incense candles, dish wash and personal care. The urge to innovate has found expression in every product category, brand and operation of the organization. Today, the company boasts of top celebrities as its brand ambassadors for individual products — Madhuri Dixit for Henko, ShilpaShetty and Ramya Krishnan from South for Exo and R Madhavan for Maxo. Earlier, JLL had Cricket Legend Sachin Tendulkar as a brand ambassador for Ujala in 2010 to enhance brand recall.

As per market estimates , Ujala , the flagship brand accounts for 72 per cent of the Rs 400-crore fabric blue market. While Reckitt Benckiser’s Robin Blue has a share of 3.5 per cent, HUL (Hindustan Unilever Ltd) has a share of about two per cent.

The most unique action of the company was the acquisition of Henkel AG India (HIL) in 2011, where an Indian company acquired , international brands which never made profits, and turned around each one of them  and made profitable in less than two years. At present, JLL and HIL are both merged under Jyothy Laboratories, growing in excess of 15% on a QoQ basis.Cover Story (20) Cover Story (19)



  • The company’s vision has always been to meet the day-to-day requirements of every Indian household by offering them value for money products.
  • To achieve this, Jyothy Laboratories continuously develop innovative brands, tap high growth markets, reach untapped markets and explore untapped segments.


  • To provide brands that denote superior quality, to touch and positively impact the daily lives of consumers.
  • To ensure that brands, business operations and corporate policies translate the core philosophy of offering value for the money spent to experience products.
  • Ensures that company people, processes and products reflect the ideals of integrity, ethics and professionalism.



Ujala: A game changer in the liquid fabric whitener category since its launch in the market in 1983 and has made whiteness synonymous with Ujala. The product’s formulation was done by the Founder and CMD Mr. M P Ramachandran himself in his kitchen for a year –boiling, diluting and testing until he was pleased with the results. By 2002, Ujala fabric whitener had emerged as the market leader in the industry. At present, Ujala undisputedly enjoys a 72% market share in the category, being an Rs 400 crore brand in Jyothy’s portfolio.

Henko: JLL got this brand under its portfolio after acquiring Henkel AG’s Indian operations in the year 2011. Henko, despite having a superior quality and being a well-known name in India and overseas, was seen as a laggard as it was never backed with requisite marketing and advertising campaigns. One of the most renowned household name and Bollywood celebrity Madhuri Dixit was roped in as a brand ambassador of the product. During the second quarter of FY15 the brand grew by a whopping 39% despite slowdown in detergent market.

Mr. White: A smaller brand in the portfolio acquired from Henkel, Mr. White falls under the economical category of detergent powder. It is a well-known brand in regional and state markets.

Chek: Present both in detergent powder and cakes. This product is also popular in regional and state markets for its superior whitening results along with fresh fragrance. 


Maxo: One of the leading mosquito repellent brands launched in 2000, Maxo entered the Rs 100 crore-club as a brand within 18 months of launch. Available in both coils and liquid formats, Maxo is ranked no. 2 in the mosquito repellant category with a high brand recall and a well-known brand ambassador endorsing it actor R Madhavan. The USP of the product has been that the liquid variant ‘fits all machines’. In addition, Maxo works on an innovative mechanism for dispensing its liquid. Being a late entrant, the product has been outperforming its peers by continuously improving its market share.


Margo: Another brand from Henkel’s stable and with a brand value exceeding Rs 100 crore, Margo is a 90-years old brand with a historically strong presence in East and South India.

Fa: This brand includes products for women in the talcs and deodorants category. Fa is an international product with a strong brand recall. JLL gained rights to sell Fa in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka with the acquisition of Henkel AG (India).

Neem: The brand was acquired from Henkel India and has a unique formulation, combined with mint. It is a regional brand under JLL’s portfolio.


Exo: Launched in 2000, Exo is India’s first anti-bacterial dish wash featuring cyclozan (a highly active anti-bacterial agent often used in toothpastes, and hence safe, however tough against germs that cause food poisoning), available in different variants – bar as well as liquid. The brand is being endorsed by renowned actress and entrepreneur Shilpa Shetty Kundra and enjoys an all-India market share of 10.5% as per March 2014.

Pril: Another renowned household brand since its inception in 1999, Pril Liquid came into JLL’s portfolio post acquisition of Henkel AG (India). The brand is positioned as a superior de-greasing formulation in the premium segment. Besides also being there in the dish wash bar segment, the company recently launched Pril Kraft-Gel, an all-new variant. The company also opted for an advertising campaign with a messaging revolving around spending less time in washing the utensils and has got an excellent response from the market.

Manpower: As on date, JLL’s employee strength is 3,500.

Geographic Spread

Since past few years, JLL’s core area of focus has been to take its Regional Brands National.

Also, they have increased their market share in Non South markets across their brands.Cover Story (18)

Profile of CSR activities of the proposed company

 Essential features of CSR strategy

  • Jyothy Laboratories philosophy has always been to reach the beneficiary directly.
  • JLL do not believe in reaching out to people via any trusts.
  • Jyothy sends  their employees to personally monitor various activities that they are involved in.


    Initially, the company entered the backward areas of states like Kerala, West Bengal and Assam for tax breaks but eventually got deeply involved in the upliftment of the remote villages which were devoid of basic amenities like medical, education, sanitation and utility. Each of these State Governments acknowledges the efforts of Jyothy Laboratories in not only raising the living standards of the people but also making them self-sufficient and productive personalities. JLL inspired them to do mango and coconut plantations to earn an additional source of income and develop a habit of nurturing.

    Additionally, JLL is completely aligned with the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan Campaign of PM Narendra Modi and has taken up the responsibility in Thrissur and Wayanad districts to build toilets in all the government schools. This will be extended to other districts in the state year after year under the CSR campaign of the company.


Cover Story (16)List of CSR Activities done

  • Blood donation camps

  • Flood relief camps

  • 2009 in Andhra Pradesh: Contributed 4500 packets containing rice, dal, sugar, jaggery etc. worth Rs 150 each for the flood victims. Did not keep any bar on the budget and donated as per requirement in the Vijaywada region.

  • 2014 in Jammu & Kashmir: Company’s management along with its employees has jointly donated a sum of Rs. 40 lacs to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund towards Jammu & Kashmir floods relief. Contribution of one day salary was made by the employees.

  • Tree plantation drive— 5, 00,000 trees planted across the country so far including mango and coconut plantations.

  • Company’s pet project this year is to build toilets in all the Government schools in Thrissur and Wayanad where the sanitation facilities are not good.
  • They plan to build and maintain 170 toilets in 15 schools which has strength of 16,802 students.
  • Also build kitchens and pantry in the schools, clean them, paint them — all depending upon their requirements.
  • Besides the above mentioned activities, Mr.M.P.Ramachandran has done many CSR activities on personal front which might not quality under CSR but personal philanthropy.Since 1st April, 2014, he has stopped taking salary from the company and does all philanthropic activities in the personal capacity using funds from interest and dividend earnings.

CSR team – organization

  • All field employees.
  • At the time of emergency, company office employees also participate.

CSR budget spent

  • During current financial year, JLL planned to donate Rs.1.56 Crore towards Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan Campaign.
  • There  is no budget constraint on personal front for Mr. M. P. Ramachandran.Cover Story (12)
  • He has been doing personal philanthropy since past two decades.
  • In past two years (Jan 2013-Dec 2014), he has donated Rs.80 lakh to needy individuals for their heart, kidney, liver, Cancer operations, rehabilitations and education. He not only gives monetary support at the time of critical operations but also posts –operation support like medicines, monthly contri-butions and personally monitors their requirements, progress and grievances.Cover Story (6) Cover Story (5)

Employee engagement profile

  • UjalaUtsav

  • Since 1990, JLL have been organizing UjalaUtsav once every five years.
  • UjalaUtsav is a seven day event wherein all the employees participate.
  • During company’s silver jubilee celebrations in 2009, company had arranged a MahaYagya wherein they had requested their employees from all the states to get sacred soil and water from their region and it was amalgamated to become the most sacred mix.
  • Company celebrates all the Indian festivals in offices/plants.

  • During Diwali, they organize puja and lunch for all the family members of their employees.

  • They also organize Dusherra Puja with some dance celebration.
  • CMD visits every plant once a year personally and that visit is like a celebration in the respective regions. The employees and workers organize get-togethers and are treated with feasts during MD’s visit. He interacts with each of the employees personally and gets actively involved in the social function.Cover Story (9) Cover Story (7)

Outcome and impact CSR activities

  • The initiative to build toilets will benefit 16,802 students in Thrissur district alone.
  • In past two years, Mr.M.P.Ramachandran has assisted 43 lives for their medical, educational and other facilities.

Strategic connect of the CSR activities with the core business of the proposed company

  • Only women employees at all Ujala factories.
  • Jyothy Laboratories believes that women are more responsible and multitasking.
  • Helps in keeping the level of attrition low.

WAY AHEAD – Future Plans in the era of mandatory CSR 

During current financial year, Jyothy Laboratories plans to spend Rs.1.56 crore towards Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan Campaign as the mandatory 2% CSR spend as per the Companies Law.

  • Committed to the Social Welfare Minister of Kerala for building 50 houses for the Adivasis (tribals) in two forest areas in the state. It will cost the Rs 2,50,000 per house i.e. a total sum of around Rs 1.25 crore out of which 50% will be contributed from company account and 50% from personal account of Mr. Ramachandran
  • Have not received any awards yet because did not quantify the CSR and personal philanthropy done so far and did not share any details/information with any external institutions. It is very recently that company have started quantifying the spends made in a structured manner.

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Ethical aspects of the business process (How responsibly the profit is made)

Always believed in providing value for money products to consumers.

All facilities use non-hazardous methods of manufacturing.

All the six factories where JLL manufactures Ujala, are only women workers and this is a practice company have been following since early 1990s, thus generating employment for women

Jyothy Laboratories believes that this helps its women employees get due respect in family and society.

Company employs 726 women across its factories in Guwahati, Bishnupur, Bhubaneswar, Pondicherry, Rourkee and other parts of Kerala.

100% women employment in factories is a brainchild of Mr. Ramachandran and thought of by him before anyone else in the industry. It has led to JLL factories having the lowest attrition across the industry.

A brand is a set of differentiating promises that link a product to its customers.


A Multi-Brand Company Operating in Multiple Categories.


mango and coconut plantations to earn an additional source of income and develop a habit of nurturing.


M.P. Ramachandran

Chairman, Jyothy Laboratories Ltd

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CSR VISION: How do you assess the success of JYOTHY LABORATORIES in Indian market in comparison to other brands in the categories it operates in?

M.P Ramachandran: Success and growth are very subjective concepts in my opinion. For Jyothy Laboratories, what may look like success to the outside world may actually be only a journey to that success for us. We do not consider ourselves competition to other big FMCG companies and brands as we are not chasing the market share but following a growth path. As long as we grow year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter in each of our brands and deliver value and innovative products to our customers, that is what we will define as success in the true sense.

Also, we only started with a niche product category – Fabric whitener. At present we have an extensive product portfolio ranging from fabric care, to dish wash, personal care to home care and insecticides. Instead of discretionary spends, our aim is to capture the mind share and wallet share of our customers in indispensible categories. 

CSR VISION: How do you compare the CSR activities of JYOTHY LABORATORIES in India in comparison to other companies in your domain?

M.P Ramachandran: Honestly, we do not compare our CSR activities and our CSR strategies with other companies in this domain. With other companies I mean larger FMCG companies of Indian or international origin. They have deep pockets compared to us; hence they have more funds earmarked for CSR. However, limitations of funds do not restrict our passion for this activity. I believe everyone is doing CSR in their own capacity which is very encouraging as well. Unless everyone in the society joins hands, we will not be able to make a collaborative difference to the current situation. It is like a big ocean where every drop counts.

At present, we are mostly concentrating our resources to the development of Kerala state but going forward each of the pilot projects will spread wings across other parts of the country. As we grow bigger, we will ensure the nation grows with us. 

CSR VISION: In leading global companies, the CEOs, devote almost equal time and attention to their role, of CSO (Chief Sustainability Officer) at par with their role of CEO (Chief Executive Officer). What is your level of involvement in CSR as the CSO (Chief Sustainability Officer) with relation to your role as Chairman and Director?

M.P Ramachandran: The beauty of Jyothy Laboratories is that every single employee is the Chief Sustainability Officer of the company. The values and culture are imbibed in such a way that every employee feels for the organization, society and nature and makes efforts in their individual capacity. This is why we do not outsource our CSR activities or keep third parties in the loop but get personally involved in each of our CSR campaigns.  

Coming to me, my involvement goes beyond the role of a CEO/CMD or CSO. My vision is to build an institution for the present and future where we are not only helping those who are in need as a one-off activity but enable them become self-sufficient, employable and socially transformed for a better living standard. This is a more onerous task than doing sporadic events.

Each of our initiatives are very close to my heart and for my own satisfaction I like to individually monitor their progress.

CSR VISION: Which are the key CSR activities of JYOTHY LABORATORIES in India?

M.P Ramachandran: Our CSR activities encompass health, education, natural disaster relief, environment and very recently sanitation.   

Though it is a very nominal contribution to begin with, but we have plans to expand this project to other parts of the state and country as time progresses and we see tangible results. In my understanding, the maintenance of these infrastructure will be as critical as building them. Our close association with these schools will ensure that maintenance is given its due importance.

The latest project that I am working is building houses for the tribals in Kerala. I understand their habitats are very different from ours and preserving them is of equal importance to the nation. I am sure everyone realizes the importance of not denying them of their land and culture but I want to go a step further in providing with a dwelling place for them to have a reasonably comfortable living. 

CSR VISION: Out of all the CSR activities / projects you are undertaking in India, which one you consider to be making an indelible impact on the national development scene, if any?

M.P Ramachandran: The diversity we have in our country, in terms of distribution of resources, makes it absolutely necessary for efforts to be made in every domain and not stay focussed on only one. All the activities I mentioned above are doing their share of upliftment in some form or the other. If every Corporate thinks this way, then there will be no stone left unturned towards collaborative nation building. The only task for me now is take all these initiatives on a national level to bring a substantial difference.

CSR VISION: Which one of your CSR projects may be called a flagship project, benefitting large number of beneficiaries?

M.P Ramachandran: Having succeeded in Green Revolution project in the past couple of years, at present Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan can be identified as our flagship project for this year. The issue of cleanliness, hygiene and sanitation has been very rightly pointed out by our honourable PM and this is the only way we can minimise the need for health and medical help as a cleaner nation will lead to a healthier population.

CSR VISION: How do you see the involvement of various stake holders of JYOTHY LABORATORIES with your CSR activities?

M.P Ramachandran: As mentioned, we do not contract our CSR mandates to any institution or third party vendors. We choose the materials we have to donate, our field staff and Corporate staff visit the affected sites whenever required, for hand-holding and supervision. Basically, all CSR campaigns are designed and executed in a proprietary manner which ensures maximum level of utilization and impact.

CSR VISION: What is the profile of employee involvement in CSR activities at JYOTHY LABORATORIES?

M.P Ramachandran: 100% for every employee. That is how Jyothy Laboratories functions.

CSR VISION: How does JYOTHY LABORATORIES to respond to the provisions under Section 135 of the Companies Act 2013?

M.P Ramachandran: We have been doing CSR even before this act came into force. The only difference is that we did not quantify it so meticulously to align it with our profits but now systems have changed. What remains is that we always were compliant with this act and will remain so.

CSR VISION: How do you measure the impact of your CSR activities?

M.P Ramachandran: This question is as difficult to answer as it is relevant. The backward and under-developed areas of Kerala, West Bengal, Assam and other states where we penetrated (where we have our factories), for instance the remote villages in Pondicherry, our idea was to create employment. Over a period time with our increased involvement with them, we have been successful in social transformation of those regions. 

CSR VISION: Do you consider CSR spend as EXPENDITURE or an INVESTMENT, please clarify your opinion?

M.P Ramachandran: Expenditure definitely not. It is a sacrifice which all stakeholders make, not only monetarily but also in terms of their time and energy. It is an Investment for sure, but not for the company but for Nation building. This is how I see it.


The founder  of JLL,  M.P Ramachandran  has a vision of business integrated with social impact , much before the CSR became mandatory . His vision includes all the essential ingredients of a successful CSR campaign, like employee engagement , passionate involvement of CEO, willingness to collaborate  and long term commitment.



It is expected that JLL will emerge as an ideal CSR    oriented company, led by a passionate CSR leader.




About the author

CSR VISION is India's (probably World's) first monthly magazine in print devoted to CSR and Sustainable Development for bringing together all stakeholders of SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT at a global and local levels and act as a platform for promoting strategic CSR and sustainable development practices through dissemination of information and knowledge.