Unlike many corporations, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is not just a subsidiary activity to HCL. The group takes a comprehensively holistic approach to property development - undertaking projects that will have a beneficial impact on not just the immediate customer, but on society itself. Corporate social responsibility is central to what HCL does.
Addressing Trinidad's Settlement Crisis
The premise behind all of HCL's development projects is creating total solutions for living. The Group builds communities - not just houses - but also facilities for shopping, entertainment and employment. This is a direct response to the nation's settlement trends over the last half century. For decades now developers have built housing outside of Port of Spain while the vast majority of jobs, activities and infrastructure are created within. This has had several negative consequences for the society. Citizens are forced to endure hours of traffic to get from and to the capital. They are forced to accept a lower standard of public utilities. Most importantly, they are forced to live in communities that are incomplete and lacking in amenities that enhance living. HCL's whole development philosophy is about correcting Trinidad and Tobago's settlement crisis.
Emphasis on Training
HCL's integration of CSR into its business model is also reflected in the type of public-spirited programmes the Group undertakes. One of its major community-focuses initiatives is skills training - an area that not only benefits society, but HCL as well. Either through partnerships with other organizations or on its own, HCL has created courses and training schemas for both the general public and its employees.
Working with Trinidad Cement Ltd, HCL offers a skills training programme in masonry, construction techniques and the use of concrete-type products. The Group also runs a programme for electricians. CSR strategies such as these not only benefit the national community by giving people a viable skill, they also create a pool of skilled workers that HCL can draw upon for their many development projects. At the HCL Group Training Centre on Orange Grove Road in Tacarigua HCL offers classes in English, math and computer literacy. Training is also a major component of HCL's offerings to its employees. The Group gives intensive training for security guards and certification courses for its carpenters and plumbers. In addition, because HCL consists of over 20 companies with a wide variety of operations, employees get the benefits of working with and learning from others with different skill sets.
Investing in the East
HCL began its property development agenda in Trincity, and since that time the Group has placed major emphasis on the development of Eastern Trinidad. This focus extends into its charitable contributions to the community. HCL regularly partners with the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation on community enhancement initiatives. These include measures like school book programmes and civic celebrations.