India Inc strives to check emissions

Written by Ronojoy Banerjee | Ronojoy Banerjee | Kirtika Suneja | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 7 2011, 07:08am hrs
India Inc is employing various means to cut its greenhouse gas emissions and the efforts are not just restricted to a handful of sectors but cut across the spectrum, from automobiles and infrastructure to FMCG and consumer durables.

Among the Indian firms that have managed to successfully put in place a road map for gradual reduction of emissions include Binani Cement, Mahindra & Mahindra, Larsen & Toubro, Tata Coffee, L'Oreal and Hindustan Unilever. These firms have emerged as the winners of this year's FE-EVI Green Business Leadership Awards. Former President APJ Abdul Kalam presented the awards at a glittering ceremony on June 5 along with Union Minister of New & Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah.

In the first category of awards for high energy intensive sectors, Binani Cement was awarded for working extensively in inculcating green values among its employees . Joint president (corporate affairs) Amit Singha said the company's efforts had reduced emissions by 1%, but in volume terms it amounted to a significant chunk. We are constantly in touch with our employees and customers on environment issues. We are now looking to manufacture green cement wherein we are going to use more renewable energy in producing it, he said.

Diversified conglomerate Mahindra & Mahindra won the second award in this category. The company has been following sustainability reporting, analysing every process used by the group. The group's focus has been on undertaking strategic initiatives at business and unit levels to achieve goals etched out by the group.

Infrastructure behemoth Larsen & Toubro walked away with the third prize for its efforts in reducing the overall emission burden. The company started striving towards a cleaner environment by using renewable energy sources more than five years ago. Currently, L&T meets 8% of its energy needs through renewable sources. The company has also managed to incorporate measures for efficient use of water and energy in its internal processes.

Similarly, in the second category of low energy intensive sectors, Tata Coffee bagged the first position for its approach in managing coffee plantations. An effective strategy for biodiversity management allowed the company to reduce reliance on chemical fertilisers, increase proportion of organic coffee production and create a buffer zone between wildlife and human habitations around the plantations. For us, sustainability means increasing coffee yields without cutting trees and preserving the natural ecosystems. Every tree is numbered and counted over 13,000 hectares of our plantations, said AS Muthana, vice-president, plantations, Tata Coffee.

The second winner in the category was L'Oreal India for its efforts in using renewable energy and for putting in place effective corporate governance procedures. The cosmetics giant intends to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions, water consumption and waste levels to grow sustainably along with the communities around it. "Environment protection and corporate social responsibility are our two-fold goals. We want to reduce CO2 emissions by 50% by 2015 on a baseline of 2005 in absolute terms. Also, we want to reduce water and waste levels by 50% in per unit terms by 2015, said Vishal Sahgal, industrial director, L'Oreal India.

Hindustan Unilever was awarded the third prize for being proactive in conducting product lifecycle assessment, measuring carbon, water and waste footprints besides having one of the most mature stakeholder engagement process in the group. Unilevers vision is to double the size of its business while reducing the overall impact on the environment. This vision recognises that the world is changing, populations are growing and the rise in incomes is fuelling a growth in the demand for consumer products. Products like ours rely on an increasingly constrained set of natural resources, whether it is fuel, water or other raw materials, said the company.