Recognising the fact that the availability of wood, the prime source of fibre for the paper and paperboards, is the major challenge and concern for sustainability. ITC said that its R&D initiatives have evolved high yielding, site specific, disease resistant clones and a comprehensive package of plantation management practices.
During the year, 52 million high quality saplings were distributed to farmers and additional 15,115 hectares plantations were added. The cumulative plantations amount to over 80,000 hectares and ITC has distributed 332 million saplings. The company is committeed to green 100,000 hectares in the next few years, which would far exceed wood fibre requirement apart from creating livelihood opportunities for a very large number of people in tribal areas and further consolidate its position as a carbon positive corporation, the report pointed out.
Apart from the obvious benefits of increasing the green cover, the effort also directly contributes to in-situ moisture conservation, ground water recharge and significant reduction in topsoil losses due to wind and water erosion. The forestry initiatives have not only built grassroots capacities to initiate a virtuous cycle of sustainable development, but have also provided significant opportunities to the economically backward by helping them raise plantations. This has created 35 million mandays of employment, empowering small and marginal farmers, the report added.
The report also highlighted ITC's milestones of being water positive for six years in a row, carbon positive for three years and has achieved the 100% benchmark in solid waste recycling in most of its business operations, making it the only company in the world of its size to have achieved these records. In addition to that, more than 95% of ITC's energy requirements are produced internally with more than 24% of energy generated from renewable resources, the report further said.