Exclusive: Eco-design an integral part of our developments, says Ashish Saraf, Thales in India

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Updated: October 22, 2021 5:36 PM

On the eve of the COP26 in Glasgow, Ashish Saraf, Vice President and Country Director, Thales in India shares plans about the company for dealing with climate change.

Ashish Saraf, Vice President and Country Director, Thales in India

The European Union has announced its support to the International Solar Alliance (ISA) earlier this week. This was announced by the visiting European Commission Executive-Vice President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans. During the 21st session of the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP21, in Paris, France, the launch of ISA was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr Francois Hollande, the former president of France, in November, 2015.

While announcing EU’s support Frans Timmermans, said “Now, the EU will work more closely with ISA. This will be for the promotion of solar projects all over the world, and we can jointly scale up technological solutions that can help reach climate neutrality by 2050.”

Thales Group of France, has chalked out a strategy for a low-carbon future which is built on three pillars which are – “reducing direct emissions and those due to our products and equipment; providing our customers with eco-responsible solutions; and supporting a better understanding of climate change, particularly through our involvement in space programmes,” says Ashish Saraf, Vice President and Country Director, Thales in India.

On the eve of the COP26 in Glasgow, Ashish Saraf, Vice President and Country Director, Thales in India shares with Huma Siddiqui, plans about the company for dealing with climate change.

Following are excerpts:

How eco-friendly are the platforms being made by Thales?

Thales is stepping up its low carbon strategy and has outlined its plan to achieve a 35% reduction in operational CO2 emissions by 2023, a 50% reduction by 2030, and “net zero” by 2040. These targets are consistent with the Paris Agreement’s objective of limiting global warming to 1.5°. The Group will begin the SBTi (Science-Based Target initiative) certification process to substantiate its progress towards these goals. In addition, the Group expects to adopt eco-design principles for 100% of its new products and services by 2023.

Our businesses have been helping to build a world which is safer, more environmentally sound and more inclusive. For us, the priority is to develop systems and products which meet the different safety and reliability requirements of aeronautics, space, defence, transport and security markets. We have been ensuring that the expectations of sustainability are met whilst thriving for responsible economic performance in deference to our different stakeholders. We are highly motivated to develop products and systems that support our environmental responsibility objectives and meet the current and future environmental regulations.

Developing more frugal and more sustainable technologies is a key area of importance for us and given that “green innovation” is a source of creativity and growth which creates real opportunities, we are doing everything to integrate the environment when designing our products. Eco-design is an integral part of all our developments as the markets we serve need products that are as small, lightweight and as resource efficient as possible.

How is the company working with its global suppliers to ensure that less carbon footprint is left in a battlefield?

Our innovations reduce our customers’ emissions and we are delivering carbon dioxide savings by ensuring eco-designing of products. This ranges from defence unmanned systems expertise applied to civil drones, cyber security solutions across defence and civil markets and defence innovations to address challenges in many other industries.

There is no doubt that defence contributes to safe, stable, and prosperous societies and enables protection to a wider society which further contributes towards sustainability and protection of the planet. Our defence solutions enable a more sustainable future in many civil markets. They have a reduced environmental footprint and enhanced performance; and offer advantages such as lower fuel burn, increased performance by reducing size, weight, power, and logistics burden etc. This includes the likes of products such as the thermal imager Sophie Ultima, solutions for autonomous mine warfare, amongst others.

Additionally, Thales is focused on stepping up engagement with its supply chain in order to further aid in addressing environmental challenges. The company has a target of 50% reduction in carbon emission by 2030 and believes that its supply chain partners will play an important role in helping the company achieve this target collaboratively.

How is Thales India working towards playing a role in ensuring that helps in India’s efforts to deal with climate change?

We have been committed towards incorporating practices, complementing our Group-level efforts, which help forward the sustainability efforts in India. For instance, our new Headquarter in Noida is in a LEED (Gold) certified building and more than 2500 plants have been installed in the office. Additionally, we have enabled CNG vehicles for employee transportation to reduce carbon footprint and have undertaken initiatives to minimize use of single use plastic and access control printers to avoid unnecessary printing of papers. The office also has LED warm lights across floors and sensor based lighting in meeting rooms, phone booths and washrooms to save electricity. To ensure that wastage of water is restricted, our offices have sensor based taps and soap dispensers. To ensure a proper reuse and recycling practice at our sites in India, we are undertaking programmes for milk plastic bags and tetra bag recycling along with a proper system for waste segregation (dry, wet and e-waste). We are also working with our supply chain in India to contribute to our global ESG strategy.

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