In its endeavour to be green, Godrej discovers Platinum

Godrej Appliances’ Shirwal plant is the first manufacturing establishment in the country to be awarded the CII Platinum GreenCo certification

‘Mission on Sustainable Growth’—a CII initiative, was adopted by Godrej & Boyce (G&B) at the behest of Jamshyd Godrej, Chairman, G&B. The objective was to involve the senior management of member companies, and seek their commitment to setting voluntary targets to reduce the intensity of resource usage. Of the ten commandments embodied, there were three core areas: control over energy consumption, waste reduction, and water conservation. Each member organisation, including G&B was given the task to set clear, measurable action points in the mentioned critical areas, which would be common to all group businesses. These targets were dovetailed into the performance management system, so a clear accountability towards the environment could be established.

Employees across all levels and businesses were drawn into the mission, which resulted in perceptible results across G&B.

The mission helped institute an internal assessment system for the efforts towards sustainable manufacturing and growth. But was this enough? Wouldn't it be better to have an external perspective as well—one that was looking inward from outside? The CII mulled over this requirement.

With several of its members having embarked on their own journeys towards sustainability, there was a need to have a set of common measures and benchmarks, as well as stretched targets in the context of national and international indices. A healthy competition was desirable to enable member companies raise the bar continually. It is from this line of thinking that the CII Green Business Centre GreenCo Rating System emerged—a framework for defining and assessing a business’ performance on the green front.

Godrej Appliances’ Shirwal plant embarked upon its GreenCo journey in August 2013. The journey quickly gained momentum, and in barely two months, the entire documentation was complete and offered for assessment.

The quest for Platinum

Enthused with the Gold, G&B decided to make its bid for a Platinum rating. Since the company had a structure for MSG in place, it was easy to form teams to execute any additional work. In 2010, G&B adopted the Good & Green CSR initiative, which gave it a push to further realise its ambitious targets. These would not only help the company make the Platinum rating, but also help us make a 'Good & Green' impact on the society.

Energy efficiency

In 2004-05, our energy consumption was 17kwh/appliance which was reduced to 7.54 kwh/appliance in 2013-14–a healthy reduction of 56 per cent over the last decade. We were able to achieve this as a result of many significant initiatives, undertaken to reduce energy consumption, that were of a fixed and variable nature. Progressively, we converted the consumption that assumed to be fixed to a variable one. Our usage of renewable energy has been rising year after year.

Our initiative of pursuing efficiencies in energy consumption has led to electrical energy conservation of about a million KWH in the last three years, saving us a sum of INR 74 lakh. Since our savings have been greater than envisaged, the investment of INR 1.12 crore stands recovered in mere 1.5 years as against the planned period of 3 years. Our greenhouse gas emissions, too, have been reduced proportionately.

We have also been increasing our consumption of renewable energy year after year. In 2013-14, renewable energy accounted for 23 per cent of our total energy consumption, as against a mere 7 per cent in 2010-11. Over the next two years, we want this to increase to 40 per cent.

Waste reduction

The amount of hazardous waste sent to landfill has dropped by 55 per cent in the last 4 years, targeting zero waste to landfill in 2016. A recent study has confirmed that the recyclability of our products is nearly 100 per cent, with the recycled material ranging between 25-35 per cent.

Water conservation

We have taken a number of measures such as adding five new borewells with recharge chambers, rain water harvesting and creating a water body in an innovative way on a hilly terrain. This has helped us drop our water consumption from 132 litres/appliance to 84 litres/appliance – a reduction of 36 per cent – in the span of 6 years.

We realise that our green efforts must also extend to our suppliers. As part of our cluster development journey, we partnered with 8 suppliers and set up an Effluent Treatment Plant, solar power for office computers, and induction lamps; planted trees and cultivated lawns to make our campus greener. A study of our critical suppliers has shown that over the last two years, energy consumption has been reduced by 11.8 per cent; water consumption by 10.2 per cent and waste generated is reduced by 8.1 per cent.

This is not the end of the endeavour though. The Godrej Appliances team at Shirwal believes energy consumption can be lowered even further to the best prevalent global standards.

Adapted from G&B Change magazine (October 2015 edition), as written by Hussain Shariyarr, Godrej Appliances

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