We can ignore the environmental crisis no longer. Whether international meets on this issue arrive at a consensus or not, each of us has a responsibility to ensure that we harm the environment less, and if possible, contribute to its well being. Corporate India is conscious of this fact, just as in the developed world. Creating clean enterprises to reduce carbon footprint and conserve energy has become the quiet motto of many. We take a look at a few of the organizations and their initiatives.
From save endangered animals to save trees, we have now reached a stage where we are talking of Save Planet Earth. Global warming is evident in the climatic changes we experience even as laymen, and its implications are terrifying to say the least. Environmentalists and scientists threaten us of imminent thawing of the ice from the poles and flooding of coastal cities. Less rainfall, or inundations, do not help in keeping the balance in the eco-system. The polluted air adds to our health concerns.
The time is past for mankind to point fingers. It is now time for action. So while governments may agree or disagree as to who or how much, every citizen of the world today is aware of his or her responsibility to at least delay the inevitable and restore the balance to the extent possible.
In this, industries across segments are awakening to their responsibilities to contributing to the balance. Some are way ahead, some are getting there and some are just beginning. Whatever the level of achievement in implementing clean technology, they are still path-breakers for they are making progress in reducing their carbon footprint and recycling to the extent possible, even while focusing on energy conservation.
We look at some of the majors globally and nationally and their initiatives, and hope to garner lessons that will guide others in the process.
Reliance Energy: Green Thermal Power Station
Dahanu Thermal Power Station (DTPS) is a 500 MW (2 X 250 MW) coal based thermal power station situated approximately 120 kms from Mumbai on the western seacoast. A 250 MW coal fired thermal plant commissioned in 1995, has implemented numerous Environmental Management Programs (EMP), and has won awards as the cleanest power station in the country including installation of flue gas desulphurization plant, effective utilization of fly ash among others, which has enabled it to maintain environment related parameters below the norms laid down by the statutory bodies.
At Dabur, environment and nature is the lifeline of our business. With a portfolio of Ayurveda and nature-based products, conservation of nature and natural resources is deep rooted in our organizational DNA, and in every aspect of our ever-growing business,” says Sunil Duggal, CEO, Dabur.
It has installed electrostatic precipitators to collect fly ash and minimize emissions to the atmosphere. It has the highest stack in India at 275.34 meters to ensure better dispersion of particulate matter, bringing it to less than one-third of statutory limits (150 mg/Nm3). It has low NOx producing burners, dust extraction systems, and ventilation systems to circulate fresh air and maintain effective air pressure.
The company imports coal of very low ash and sulphur content from Australia and Indonesia and blends with Indian coal in 70 (Indian): 30 (imported) ratio before feeding it to the boiler. DTPS uses washed coal having low ash content, which has reduced ash content in coal by 10 per cent.
Other measures include control and management of water pollution, solid waste management, minimizing noise pollution and the installation of pollution monitoring equipment.
As part of their Green Belt Development Program, the marshy, slushy and barren land where the plant is located has been converted into a green piece of land with massive plantation and forestation programme to be implemented in phases.
Nokia: Take Back Campaign
Mobile phones have become an extension of ourselves. With new developments periodically, it has also become the norm to discard old ones and upgrade to new models.
Realizing that management of unwanted handsets will contribute to a greener tomorrow, Nokia, one of the leading mobile phone suppliers, launched a Take-back and recycling campaign in India as well as across 85 countries globally. This initiative is aimed at driving behavioral changes amongst consumers to make recycling of old and discarded handsets an instinctive action.
In India, Nokia introduced the first phase of its Take-Back program on January 1, 2009, through a four-city pilot including Ludhiana, Delhi, Gurgaon and Bangalore. By December 2009, it was extended to 25 cities across India.
As part of this campaign, Nokia encourages consumers to drop their unused mobiles and chargers, irrespective of the brand, into recycling bins placed at any of its Nokia Care Centres or Priority Dealers in these cities. In more than 1,300 such recycling bins spread out across the country, over 3 tonnes of mobile-waste including 10,000 handsets were collected in the first 45 days. Additionally, Nokia has committed to planting a sapling for each handset collected in these recycling bins. Towards this end, it has signed agreements with Ahimsa, Chennai, Rotary Bangalore Midtown, and Art of Living Foundation to plant over 35,000 saplings in the cities of Kancheepuram, Bangalore, Mathura. More than 10,000 saplings have already been planted across Chennai and Bangalore against phones collected in the first phase of the Take-back campaign.
Nokia believes that if each mobile phone user recycled just one unused phone, together we would save nearly 2.40 lakh tonnes of raw materials and if every Nokia user recycled just one unused phone at the end of its life, together we would save nearly 80,000 tonnes of raw materials.
Dabur: Close to Nature
Dabur India is known for its natural, herbal products. Keeping in line with this image, it has implemented plans to not only reduce carbon footprint but also emerge as a Carbon Neutral enterprise in days to come.
To this end, it has introduced initiatives at its various manufacturing facilities across India and Nepal. It has tied up with a Belgian firm to establish a new boiler technology at its manufacturing facility in Pant Nagar (in Uttaranchal). This new project, a first of its kind in India, will use wet herbal waste from the facility as fuel directly in the boiler and incinerate the same to generate steam.
“At Dabur, environment and nature is the lifeline of our business. With a portfolio of Ayurveda and nature-based products, conservation of nature and natural resources is deep rooted in our organizational DNA, and in every aspect of our ever-growing business,” says Sunil Duggal, CEO, Dabur.
At the Katni unit, the company has also substituted furnace oil with petcoke, a byproduct of crude refining, as fuel resulting in considerable energy savings. Similar initiatives are also underway at its other units. At the Nepal unit, Dabur has commissioned a new ‘gassifier’ project to save energy costs in steam generation by using rice husk as fuel. Set up with an investment of close to Rs 150 lakhs, this project involved modification of the existing boiler to permit dual fuel firing (furnace oil and gas) and installation of the “gassifier” unit, piping and storage area for rice husk.
“This initiative was put in place in view of the rising fuel costs and the recent fuel crisis in Nepal. This move has already reduced our furnace oil consumption for steam generation by 50 per cent. We have also invested in elaborate scrubbing and particle separation technology to ensure that exhaust from the boilers do not carry any unburnt particulate matter,” Duggal explains.
At its Sahibabad unit, Dabur is in the process of setting up facilities inside the factory to use herbal waste from the manufacturing process and convert them into bio-briquettes that can be used as fuel in boilers. “Our goal is to ensure that herbal waste is not disposed off in the environment,” he says.
At one of its Baddi plant, Dabur has set up a biogas generator that uses ETP (Effluent Treatment Plant) solid waste to generate methane rich gas, which is used as fuel in the boilers.
Efforts have also been initiated to conserve and maintain the ground water level. The efforts include implementation of rainwater harvesting and water recycling which has delivered encouraging results. In doing so, Dabur has also been able to increase production volumes at a water scarce site.
As a result of all these initiatives, there has been a 13.8 per cent reduction in the Company’s energy bill in the 2008-09 fiscal alone, though there was an 8-9 per cent volume increase in manufacturing, and an average 11.70 per cent increase in cost of key input fuels.