Climate change and environment conservation are no longer armchair discussions, but have taken the prime slot in balance sheets of most companies. Most companies are closely monitoring their carbon footprint as a part of their corporate mission. Some responsible companies are taking concrete steps to just not to reduce their emission, but also reduce it to zero. Against this backdrop, His Excellency Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, former President of India, has called on the industry to evolve new energy utilisation norms for different industries and challenge designers to work towards sustainability targets, in the mission to make companies, communities and the country green.
Dr Kalam was speaking at the CII's GreenCo Summit 2013 organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) at Pune. “21st century companies will have unique challenges of maximising the output, human resources and machinery with minimum clean water availability and with minimum clean air and maximum fossil fuel driven electricity. That calls for visionary decisions for solar and wind powered company and generation of water bodies inside the company.”
He concluded by exhorting industry leaders to move towards the vision of a ‘Livable Planet Earth’, as the next common goal for the world as a whole. This means we leave a sustainable world where we have taken less from nature. The brand ambassador of IGBC, Dr Kalam also felicitated green champions representing various companies for their contribution to the green building movement started by IGBC in 2001.
The GreenCo Summit 2013 is an initiative by CII in its mission to promote Indian companies to make their daily operations sustainable beyond having sustainable buildings. The mission has borne first fruit as 9 companies were awarded the GreenCo rating, the first of its kind in the world that recognises sustainable operations. The 9 companies that received the deemed rating are Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL), ITC Limited PSPD Division - Badrachalam, Vasavadatta Cement - Sedam Unit, ACC Ltd. - Thondebhavi Cement Works, Brakes India Ltd., Foundry Division - Sholinghur, JK Tyres & Industries Ltd., Kankroli, HIL – Golan, Thyssenkrupp Electrical Steel India Pvt. Ltd., Nasik and Hindustan Unilever Ltd., Mysore.
Apart from this, special awards in recognition of contribution to the green building mission were also given Godrej Properties, Larsen & Toubro Ltd, Mahindra Lifespace Developers Ltd, K Raheja Corp, TATA Housing Development Co. Ltd, ITC Ltd, Wipro Technologies, TATA Consultancy Services, Infosys Limited, Central Public Works Department (CPWD) and National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited (NBCC).
Jamshyd N Godrej, Chairman, CII-Godrej GBC, pointed to the recent Uttarakhand crisis as the devastating effects climate change can cause on mankind. "We are meeting on the backdrop of the crisis that has shown us how important it is to be green. Recent statistics show that the concentration of carbon dioxide has crossed 400 parts per million, which most scientists consider to be a dangerous level. India is extremely vulnerable to climate change given its vast coastline and mountains.
Unless we are cognizant to the environment, we will not be able to progress,” he said. This challenge is also opening up new business opportunities. Promoting ecologically sustainable business growth models have become an imperative and captains of Indian industry are developing growth strategies to promote sustainable economic development of the country, he added.
Dr Prem C Jain, Chairman, Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) stated that the efforts towards sustainability have already delivered 1.5 billion square feet of green building footprint in India. “We want India to be the greenest country on the planet. Green companies see 40-50% reduction in energy bills, 20-30% reduction in water usage, apart from providing healthy working environment and reducing waste. Indian currently has 360 certified green buildings, with 2100 more waiting to be certified. The green mission has also spread out to residential segment with 4.5 lakh green homes, totalling 680 million square feet already constructed in the country,” he said. This puts India among the top three countries with the largest green building footprint.
Pradeep Bhargava, Immediate Past Chairman, CII (WR) and Chairman, GreenCo Summit 2013, welcomed the chief guest and delivered the theme address. He stated that CII started the GreenCo mission to ensure that development and environment conservation should go hand in hand. "The industry has started to recognise the effect their operations have on the environment. The industry makes more investment than the government, so we can't leave the responsibility of the environment to the government. We as the industry have to logically own up the responsibility of taking care of the environment."
Against this background, CII, through an extensive stakeholder consultation and interactions with experts have developed the Green Company Rating System (GreenCo) to evaluate companies on environmental performance and define the path forward. “This is the first time in the world that a composite index for a green company has been developed. Of 60 companies that applied for the rating, 30 have been processed and nine companies are being awarded. We are looking for GreenCo to mean green company today, green community tomorrow and eventually to mean a green country,” Bhargava added.
To further facilitate the sharing and adoption of green practices by industries across the country, the GreenCo Forum has been created and formally launched by Dr. Kalam at GreenCo Summit 2013. CII’s green mission is also receiving government support as green buildings have started to receive faster environmental clearance, while in Noida IGBC certified buildings get an additional 5% FAR. Kerala government has mandated that all buildings above 2500 square metres need to have IGBC certification.
Rajeev Bhide, Chairman, CII – Pune Zonal Council in his address called on the need to work more closely with all the stakeholders in greening India.
The two-day long GreenCo Summit 2013, being held at Suzlon Excellence Academy, Pune, would focus on sharing of national and international experiences on Green & environmental sustainability initiatives adopted by companies; experiences through GreenCo rating; approach towards Net Zero Impact; driving environmental sustainability in supply chain operations; mechanisms for product stewardship; Green IT & sustainable practices in service sector; development of Green Products through Life Cycle approach