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Managing the carbon footprint for a greener future

Anil Makkar, manufacturing director, JK Tyre & Industries, reveals how the company achieved water conservation

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Anil Makkar, Jk Tyre & Industries, Water conservation, Sustainable manufacturing, Clean Development Mechanism

Coining a vision statement at times is quite challenging, it could appear as an arrow in the dark with no path defined.

It takes me back to 2007, when we at JK Tyre’s mother plant were working on a water conservation project, titled “Operation 500” -- to run a plant of 250 tons/day with total water consumption not exceeding 500KL in a day; at a time when we were already utilising over 1000 KL per day. It was a humongous task back then! 

As per the book - ‘Apparent in Hindsight’, on the Theory of Constraints, the past challenges look much simpler when you think about them today with results. The same plant at JK Tyres today operates at 1.2 KL/ton levels without any difficulty. Not only does it contribute towards water conservation, but also gives an added advantage towards saving fuel and power. We are now focusing on achieving Zero Raw Water for process, leaving fresh water only for domestic purposes.

In FY’14, we took our journey to next level by taking a pledge to ‘reduce our carbon footprint by 50% in five years’. By the end of first year, though we had covered some ground, we were nowhere closer to international benchmarks. 

After scanning through almost all the world’s top tyre industry (reports) and comparing our performances in various KPIs, it seemed like an uphill task to accomplish what we had set for ourselves. Though challenging, we made all our internal stakeholders believe in the programme and urged them to extend support for our future generations. We succeeded by making it a movement across our six manufacturing facilities in India and across the globe.
Analysing further, we understood that comparing with international benchmarks will not lead us anywhere as most of the developed world has already switched to gas as a fuel while India at large stayed as a coal based economy. There is a huge difference in eCO2 factors when comparing coal and gas as heating mediums.

Based on all the factors influencing greenhouse gas emissions, we adopted 10 commandments of natural capital for continuous improvement in eCO2 levels at JK.
1. Reduce specific consumption of energy and water 2-5% every year over next ten years
2. Reduce specific generation of waste and reduce the quantum of waste going to landfills by 2-5% every year over next ten years
3. Reduce specific greenhouse gas emissions and other process emissions by 2-5% every year over next ten years and explore opportunities through Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) & other carbon exchange programmes
4. Increase use of recyclables and enhance recyclables of resources embedded in the product by 2-5% every year over next ten years
5. Increase the share of harvested rainwater in the overall annual use of water by 2-5% every year over next ten years.
6. Incorporate lifecycle assessment criteria for evaluating new and alternative technologies & products
7. Strive to adopt green purchase policy and incorporate latest clean technologies
8. Take lead in promoting and managing product stewardship program, by forging partnership with business and communities
9. Reduce depletion of natural capital, which is directly attributable to our activities, products and services by 2-5% every year
10. Reduce depletion of natural capital, which is directly attributable to company’s activities, products and services by 2-5% every year over next ten years.

We are also committed to demonstrate attainment of these commandments in our pursuit to certifications such as TS16949, ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001, SA-8000, ISO-50001, ISO-27001, green buildings and eco labels sustainability reporting among others.

Another area which we picked up in-line with above was to reduce our daily dependence on thermal power. We started relying more on renewable power. Today, we draw 39% of our electricity usage from renewable sources.

It gives us great satisfaction that within just five years, we were able to reduce our carbon footprint by over 45% from base year. Although, we fell short of our target by 5%, but our achievement is enough to keep us motivated and strive for further advancements in greener and sustainable manufacturing.

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