A holistic system that measures and monitors the environmental impact of a company’s operations
By Indira Rao
Green manufacturing is about using green energy, developing green products, and employing green processes while reducing resource use and wastage. These goals align well with the innate desire of companies to improve their competitive advantage, making a compelling business case for going green.
The Indian manufacturers have joined this bandwagon of going green and have started implementing sustainable measures to make their supply chains efficient. While they are doing their bit to minimise waste they do not know where they stand on a national scale, which makes them less competent.
Having noticed this, industry veterans felt there was a need for companies to know how much they have achieved on the green front and how well they are performing compared to their peers.This led to the idea of developing a holistic green company rating system that is common to both manufacturing and services — that is how CII’s Green Co rating system came about.
Pradeep Bhargava, chairman, Environment & Recycling council,CII – Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre (GBC) and director,Cummins India Ltd says, “The GreenCo rating programme is first of its kind in the world and is aimed at fostering world class competitiveness among Indian companies through their sustainability and green initiatives. GreenCo gives one clear measure on the overall green journey of a company and sets a common measure of comparison across the industry sector.”
The programme helps companies drive excellence in resource conservation, bottom-line improvement and goes much beyond compliance. It also provides strategies for long-term competitiveness,besides being an excellent tool for top management to monitor their green performance.
“Focusing on energy efficiency, water conservation, renewable energy, GHG reduction, waste management, material conservation,recycling and recyclables, green supply chain, product stewardship,life cycle assessment and other green parameters (like ventilation,site selection and innovation), GreenCo facilitates companies to define a path for their continuous ecological improvement and achieve a guided phase wise growth,” asserts S Raghupathy, executive director, CII-Godrej GBC.
The programme has five levels of rating – Certified, Bronze, Silver,Gold and Platinum. Companies are able to move up the ladder depending upon their performance on the ecological parameters.A company has to perform and achieve world class status in most of the green parameters to reach the highest rating level.Besides, rating the companies, GreenCo also provides leadership and guidance to businesses on how to implement green strategies.
Talking on the rating parameters, Bhargava avers, “The rating is applicable to individual service facilities/manufacturing locations that are in operation for a minimum period of three years. In case of new plants/facilities, a minimum of two years operational data is required. Almost all the industry segments are covered under the rating right from automobile and engineering, cement to hotels,pulp and paper and IT services.
The rating has been developed after extensive consultation with more than 120 industry experts and champions across different sectors. As of now, companies from 12 different sectors have participated in the rating. The overall rating framework and the assessment programme is the same for manufacturing as well as the services sector. “However, the sectoral needs are carefully addressed in the system by considering only the relevant parameters and also redistributing the weightage given to the parameters of the rating,”adds Raghupathy. For example, in the service sector, areas like product stewardship and life cycle assessment are not considered,while in the cement sector, energy efficiency and GHG emission reduction parameters are given more weightage.
The rating system evaluates green features for companies against performance parameters such as: energy efficiency, water conservation,renewable energy, GHG reduction, waste management, material conservation, recycling and recyclables, green supply chain,product stewardship, life cycle assessment, others (ventilation, site selection and innovation). The rating is applicable to individual service facilities/manufacturing locations which are in operation for a minimum period of three years. In case of new plants/facilities,a minimum of two years operational data is required.In order to usher a green company movement in the country, the GreenCo forum has been launched across different cities. As on April 2014, GreenCo forums have been launched at three cities viz.
Pune, Mumbai and Chennai. Currently, there are more than 120 companies participating in this forum from various sectors. The forum acts as an excellent platform for service, technology providers and investors to showcase the latest available greening opportunities and technologies. The chapters are said to meet every two months.
The forum will focus on topics such as organising industrial missions, constituting core groups to develop GreenCo professional examination, arranging regular interactions with Government departments and developing partnerships with sectoral industry associations. There are also plans of starting an online platform to facilitate networking of the forum members, interested members and experts from the industry. “The outcome is the launch of an online platform “E-GreenCo”, which will help them to share useful information on green businesses and learn from each other. Presently, there are more than 170 members linked through this platform and they receive weekly messages on the best and the next practices of green,” explains Bhargava.
Companies have been quite encouraged with the rating system and have increased their share of renewable energy usage in powering their facilities. They are investing in new renewable energy projects (solar, wind, bio mass based power projects) and in purchasing green power from third parties. “Many GreenCo rated companies are targeting the logistics and delivery aspects of green supply chain management. There is a focused effort in supplier engagement – supplier audits, resource conservation – energy,water, packing material reduction, route optimisation, better capacity utilisation of vehicles, Global Positioning System (GPS) enabled Radio Frequency Interference Devices (RFID) fitted vehicle transportation systems etc.,” affirms Raghupathy.
Unearthing new growth opportunities to gain the much needed competitive edge in environmental sustainability, companies which have gone for GreenCo rating have started re-defining the way their businesses are conducted. “That is true. Companies today are focusing and working towards: attaining world class energy efficiency, achieving water neutrality status, implementing beyond the fence water sustainability initiatives, achieving zero waste to land fill status, attaining carbon neutrality and product stewardship,” ascertains Raghupathy.
There has also been an increase in taking up of Life Cycle Assessment(LCA) tools among companies to improve sustainability. GreenCo advocates that active use of life cycle assessment as life cycle thinking will become table stakes for companies, to those that aspire to lead, over the next two to five years. “LCA is a method of analysing the environmental impact of products and services that considers their full life cycle. By focusing on these areas, companies are able to turn globally competitive and gain attractive economic benefits,” advocates Bhargava.
Among many other success stories is that of Bangalore International airport. It was the first to be awarded with a Green Corating. Acknowledging Bhargava adds, “They achieved the GreenCo-Silver level. They improved their monitoring mechanisms and target settings in several areas by adopting GreenCo rating.There were several new initiatives on energy efficiency, water conservation and waste management which resulted in Rs140 lakhs of savings within a year.”
The GreenCo rating seems to have been well received by the Indian industry and is gaining tremendous momentum. “The response and participation from the Indian industry has been excellent and the rating system is well poised to scale newer heights. Ina short-span of about two years, over 75 companies are engaged with the rating system,” exclaims Raghupathy. Totally there are 39 companies that have registered for the rating and currently there are 19 Green Co rated companies reaping the benefits of their enhanced environmental performance.
Going forward, this year CII expects more than 100 companies to participate in the Green Co rating. More number of such forums are set to be launched all over the country to take the movement to greater heights. “Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad are planned in the current year,” says Bhargava. “We are also working on how individuals and professionals can learn environmental sustainability online. The growing number of green companies in India sprouts a strong need for green credentials. CII – Godrej GBC will soon launch an online examination for certifying green professionals in the country and this, I think will help in capacity building and developing large number of green professionals to meet the growing demand.”