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Monday, 5 January, 2009, TOI

With every new year, come a set of resolutions that we all hope to keep. This year, TOI drew up a 1ist of nine green resolutions that we hope companies keep up to make the planet a better place to live in.

Move towards low carbon future

1. With the issue of climate change, business should move towards lower carbon emissions. And emissions from all kinds of operations and not just manufacturing

units,” says Abhishek Pratap, toxics campaigner of Greenpeace. Account for indirect emissions like purchased electricity, in-bound and out-bound logistics. Identify carbon intensive processes and establish potential greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction through intervention — either technology or process change. Establish your carbon footprint and develop inventory of GHG emissions by establishing organizational and operational boundaries.

Build business case for environment

2. Institutionalize green governance and build environmental improvement as part of the business strategy to remain focused, “Initiate accounting of environmental impact, positive and negative, and build it within the management information system to make it a part of your balance sheet,” says Arvind Sharma, associate director of KPMG. As part of mainstreaming environment, set targets such as zero waste, water neutral if not positive and optimal use of natural resources specific to your business and not only the ones that have global attention.

Accounting may help in establishing the costs and benefits of implementation of clean/green technologies and hence establish the business case,

Recycle all scrap high or low value

3. Most companies focus on recycling of high value scrap like shredded paper, carton boxes and newspapers that are picked up by scrap dealers. However companies need to now focus on recycling low value scrap which they will have to pay transport and labour cost for recycling which includes thermacol, compact fluorescent lamps, paper and plastic packaging including paper cups. ‘Texas Instruments incurred an expenditure of Rs. 6,000 to transport and recycle around 200 kg of CFLs which were sent to e-Parisaraa for recycling.” cites Wilma Rodrigues who runs Saahas.

Make your office or unit a green building

4. Green buildings are known for the efficiency with which they use resources energy, water and materials while reducing building impacts on human health and the environment during the building’s lifecycle. Green buildings reduce waste, pollution and environmental degradation. Green buildings use natural materials that are available locally and are known to reduce operating costs by using less energy and water, improved public and occupant health due to improved indoor air quality and reduced environmental impacts. While it would be best to adopt green architecture in the construction stage itself, existing buildings too can go green to a large extent.

Switch to LED (light emitting diode) lights

5. Since LED lighting has superior visual impact, high-efficiency performance and long- lasting attributes, it has successfully replaced conventional lighting technology in several commercial lighting applications with significant savings in energy costs. The LAX Gateway at Los Angeles International Airport has replaced metal halide with an LED system, where they anticipate 75% less energy consumption and demonstrate a dramatic visual change. Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas replaced metal halide with an LED system, cutting annual energy costs from $18,000 to $ 1,900.

Think of alternative pathways

6. It’s time to think out of the box. ‘Companies have to think alternative in terms of raw materials, processes, manufacturing processes, supply chain management, technology and fuel, and accordingly invest in innovation,’ says Sharma. Corporates should develop sustainable communities or achieve efficiencies in energy, waste and water. Focus on localized energy generation, water solutions that reduce or eliminate dependence on state infrastructure and waste management systems that ensure responsible disposal or reuse.

7. Turn waste into wealth

Implement the principle of waste to wealth. Use waste as a resource where wastes of one industry become raw material/fuel to others. Businesses should establish partnerships where synergies can be explored — like waste from sugar industry can be used for generating power and power plant waste is used as additive in cement. While cement industry becomes incinerator to hazardous/calorific waste.

Manage your e-waste

8. Companies should take responsibility of the whole lifecycle of their products—not only the designing, production, marketing, user phase, but also the end-of-the life phase. “Companies should come out with solutions where end user can also benefit while handling e-waste,” says Saumya Tripathy of Greenpeace. In India, more than 3 lakh tonnes of e-waste is generated per year. By 2012, it’s estimated to grow to 16 lakh tonnes.

Colour your data centres green

9. Data centres are the heart of any organization, housing servers, storage devices and the telecom and networking equipment. IBM estimates that server demand grew by 6 times and storage demand grew by 69 times this decade. Virtualization enables companies to increase server utilization by 80% reducing space and power requirements. Studies show that green technologies can help reduce hardware costs by 33-70%, maintenance costs by 50% and floor space and facility costs by 33-50%. British Telecom is reported to have seen 60% reduction of emissions for the adoption of these green technologies and hope to reach 80% reduction.


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