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Path-breaking Innovations and Holistic Sustainable Growth Approach - The Godrej & Boyce Story

Updated: Jul 9, 2021

"For improving energy efficiency and carbon footprint mitigation we are committed to key global initiatives, like renewable energy enhancement, global alliance for energy productivity, and the science-based target initiative. Moving forward to the next level, we have now declared our commitment to the EP 100 initiative. We are also committed to doubling our energy productivity by 2030." - Tejashree Joshi, AGM & Head – Environment & Sustainability, Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd.

In the panel interview for Sustainable Circular Economy Series – Doing Well by Doing Good conducted by ProMFG in collaboration with BiofuelCircle, Tejashree Joshi, shared her insights and best practices that have been implemented within the company to create an ecosystem of sustainability and circular economy.

Question: Please walk us through the steps that Godrej & Boyce has taken towards sustainability.

Godrej & Boyce is one of India's oldest business enterprises 124 years old with many diverse businesses like manufacturing of safety locks, defense, and aerospace equipment, construction, consumer appliances, furniture, FMCG, etc. The kinds of businesses we have are very diverse and there are multiple product lines in each business. However, since its inception, Godrej & Boyce is known for its commitment to the environment, society, and well-being of people. The principles of sustainability are embedded in Godrej & Boyce's core values and are demonstrated through various initiatives and innovations in the designs and production facilities that we have done over the years. So the company preemptively embarked on the proactive sustainability of the green journey decades ago. But a very systematic approach to sustainability was taken in 2010 under the Good & Green strategic initiative on sustainability, where we adopted an approach to greening our processes, products and being associated with the Sustainable Development Goals. So over that decade, we have crossed many encouraging milestones like being the first company to introduce CSE HFC and HC-free refrigerators in the market. We are the first company in the world to produce air conditioners that have Zero ODP Potential and Minimal Global Warming Potential Refrigerants.

GNB or Godrej & Boyce has pioneered and introduced the concept of green buildings by partnering with CII and USA to build the first Platinum rated Green Building in India under the USGBC LEED Certification and named CII Sorabjee Godrej Green Business Center in Hyderabad, which houses the headquarters of Indian Green Building Council. Godrej was instrumental in leading the Green Core Ratings by the CII Sorabjee Godrej Green Business Center. 11 of its manufacturing units are Green Core Rated, where, 2 of them are Platinum and Platinum Plus rated. And on the environmental indicators under the Good & Green, we have achieved our set targets for the decade that is reducing our specific energy and water consumption by over 50%. We have been a Water Positive Manufacturing Organization since 2016. We have nearly doubled our energy productivity, achieved more than 99% diversion of non-hazardous waste away from landfills by effectively putting in place systems for reuse, recovery, recycling, and a 50% reduction in our specific hazardous waste generation. Importantly, we have been able to reduce the footprint of the generation of hazardous waste and disposal to less than 1% of our total waste footprint. About 15% of our energy portfolio comes from onsite renewable and achieved a 45% reduction in carbon intensity as well as offsetting around 50% of our carbon footprint for both Scope 1 and 2.

Apart from working on the green facilities and processes, we have been parallelly working on the greening of our products, wherein about 30% of our revenues coming from Good & Green products, which are better in terms of Social Portions as well as Environmental Portion if we consider a baseline case. Thus, we have been able to mainstream sustainability with business. At Godrej & Boyce, all our businesses undertake the lifecycle assessment approach for the major products, during the design and the planning stages for institutionalizing environment-friendly and sustainable products, right at the concept stage. A few about beyond fence, what we have been able to do is we have been able to offset 40% of our e-waste generated because of the sale of products, over the last 3 years and 100% offsetting of the plastics that we put In the market due to our product sale, or I would say we are plastic neutral in terms of what has been put in the market under the extended producer responsibility. So, just to scale up on our activities further on this, especially for improving energy efficiency, carbon mitigation we have, we are committed to key global initiatives, like the Renewable Energy Demand Enhancement, Global Alliance for Energy Productivity and the Science-Based Target Initiative. Moving forward to the next level, we have now declared our commitment to the EP 100 Initiative. We are committed to doubling our productivity by 2030.

The business ambition pledge for 1.5 degrees centigrade, where we are aligned with the science-based targets initiative of one and a half degrees. And we are also committed to Net Zero Buildings by 2050. GNB has partnered with World Green Building Council to promote the Net Zero Buildings in the Asia Pacific region. And this was followed by the setting up of India's first Net Zero Building under the IFGC rating in the Godrej & Boyce campus in Mumbai. So, therefore, a holistic approach we have taken on every indicator of sustainability. Also, we have been conserving vast tracts of mangroves in Vikhroli, Mumbai, which is almost 75% of our total landholding. And this is acting as one of the most important green lungs of the city and also giving a lot of ecosystem services like sequestering carbon and cleaning up the air.

Question: Would you like to throw some light on the Energy-Mix undertaken at Godrej & Boyce?

Similar to other manufacturing, we have a mix of thermal and electricity or electrical energy, where 60% of our energy is coming from the electrical side and around 40% from the thermal. Not considering the 15% renewable energy share, and of the renewable energy around 50% is from biomass-based energy, and the other 50% coming from solar, primarily through rooftop as well as solar PV. But again, the same challenge about you know, non-uniformity of policies between states, and which keeps on changing every now and then we have had, we have seen difficulty in moving ahead in pushing the envelope on increasing the percentage of PP is that we do. However, what we do is actually, every new facility that we are designing, we are taking considering the concept of net-zero for all the three indicators of energy, water, and waste in terms of how do we do it maximize the utilization of the potential of the site, as well as what do we do beyond the fence to keep this at neutral. Another option that we have recently come across is the utility companies actually offering 100% renewable energy as part of the electrical energy that we are consuming. So we started looking at that for our buildings. Although there is an incremental cost to the electricity that will be paid, that will push you more towards driving the energy efficiency projects, where the paybacks could be much faster because of the higher push and incremental cost that you're paying for the renewable energy. However, the commitment stays in terms of going 100%, renewable, and net-zero by 2050. And therefore, we have started experimenting or using this - one, design for minimum energy consumption for us and two is using the maximum potential of your own site or project. We have done a lot of substitution of our process, chemicals, etc, which now operate, which are now used at room temperature or ambient temperature, rather than needing to heat that up for the processes. So that's basically bringing down your energy consumption, at the design stage.

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