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Going green in India

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India is a land of surprising contrasts. It represents just 2.4% of the world’s land mass, yet supports 16% of its population. Its environment is polluted due to the pressures of overpopulation, yet its leaders are deeply committed to combating climate change.

In 2014, India became the first country in the world to mandate corporate social responsibility with the introduction of a law that requires major companies to donate 2% of profits to sustainable development.

Givaudan’s manufacturing sites in Jigani and Daman are shining examples of the green culture that is taking root in India. In the past two years both have been recipients of Green Team Awards, a corporate programme designed to recognise volunteer sustainability initiatives around the world. The Executive Committee of Givaudan selects winners in each of three award categories – commercial, manufacturing and eco-efficiency – based on a range of criteria including effectiveness, efficiency, involvement, innovation, challenging circumstances and broader application. 

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Harvesting rain water in Jigani

Water scarcity is a huge problem in India. The Fragrances site at Jigani near Bangalore formerly met its requirements by purchasing water sourced from a bore well on a neighbouring site and delivered by tanker truck – a solution that was both expensive and unreliable due to an erratic supply.

“We knew that purchasing water from road tankers was not a sustainable solution in the long run. We also knew about the concept of rainwater harvesting in India,” says Karthikeyan, Operations Director Fragrances at Givaudan’s Jigani site. “We were aware of the good works carried out by Ayyappa Masagi, popularly known as the ‘Water Warrior’ in this part of the country, and agreed to partner with him to become water independent.”

> Rainwater concepts in India (Ayyappa Masagi)

In 2010, the Jigani site began using existing dry bore wells to harvest rainwater, becoming self-sufficient in terms of water. Then, in 2012, the team took the project one step further, taking advantage of a low-lying position to collect rainwater from higher contours on neighbouring sites, and in the process also aiding the community in its water resourcing. For this initiative, the site was awarded second prize in the eco-efficiency category in the 2014 Green Team Awards. Efforts continue to lower groundwater consumption. Data for 2015 show that the site now collects 11,000 m3 of rain water per annum, consumes 7,000 m3 and returns the remaining 4,000 m3 to the local community. 

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Optimising existing processes in Daman

The Flavours site in Daman won second prize in the eco-efficiency category for 2015 with its initiative entitled ‘Responsible care towards natural resources’.

Operations Director Swaminathan explains: “Ours is a water-thirsty region where electricity generation is from coal. Sustainable growth can only be achieved by optimising and reducing our two most essential resources: energy and water.”

The team members set their sights on a target reduction of 5% per tonne of production by the end of 2015. With few resources available, they knew this would depend on optimising existing processes. An analysis of data showed two areas for improvement.

“The first was awareness of environmentally responsible behaviour. We conducted a series of training programmes to raise awareness of water and energy savings across our workforce, which includes a high percentage of contractual labour. The second area was engineering, and there we were able to optimise our resources considerably by identifying and stopping all leakages and adding flow control.”

The results were even better than anticipated: a 28% reduction in water and a 9% cut in energy consumption per tonne of production over 2014.

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Putting ingenuity to work

India’s winning Green Teams are just two examples of how Givaudan employees around the world are voluntarily putting their ingenuity to work. A total of 24 entries were submitted for the 2015 award programme, now in its sixth year, and the judges were impressed by the creativity and out-of-the-box thinking behind many initiatives. The winning entry in the eco-efficiency category was Naarden in the Netherlands, a site that now reuses treated effluent water to lessen the impact on natural resources.

“Over the years our Green Teams have reached significant achievements and there is real value in transferring the ideas behind their work to other sites,” said Joe Fabbri, Head of Global EHS and Sustainability. “We are inspired by their passion and commitment to improve our performance and make a sustainable difference.”