Published On: Tue, Oct 30th, 2012

Global Meet on Environment and CSR with the theme ‘Managing Natural Resources & Wastes for Sustainable Environment’ kicked off today

Where power comes free, particularly in government quarters, people have no concern for conservation of electricity and their electrical bulbs, tube lights continue to be on even during the day time. Even the airports which are designed to get plenty of daylight, lights are put on all through the day and night, which is a gross waste of electricity: Kamleshwar Sharan, President, Greentech Foundation

CSR is business’s contribution to sustainable development. CSR good for long term business success and for wider society: A.K. Hazarika, Director Onshore (Retd.), ONGC Ltd.

A two-day Global Conference on Environment and CSR with the theme: Managing Natural Resources & Wastes for Sustainable Environment kicked off here at Novotel Hyderabad Airport Hotel, Shamshabad today. Mr. A.K. Hazarika, Director Onshore (Retd.), Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. inaugurated the conference and delivered the keynote address.

Today Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goes far beyond the old philanthropy of the past — donating money to good causes at the end of the financial year — and is instead an all year round responsibility that companies accept for the environment around them. I see CSR as the business contribution to sustainable development, said Mr. Hazarika in his address. Adding further he stated that CSR would be good for long term business success as well as good for wider society.

Most experts feel that CSR activities may increase production cost in the short run (through investment in new technologies, R&D and human resources), but is beneficial in the midterm and long term. In fact, a study carried out by Deutsche Bank’s Climate Change Investment Research Group showed that companies with high ratings for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Environment, Social and Governance factors (ESG) have a lower cost of capital and are a lower risk to investors. Of the studies Deutsche Bank examined, 89 per cent showed that companies with a high rating for ESG factors also exhibit market based outperformance.

Speaking on India’s initiative / policies on CSR and Environment Mr. Hazarika said on the Human Development Index 2011, India ranks at the lower end, at 134th out of 187 countries. More than 30 percent of the Indian population is illiterate and more than 1/3rd of the population lives on less than a dollar and a quarter a day. At the same time, we take pride in the fact that India has made a mark on the scientific world map. India boasts of the world’s third largest educated and technical man power. India is emerging both as an economic powerhouse and a global environmental leader, he said. As India’s economy charges ahead, the country needs to produce more energy to provide a better life for its people, many of whom live in rural areas and are very poor. At the same time, India has recognized that tackling climate change is in its own national interest. The nation is taking concrete measures to contain its own emissions and to protect its people from climatic disruptions. It is a progressive country and inclusive growth is at the centre of India’s national agenda.

At the inauguration, the organizers solicited individual efforts of participants for environment. Participants shared many innovative initiatives; some of them include insulation of rooftops, walls for power conservation, etc. Mr. K.C. Das of Tata Steels Ltd. said that he doesn’t use AC in winter at all and his AC does not go below 25 degrees in summer thus saving energy. Mr. Utsav, another participant said he installed reflectors to direct the sunlight so that there is zero consumption of electricity. Another participant shared that he uses solar cookers for the past 16 years thereby reducing LPG consumption and added that one cylinder of LPG lasts his family of four for three-and-a-half months! His bi-monthly electricity bill doesn’t go beyond Rs.1200, he informed. Several people shared ideas and efforts that they have taken up in their individual capacity for environment protection.

Mr. Kamaleshwar Sharan, President, Greentech Foundation, the organizers of the Conference in his welcome address said that the conference aims to deliver informational and perspective emphasis on Environment Management and CSR. The combination of Keynotes and Sessions of the conference will provide guidance based on Best Practices and Experiences of developing and implementing best strategies.

Speaking further Mr. Sharan added that all the constituents of our environment are dependent upon each other. Thus, they maintain a balance in nature. As we are the only organisms who try to modify the environment to fulfill our needs; it is our responsibility to take necessary steps to control the environmental imbalances.

The environmental imbalance gives rise to various environmental problems. Some of the environmental problems are pollution, soil erosion leading to floods, salt deserts and sea recedes, desertification, landslides, change of river directions, extinction of species, and vulnerable ecosystem in place of more complex and stable ecosystems, depletion of natural resources, waste accumulation, deforestation, thinning of ozone layer and global warming.

Speaking about energy conservation Mr. Sharan said mostly people living in Government quarters and Residential townships where electricity is subsidized or is provided free, have no concern for conservation of electricity and their electrical lights, tube lights etc are switched on always 24 hours even during the day time. Even on several stretches of roads the street lights are never switched off.  This must be changed, he said

Even the latest airports in India like Terminal 3 in New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai  and Hyderabad airport whose they are designed to get plenty of daylight, they still use lights and they continue to be on all through the day and night.  Which is a gross waste of energy, Mr. Sharan said.

Some of the topics of sessions and panel discussions at the global conference include Treatment and Minimization of Waste Water; Managing Natural Resources for Sustainable Environment in Oil Industry; Challenges in Waste Management; Non-Recovery Process of Coke Making – An Environment Friendly Approach; Pollution Prevention & Control in Petroleum Refinery; Recycle & Reuse Technologies of Waste Water; Challenges in CSR Implementation;  A Holistic Approach to Self Sustainable CSR in Projects; etc. and others.

Speakers and Panelists such as Dipak Chakravarty, Managing Director, Numaligarh Refinery Ltd.; Anil Johari, Executive Director, ONGC Ltd. – Ahmedabad Asset; Mr. Niranjan Khatri, General Manager, ITC Hotels; Shanti Lata Sahu, Director – Personnel, Northern Coalfields Ltd., M.K. Padia, Executive Director, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. – Mathura Refinery; Shailesh Verma, General Manager, Tata Steel Ltd. – Hooghly Met Coke Division; T.S. Ramachandran, Director – Technical, Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd.; Nishith Daya, Managing Director, Bhander Power Ltd.; P.K. Hota, Vice President, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd.; R.C. Narayana, Sr. VP & Site Head, Lanco Babandh Power Ltd.; Nishant Kumar Gupta, DGM, Hindalco Industries Ltd.; Alkesh Ramchandra Takpere, Chief Manager, Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers Ltd.; R.C. Sodani, Director & CEO, JSW Cement Ltd., and others will participate in the two-day conference.

About 400 delegates from companies and organizations such as ONGC, ITC Hotels, Northern Coal Fields, Mathura Refinery, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, Tata Steel ltd, Chennai Petroloeum Coporation Ltd, Nhander Power Ltd, Hindalco, etc, participated in the conference. Awards for Environment Excellence and CSR will also presented to companies and organizations with best management practices during the conference.

Greentech Foundation is a New Delhi based not for profit organisation established to promote education, training, research and dissemination of knowledge, advancing the scientific, technical and practical aspects of waste management and climate change to protect environment and safety at workplace.

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Global Meet on Environment and CSR with the theme ‘Managing Natural Resources & Wastes for Sustainable Environment’ kicked off today