Two Indian companies, Jain Irrigation Systems and Suzlon, were named in a global list of 16 'sustainability champions' in a study conducted by the World Economic Forum in association with the Boston Consulting Group.
Working in close partnership with The Boston Consulting Group, the project explored how emerging market-based companies create innovative and profitable solutions to drive growth while exercising a positive influence on regional and global sustainability.
The report presents the project's key findings from the in-depth research and interviews conducted with experts and chief executive officers of emerging market corporations. It showcases 16 companies designated "New Sustainability Champions" and highlights their unique practices that offer new approaches, not only for doing business in resource-constrained and population-stressed environments but, more importantly, for shaping a positive vision for future growth.
Of Jain Irrigation, the report says, "The company has developed a drip irrigation system designed specifically for smallholder farmers. Tailored to smallholder incomes and farming conditions, it reduces water usage considerably. " Then, recognizing that technology is only part of the answer to water conservation, the company works closely with customers to teach "precision farming", which optimizes the balance between fertilizers, pesticides, water and energy in order to increase output. Farmers learn that using less water can actually increase yields.
To encourage customers to purchase its products, the company helps them apply for government subsidies as well as bank loans. It has also pioneered contract farming, buying produce at a guaranteed floor price. This helps smallholders not only apply for loans, but also plan investments more easily. Farmers are now able to buy higher quality farm inputs, as well as irrigation systems.
Before installing its drip irrigation systems, the company carefully studies soil, climatic and water conditions, as well as the potential for improved water use and crop productivity. It measures and monitors all use of materials, water and energy, as well as the generation of emissions, effluents and waste. This exacting monitoring measure improves sustainability while increasing transparency and facilitation the setting of environmental goals by the company. "We are incorporating sustainability into the entire ecosystem of water security, the farming community and the rural economy," said (Executive Officer Anil Bhavarlal) Jain.
Given the high percentage of smallholders in India, the company's impact is far-reaching. "Because we are helping the farmer change the way he does agriculture, he is using less energy and less water, and he makes the soil better and uses less fertilizer," explained Jain.
In naming Suzlon as one of the 16 companies, the report says, "Externally, Suzlon sees a huge challenge in getting the right policies in place to foster the development of renewable power, particularly in the United States." To address this, the company uses its knowledge and experience to inform and educate citizens and policy-makers. Internationally, Suzlon helps shape the debate on sustainability and renewable power through organizations such as the European Union, the World Economic Forum and the United Nations, as well as by talking to the media.
By distributing power generation, increasing affordability and reducing associated emissions Suzlon directly benefits its society and customers, many of whom were previously unable to access the national grid or had unstable access to power.
This also means that Suzlon can make electricity affordable to previously excluded communities. "We are helping - directly and indirectly - to build a sustainable India," said Tanti.
Suzlon invests in research and development to find new solutions to local power scarcities. One project led to a prototype for a windmill that, in addition to producing electricity, taps into the humidity in the air to produce water for drinking and agricultural use.
The entire report can be accessed here.
Updated Date: Dec 20, 2014 04:24:05 IST