World Environment Day 2024: How Firms Are Going Green

Prolonged heatwaves and record rainfall serve as stark reminders that global climate change is not a future threat but a present reality. As environmental degradation persists, World Environment Day prompts us to examine the efforts of various companies aiming to reduce carbon emissions and enhance sustainability.

Transitioning to Solar Energy

In a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, McDonald’s India-North and East has made significant strides by transitioning 24% of its restaurants in Delhi to renewable (solar) energy as of last year (2023). This initiative has led to an annual reduction of 3,822 tonnes of CO2 emissions, equivalent to planting 160,000 trees. The company’s solar plant boasts a capacity of 3.2 MW and an annual output of 4.2 million power units.

“Sustainability is central to McDonald’s in fostering robust and resilient food systems. Whether it is using sustainably sourced ingredients for our products and packaging material or reducing carbon footprint using renewable energy at our restaurants,” stated Rajeev Ranjan, Managing Director, McDonald’s India – North and East.

Focus on Green Buildings in the Hotel Industry

The booming travel and tourism industry has a significant environmental impact due to the increasing number of hotels and restaurants. To mitigate this, ITC Hotels is transforming many of its properties into green buildings.

“ITC Hotels currently has 23 LEED Platinum hotels and are also the first 12 hotels in the world to receive LEED Zero Carbon Certification and the first 4 hotels in the world to be LEED Zero Water Certified,” said HC Vinayaka, Vice President – Technical, EHS and Sustainability, ITC Hotels. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a widely recognized green building rating system.

Many hotel operators are also focusing on sustainability by eliminating plastic use and optimizing water and other resources. Rahul Uppal, Director at Echor Hotels Pvt. Ltd, highlighted a sustainable initiative at their property in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh: “The cottages are constructed entirely from mud, with no cement or concrete used, and even our toothbrushes are made from bamboo sticks.”

Plans to Cut Carbon Emissions

Ankur Aggarwal, Managing Director of Crystal Crop Protection Limited, shared the company’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2027. “We are transitioning from coal to biomass products like briquets for our energy needs, recycling water and plastic. Our GreenAg initiative focuses on nutrition and soil management to enhance crop production with integrated pest management and natural nutrition,” he explained.

Electric vehicles (EVs) are also seen as a significant step toward sustainability due to their low carbon footprint during operation. Several logistics firms are striving to transition to EVs to reduce environmental pollution. CJ Darcl Logistics is currently running a pilot project to test the operation of EV cargo vehicles and plans a more comprehensive implementation.

“Our innovative electric vehicle intra-city cargo run pilot program is a big step toward a greener future. In addition to the EV initiative, CJ Darcl’s multimodal strength is another key aspect of its sustainability offerings,” said Nikhil Agarwal, President of CJ Darcl Logistics Ltd. Agarwal also emphasized the use of Sustainability-as-a-Service tools in businesses to lower carbon emissions from logistics operations.

As these companies demonstrate, a commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility is not just an ideal but a practical and necessary approach to mitigating the impacts of climate change.

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