ITC's Sustainability Approach And Action
If the creative and innovative capacities that businesses employ to create world-class products and brands are leveraged to deliver social initiatives that serve a larger national objective, it can have a transformative impact on society.
It is my firm belief that Businesses possess unique strengths to make a much larger contribution to society. If the creative and innovative capacities that businesses employ to create world-class products and brands are leveraged to deliver social initiatives that serve a larger national objective, it can have a transformative impact on society. Moreover, the physical presence in communities around their business operations gives them a much larger opportunity to directly engage in synergistic activities that can create livelihoods and add to preservation of natural capital. More than financial resources, private enterprises also possess the more crucial managerial capability to ensure efficient delivery of social projects.
Strategic Objectives And Key Priorities
ITC's abiding Vision to create larger societal value for the nation and its stakeholders has powered a multi-pronged strategy to address the larger challenges of widespread social inequities and environmental degradation. The key priorities of this strategic objective is to leverage its enterprise strengths to contribute to the creation of large scale sustainable livelihoods and environmental resources. Towards this, ITC has crafted unique and innovative interventions within the ambit of its operations as well as in partnership with stakeholder communities to deliver superior triple bottom line performance.
Nearly 700 million people living in rural India have a direct and symbiotic dependence on climate sensitive sectors (agriculture, forest, fisheries) and natural resources (water, bio-diversity, mangroves, coastal zones, grasslands) for their subsistence and livelihoods. Limited options of alternative off-farm employment combined with endemic poverty continue to imperil the livelihood security of millions of small and marginal farmers, mainly in the rain-fed agricultural regions.
Building Social And Environmental Capital
Recognising the complexity and scale of these issues, ITC's Integrated Rural Development Programme has been crafted to empower farmers and raise rural incomes, while at the same time enabling a comprehensive development of the rural ecosystem. The celebrated ITC e-Choupal is a case in point. Farmers are provided with critical information and relevant knowledge on farm productivity, prices and markets through the ITC e-Choupal. Customised extension services directly contribute to enhancing farm yields. This platform also enables access to cost-effective quality inputs for better productivity besides expanding the reach to markets. To offset agri-income volatility as well as build capacities for investment, avenues for supplementary non-farm incomes have been created through the Choupal Livestock Development and the Choupal Women Empowerment programmes. The Choupal Watershed Development as well as Social & Farm Forestry Programmes augment natural resources to enable higher productivity, create a green cover and restore soil health. It is indeed heartening that the effectiveness of these programmes has also led to partnerships with several State Governments and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) on such watershed development projects.
Today 38 % of ITC's energy consumption is from renewable sources. All the premium luxury ITC Hotels are LEED® Platinum certified green buildings.
The innovative models designed to deliver these projects have enabled us to achieve significant scales of operation. The ITC e-Choupal has benefitted around 4 million farmers. The Social & Farm Forestry programme has greened over 1,60,000 hectares, generating over 70 million person days of employment. The Watershed development programme has enabled soil and moisture conservation of over 1,48,000 hectares benefiting over 1,27,000 households. The Women's Empowerment Programme has created sustainable livelihood opportunities for nearly 40,000 women, either through micro-enterprises, or assistance with loans to pursue income generating activities. The Livestock Development programme has provided animal husbandry services to over 10,00,000 animals, increasing milk yields substantially.
It is well known that one of the causes for social inequity is the inequity of opportunity, especially due to lack of proper education and training. To address this challenge, ITC has implemented focussed programmes on Primary Education, Skill Development and Vocational Training. The objective is to increase enrolments, minimise drop-outs, provide infrastructural support to Government schools as well as to expand vocational livelihood opportunities. Over 3,30,000 rural children have been benefitted, helping them to build a better future.
We believe that it is vital to significantly enhance the talent pool of youth from disadvantaged communities by equipping them with the necessary skills or qualifications and make them more employable in the formal sectors of the economy. The affirmative action initiatives of the Company have had a direct and tangible impact on the lives of nearly 84,000 beneficiaries belonging to disadvantaged sections of society, spread over 13 states of the country.
Achieving Environmental Excellence
In addition to the large scale social interventions outlined above, ITC's sustainability objectives also encompass initiatives within the ambit of ITC's manufacturing and service operations. ITC continuously strives to improve processes and systems at all its Units to minimise its environmental impact as far as possible, create a work environment that is safe, healthy, productive and fair for its employees and proactively engage with its suppliers and partners to maximise value for all stakeholders. The Company's Units continue to achieve substantial improvements in the consumption of energy and water as well as in effluent management. Specific details are provided in other sections of the Report. Management systems and standards in ITC conform to relevant national and international standards and are integrated into its development programmes as applicable to its individual businesses. As part of its strategy for climate change mitigation and adaptation, ITC has also invested significantly in renewable energy generation. Today, 38 % of its energy consumption is from renewable sources, with a target to reach 50 % over the next 5 years.
ITC has also been a frontrunner in the establishment of green buildings in India. It is a matter of justifiable pride that all the premium luxury ITC Hotels are LEED® Platinum certified. The ITC Green Centre has been re-certified as the highest rated green building in the world. The latest addition to our hotel group – the ITC Grand Chola - a 600-key super-premium luxury hotel complex in Chennai, is the world's largest LEED® Platinum certified green hotel. This property has also secured a 5 Star GRIHA rating, the highest national rating for green buildings in India. The recently commissioned commercial building ITC Green Centre at Manesar has also received the LEED® Platinum certification. In addition it has been awarded the BEE 5 Star rating by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Government of India. The green building movement continues to gain momentum in ITC with several of its factories now being LEED® certified.