XYZ Limited is India’s foremost manufacturer of cement. Formerly called The Associated Cement Companies Limited,XYZ’s corporate office is located in Mumbai. Its operations are spread throughout the country with 15 modern cement factories having a total installed capacity of 26.17 million tonnes of cement per annum, 20 sales offices and a countrywide distribution network of over 9,000 dealers. Established in 1936 as a merger of ten cement companies, XYZ is today closely associated with the Holcim Group of Switzerland. Since inception, the company has a unique track-record of innovative research and product development. Today XYZ is a benchmark for the cement industry in terms of production capacities, customer driven market focus, human resource management, and modern operational processes.The brand name XYZis synonymous with cement and enjoys a high level of equity in the Indian market. In the 75 years of its existence, XYZ has been a pioneer and a trend-setter responsible for many breakthroughs in the manufacture of cement and concrete.Among the first companies in India to include commitment to environment protection as a corporate objective, XYZ inducted the use of pollution control equipment as early as 1966. XYZ plants, mines and townships visibly demonstrate successful endeavours in quarry rehabilitation, water management techniques and ‘greening’ activities. XYZ has achieved spectacular results in the utilization of slag from steel plants and fly ash from thermal power stations to make blended cements. Today XYZ also offers total solutions for waste management such as co-processing.
XYZ is an environmental innovation to amalgamate general masses across classes, age groups and backgrounds in the ﬁght for the protection of the environment and biodiversity. With this aim, Green Soldiers was conceptualized in January 2010. We began by tracking the top-most threats and worked out a way to combat the immediate problems of plastic pollution, proliﬁc weeds and forest fires. ‘Plastic pollution is a worldwide menace and government authorities everywhere are constantly searching for an effectiveway to deal with this peril. Hence the chapter- ”Plastic-Free Villages” was initiated.
We have captured the essence of effective waste management through segregation at source. We started with making the colony plastic free, and with the success achieved at the colony level, we have extended this initiative to the nearby villages and municipalities. Each household is given a damaged cement bag for storing segregated plastic waste which is collected once every week. Coordinators have been appointed everywhere for strengthening our communication channel with each individual. The collected waste is disposed in our kiln. We have collected and destroyed more than 50,000 kg of plastic waste till August 2010. Thus we have been able to successfully convert every waste generator into a waste manager. We have also explored the feasibility of converting pine needles and lantana weeds into bio—coal as a sustainable source of alternate fuel. The process is under application for patent. This chapter has been titled as ”Project Black Gold”.Lantana is essentially an unwanted weed that grows wild. Scientists term it as ‘green fire’, owing to its destructive nature. it has an adverse impact on the growth of local natural vegetation hence a threat to the local biodiversity. Chir Pine thrives in the cool climes of Himachal. Due to its high resin content, the dried leaves, known as pine needes, are a huge fire hazard and are a ca use of major forest fires each year leading to loss of large tracts of precious forest lands and various animals as well. Forest authorities in the State as well as other industries have made many unsuccessful attempts to make pine needles an economically viable source of fuel. The bio-coal is cost effective owing to less bulk density leading to relief from high transportation charges and is a direct substitute for coal. Hence bio-coal is a direct solution to the problem of weeds and forest ﬁres, and more essentially, to the conservation of our natural resources like coal.
A summary of beneﬁts through Green Soldiers:
-Helping Himachal achieve a ‘Clean and Green’ status
-Exploiting the most environmentally sustainable waste disposal method for disposal of plastic through co-processing
-Conservation of natural resources like coal
-Preservation of biodiversity and environment through weed control and avoidance of forest ﬁres
-Prevention of excessive emissions of CO2, hence help intombating global warming
-Sustainable source of income for the local community through collection/conversion of lantana and pine needle
-Revenue generation for the industry through savings from replacement of coal
-Last but not least — Care for Mother Earth
MAPPING THE CONSTRAINT
1.1 We have an effective feedback system from top to bottom and vice-versa in the managerial hierarchy as well as with each and every individual residing in the colony and villages. This helps us to identify the minutest of problems and take steps to solve it either by way of creating a new practice or improving an existing one. The impact of the problem is studied and the effects of the solution are gauged beforehand to help enhance our efficiency and commitment to our vision -— ‘To be one of the most respected companies in India; recognized for challenging conventions and delivering on our promises.’
1.2 XYZwas among the first companies in India to include commitment to environment protection as a corporate objective. Gaga! Cement Works is located in an ecologically rich belt in Himachal Pradesh and Green Soldiers is a great managerial initiative towards safeguarding the beauty of our environment. It confirms in every way to XYZ’s commitment towards Sustainable Development with regard to the triple bottom approach:
-People :The chapters under Green Soldiers generate revenue for the local masses and are a sustainable source of alternate livelihood
-Planet: With the Motto — “Fight for Environment and Biodiversity”, all chapters are focused on conservation and preservation of the environment and biodiversity.
-Profit: There is an addition of value to our core cement business. Such projects also generate goodwill for the company which is important for XYZ’s brand image as a ‘Good corporate citizen’.The initiative can be replicated across other industries and companies countrywide, as well as at a global level. The beauty of the initiative is that, keeping the ideas intact, the chapters can easily be moulded to suit the climate,topography and biodiversity of any area across the world.Our short term and long term goals are related to its Mission, Vision, Values, Key Success Factors, Stake Holders,and Strategic Challenges. We carry out the benchmarking process at corporate levels with the other competitorsbearing their performance details, production, market share and projects which will be used in our strategy,planning process. To address the organization’s ability to execute the strategic plan, leaders assign ownership and allocate required resources for every approved action plan. Each action plan and strategy is assigned to one of the senior leaders to provide resources and review the progress of key factors in the strategic plan execution. Any potential midyear changes in response to business climate, market conditions, customers’ requirements, or emergencies are analyzed in the same manner as in the annual Strategic Planning Process.
Chapters that are currently running under the banner of Green Soldiers are separately assessed.
-Chapter 1 — Plastic-free Villages
The plastic waste collected from the colony, the plant premises and surrounding villages is weighed at the weighbridge each week after the collection drive and booked in SAP. Through the SAP, every XYZian across the country can view the collected/co-processed quantities. It is a matter of utter elation when we look at the ﬁgures and know for sure how much plastic we have been to contain from polluting our environs. The drive started with a collection of 50kgs which is has now reached 50,000 kgs. This is a clear indication that the stakeholders are increasingly becoming more aware about segregation and more concerned about their environment. Also, one ton of plastic has the capacity to replace more than 2 tons of coal.
-Chapter 2 — Project Black Gold
A measured quantity of pine needles and Iantana weeds were separately converted. Trials with both varieties of material were successful and are yielding great benefits, both tangible and intangible for the organization and the village communities. A formal benchmarking exercise needs to be carried out. All plants of XYZ are currently aware of the XYZ initiative and are seeking our support in order that it may be replicated in their areas. A cross-industry benchmarking exercise is also to be conducted. This exercise will prove to be very crucial in order to understand and identify gaps and arenas for improvements. However, with regard to Project Black Gold it may be added that our State government as well as other industries have made numerous attempts in order to utilize pine needles in some way which would aid in curtailing forest fires and also be a profitable alternate fuel. However these attempts have been so-far unsuccessful, even with regard to prior trials conducted at XYZ, since it never proved to be economically beneficial. Ambuja Cements had begun procurement of pine needles from Hamirpur for use at their plant in Ropar. This proved to be an extremely expensive proposition and the use of pine needles was discontinued. The bio- coal produced from pine needles will cut transportation cost by a huge margin owing to their low bulk density and ease of feeding into the kiln system.
MEASURING POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE GAPS
An exercise to recognize and verify positive gaps is being planned. Negative gaps are yet to be identiﬁed on a documental and official basis. However, as with all best practices, there is always scope for improvement that will be highlighted as and when we progress at an increasingly greater pace. A quantification exercise needs to be carried out in order to acknowledge both positive as well as negative gaps with respect to the practice rating.
BRIDGING NEGATIVE GAPS
We are continuously researching through various media on how to better our endeavor of Green Soldiers and thechapters encompassed under this banner. Routine challenges of manpower and vehicle availability for the plastic collection drive have been addressed and are actively being tackled. With regard to the project on bio-coal, the gap in availability of the material and its collection is being worked upon along with the issue on mobilization of the locals for the conversion of collected pine needles/ Iantana to bio-coal. Synthesis of learnings from our ’drawbacks/missteps/ and challenges’ is a culture in itself in XYZ. The step by step on- goings are duly documented and regularly assessed for improvement. The procedures are constantly discussed upon for improvements. Through tools such as the why-why analysis and the fishbone analysis we find solutions to the problems faced that are fitted into the standard operating procedure. Mutually agreed suggestions resulting from the brainstorming sessions towards enhancements are duly implemented on a trial basis and on their success are incorporated into the Standard Operating Procedure for their sustenance as a best practice.
PROPELLING POSITIVE GAPS
An ideation exercise is a regular feature with the Green Soldiers. Regular meetings are conducted with be team members and the President. This proves to be extremely helpful in bringing up new ideas and solving existing challenges. The most significant creativity tool that is used is brainstorming. This is a wonderful way to showcase the creative potential of every member on the team. Often the most successful ideas are those that are initially termed as ’crazy’! But this most definitely results in bringing out an innovation that can be taken up as a best practice. The crop of ideas emerging from the brainstorming sessions are routinely harvested and chosen on the basis of the impact on the Triple Bottom Line that ultimately aims at sustainable development. lmplementability of an idea along with its positive effect on the environment, biodiversity, welfare of the local community and the addition of value to our core business are key factors while considering the proposal.
We started by making the bio-coal as well as conducting the plastic drive at a local level. However, as per plan, we have progressively taken the collection drive to cover surrounding villages and are training the villagers across the State of Himachal to help in the procurement of the bio-coal. Our other chapters focus on rain water harvesting, paper recycling, solar power, afforestation etc.
REALIZING THE BENEFITS
-Calorific value of upto 7000 kcal/kg for bio-coal ensures replacement of non-renewable energy sources like coal
-With a replacement ratio of 1.5 vis a vis coal for lantana coal and that of 1.75 for pine coal, a total of upto 30,000 tons of coal can be saved annually during cement manufacture
-One ton of plastic has the capacity to replace more than 2 Tons of coal
-Annual savings are projected to the tune of Rs. 5.81 Crores from the use of bio-coal
-CDM benefits are under evaluation
-Preservation of the natural beauty of the environment by avoidance of accumulation of plastic. This is in line with the efforts of the Himachal Government to help keep Himachal ‘Clean and Green’.
-Plastic chokes drains, resulting in breeding of mosquitoes leading to various diseases. This situation is avoided by disposing the plastic in the kiln, thus beneﬁting the health of the local population.
-Preservation of biodiversity and environment through weed control and avoidance of forest ﬁres, hence ensuring the health of the ecosystem and the welfare of life and property of the village communities
-We are exploiting the most environmentally sound waste disposal method for the disposal of plastic through co-
processing in our cement kiln, utilizing the 3 T’s — High temperature, High turbulence and high residence time of
the material. This ensures complete destruction of the waste.
-Conservation of non-renewable natural resources such as coal on a large scale
-Generation of additional source of income for local community through their involvement in collection and conversion of botanical material to coal
-Prevention of excessive emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, though curtailing of forest fires via , collection of pine needles from the forest floor. This would aid in the world-wide combat against global warming.