Celebrating World Environment Day 2024: Championing Sustainability and Environmental Stewardship – News18

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New Delhi, India
These initiatives by various brands reflect a strong commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship, driving positive change and fostering a greener future for generations to come.
As the world unites to celebrate World Environment Day 2024, numerous brands and organizations are stepping up with significant initiatives aimed at land restoration, combating desertification, and enhancing drought resilience. As the world grapples with the pressing issues of climate change and environmental degradation, leaders across various industries are stepping up to drive significant positive change. Through innovative approaches and dedicated efforts, these organizations demonstrate a commitment to environmental sustainability, aiming to secure a resilient future for generations to come. Here’s a roundup of notable efforts from diverse sectors:
Dikshu Kukreja, a renowned urban planner and architect in India, emphasizes the critical need for prioritizing land restoration and combating desertification. His approach involves integrating sustainable initiatives such as efficient irrigation systems, water recycling and conservation, innovative soil regeneration techniques, and reforesting degraded lands. Kukreja’s projects, like Biswa Bangla Biswabidyalay in West Bengal and Pathways School in Gurugram, serve as exemplary models of how sustainable practices can be effectively employed. His work underscores the importance of corporate efforts in driving environmental sustainability and enhancing community well-being.
Coca-Cola India: Pioneering Water Security
The Coca-Cola Company’s 2030 Water Security Strategy underscores its commitment to sustainable water management. With over 150 community water conservation projects across India, Coca-Cola India has positively impacted 750 villages and over 10 lakh people. These initiatives have replenished more than 200% of the water used in their operations. Coca-Cola India’s efforts earned them the National Water Award 2022.
PepsiCo India: Regenerative Agriculture and Water Stewardship
PepsiCo India’s Lay’s Biochar Project and Sustainable Water Resource Development and Management (SWRDM) program showcase their commitment to sustainable farming and water conservation.
Aligned with this year’s theme, ‘Land Restoration, Desertification, and Drought Resilience,’ PepsiCo India has been working on many working on many initiatives in sustainable agriculture and water resource stewardship.
Lay’s Biochar Project in Punjab is pivotal to these efforts, offering farmers (through prototypes) an eco-friendly alternative to open field burning. This initiative helps in reducing carbon emissions and enhances soil health, promoting vegetation growth, stabilizing soil, and reducing erosion. Biochar-treated fields increase soil organic carbon, sequestering carbon, mitigating climate change, and improving soil structure.
Ongoing community engagement through workshops and training sessions ensures widespread adoption of sustainable land management techniques. We have supported farmers in transitioning from traditional paddy transplantation to direct seeding of rice (DSR), which has led to a 30% reduction in water consumption. By employing advanced drip irrigation and other efficient techniques, we aim to improve water use efficiency in water-stressed regions by 20% by 2025.
Sustainable Water Resource Development and Management (SWRDM) program focuses on groundwater recharge through geo-hydrological watershed-level approaches, building drought resilience in Punjab, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh. These initiatives underscore our dedication to fostering sustainable practices and inspiring positive change for the planet and people.”
Bisleri: Comprehensive Sustainability Initiatives
“At Bisleri, we are committed to sustainable business,” said K. Ganesh, Director Sustainability & Corporate Affairs. The Bisleri Greener Promise campaign includes plastic management, recycling, and water conservation, aiming to create a sustainable future.
ITC Maurya: Pioneering Responsible Luxury
“ITC Maurya’s achievement of LEED Zero Water certification is groundbreaking,” said Amaan R Kidwai, Area Manager Luxury Hotels (North). The hotel integrates world-class luxury with sustainable practices, including water recycling and rainwater harvesting.
L’Oréal India: Green Pathways Initiative
L’Oréal India’s Green Pathways project in Yavatmal, Maharashtra, has restored over 2,500 hectares of degraded land, benefiting 1800 farmer families. “We have increased the region’s water storage capacity by over 150 million liters,” said a L’Oréal India spokesperson, emphasizing the project’s role in boosting farmers’ incomes and empowering women.
Westlife Foodworld
Smita Jatia, vice chairperson, Westlife Foodworld, said, “We are committed to a lower carbon footprint, achieved through increased recycling and reuse of materials, use of renewable energy, and reduced consumption. We recognise the critical role that businesses must play in addressing climate change and we are proud to walk the talk. With each step, we are becoming stronger in our fight against climate change. We look forward to continuing our efforts towards a greener future and to serving our customers with delicious and sustainable food.”
Mondelez India: Cocoa Agroforestry Program
Mondelez India’s ‘Shubh Aarambh’ program supports sustainable agriculture in states like Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh. “We are converting defunct wells into injection wells to effectively replenish underground water tables,” said Ophira Bhatia, Senior Director, India & Lead, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, Corporate & Government Affairs. This has shown promising results, especially in Andhra Pradesh’s Pedavegi area.
Colorbar Cosmetics Comes with a Clean Beauty Promise
Colorbar Cosmetics distinguishes itself as a trailblazer in India’s beauty industry by introducing the concept of refillable lipsticks. Their ‘Take Me As I Am’ range allows customers to easily replace the lipstick bullet, significantly reducing environmental impact by saving the equivalent of two plastic bottles with each refill. Additionally, Colorbar’s Vegan Nail Lacquers now feature caps made from 50% wood, further minimizing plastic usage. These products are formulated to be among the cleanest available globally, being 21-free – they exclude a comprehensive list of harmful ingredients.
Since its inception, Colorbar has been dedicated to being a 100% vegan, cruelty-free, and environmentally conscious brand. Looking ahead, the company aims to achieve complete sustainability, reinforcing its commitment to eco-friendly beauty solutions
The Body Shop: Community Fair Trade and Plastics for Change
Harmeet Singh, VP, Product, Marketing and Digital, The Body Shop, Asia South, highlighted the brand’s sustainable efforts. “Our Community Fair Trade (CFT) program supports sustainable farming. Our partnership with Plastics For Change has sourced recycled plastic from waste collectors in Bengaluru, ensuring fair wages and better working conditions for over 2,000 collectors.”
Taj Mahal, New Delhi
Ahead of World Environment Day, Taj Mahal, New Delhi introduces Innergise Green Meetings, a pioneering initiative for sustainable business conferences and events. Aligned with the theme ‘Land Restoration, Desertification, and Drought Resilience,’ the program emphasizes environmental consciousness through mindfully curated menus, responsibly sourced consumables, and sustainable services. Features include locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, energy-efficient practices, and activities like Yoga and meditation. This initiative, part of IHCL’s Ahvaan 2025 under the Paathya framework, showcases Taj Mahal, New Delhi’s commitment to eco-friendly hospitality. The hotel has also implemented measures like a bottling plant, IoT automation, chemical-free cooling tower treatment, heat pumps, and EV chargers, highlighting its dedication to sustainability.
KFC India & Partner countries
Moksh Chopra, General Manager, KFC India & Partner countries, says, “At KFC India, sustainability is always on our bucket list. We launched our first entirely sustainable restaurant in 2022 and since then have been on a journey to integrate green practices across all our restaurants.”
Today, over 400 KFC restaurants have Energy Management Systems installed, enhancing efficiency and reducing emissions. Solar panels across select restaurants generate 600 KW of electricity, while water efficient practices enable us to save over 50% water. “We’ve adopted 80% sustainable and compostable KFC branded packaging, with a target of reaching 100% by end of year. As we grow our footprint, we’re ensuring all new restaurants are built keeping KFC’s best global green practices and our 11 “Green Building Must Haves” in mind.
We’re committed to growing in India in a sustainable manner, brick by brick, bucket by bucket.,” adds Chopra.
VAHDAM India has been a B Corp, Climate & Plastic Neutral ♻️
VAHDAM India has been a B Corp, Climate & Plastic Neutral. Certified B Corporations are required to meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance; maintain transparency and accountability; and always see and use business as a force for good. Certified B Corporations are a new kind of business that balances purpose and profit. There are only a handful of tea companies that are Certified B Corporations.
Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages (HCCB): Lake Restoration Projects
HCCB has restored two pivotal lakes in Karnataka, addressing challenges like siltation and invasive vegetation. Their initiatives include de-weeding, desilting, and establishing groundwater recharge wells, significantly revitalizing local agricultural landscapes.
ITC Savlon: Sustainable Hygiene Solutions
ITC Savlon has introduced products like Savlon Powdered Handwash, which features a much lower footprint compared to conventional liquid handwash. Their Recycled Packaging Initiative uses 70% recycled plastic material in packaging, setting a new standard in the industry.
Perona: Project Samarth
Perona’s Project Samarth focuses on education for the children of workers. The initiative offers career and educational counseling, scholarships, and vocational training. “Perona products are manufactured in a safe, fair, and equal working environment,” reinforcing their commitment to sustainability.
OPPO India: Technology for a Greener Future
“On this World Environment Day, I am proud to reaffirm OPPO India’s commitment to sustainability,” said Rakesh Bhardwaj, Head of Public Affairs. OPPO’s initiatives include the Battery Health Engine and the ‘3R+1D’ green packaging initiative, aimed at achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
DS Group 
Dharampal Satyapal Group (DS Group), a multi-business corporation and a leading FMCG Conglomerate, gears up to celebrate World Environment Day by launching an innovative awareness campaign, #SaveTheFuture. This compelling campaign highlights the pressing need for sustainable living and the disastrous outcomes of unchecked environmental degradation.
This innovative #SaveTheFuture campaign will kick off on June 5th, on World Environment Day, with a unique ‘newspaper of the future’ print ad which is the centre piece of this campaign. Scanning a code opens a video showcasing future headlines like ‘The grass is no longer greener on either side,’ ending with the message: ‘Our sayings will lose their essence if we don’t act now to save the nature.’ The Campaign will unfold in phases, utilizing various media and digital platforms to convey its message.
Embassy Group: EcoGram Initiative
Shaina Ganapthy, Head of Community Outreach, emphasized the practical and results-oriented approach of EcoGram, which includes lake revitalization, water recycling, and conservation efforts, creating a replicable model for sustainable communities.
Beforest Lifestyle Solutions: Permaculture and Rewilding
Sunith Reddy, CEO, highlighted Beforest’s permaculture initiatives, restoring arid land to productive food forests, demonstrating a high level of passion and commitment to environmental restoration.
ITC Hotels: Leading Green Hospitality
ITC Hotels, with 23 LEED Platinum properties, are pioneers in integrating luxury with sustainability. “We continue to create world-class luxury experiences in harmony with the environment,” said HC Vinayaka, Vice President – Technical, EHS and Sustainability.
Reliance Retail (Fashion & Lifestyle): Sustainable Denim
Jayesh Sali, Head of Marketing, shared the launch of the world’s first jeans made of recycled cigarette butts by Lee Cooper, a significant step towards sustainable fashion.
Colgate-Palmolive India: Water Neutrality
Shilpashree Muniswamappa, Director – ESG & Communications, highlighted their water augmentation programs that have achieved water neutrality in three plants and replenished over 400 million liters of water, impacting over 100,000 beneficiaries.
Diageo India: Nature-Based Solutions
“As part of Diageo India’s Society 2030: Spirit of Progress ESG action plan, we support landscape restoration through Nature-based Solutions,” said Navdeep Singh Mehram, VP-CSR & Sustainability. Their initiatives include water replenishment ecosystems and regenerative agriculture.
ITC Maratha, Mumbai: Comprehensive Environmental Initiatives
Amitava Bhattacharya, Head of Technical Services, emphasized initiatives like extensive tree plantation and rainwater harvesting to ensure land restoration and sustainable water use.
VEEBA, a leading name in the food industry, through rigorous collection and repurposing initiatives, has annually recycled more plastic than they introduced into the environment. Partnering with ReKart ensures transparent and responsible processing of all collected plastic, adhering to the principles of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
Their approach is simple yet effective: Minimize, Remove, Reduce, Partner. We use minimal plastic in our packaging, prevent plastic accumulation in landfills, repurpose more plastic than we consume, and collaborate with industry leaders to promote a plastic-positive future.
ITC Engage
Embracing a greener approach, ITC Engage has now fully adopted 100% paper-based recyclable cartons for its cologne range. This eco-friendly transition highlights the company’s proactive measures in combating environmental pollution and reducing its carbon footprint. By eliminating plastic from its packaging, ITC Engage is making a significant impact on waste reduction, promoting a more sustainable future.
Pizza Hut India: Leading the Way in Water Conservation
Pizza Hut India is actively engaged in water conservation efforts across its restaurants. A notable example is the restaurant in Mahim, Mumbai, where the implementation of eco-friendly practices such as rainwater harvesting, low flow rate taps, and washroom fixtures, along with the reuse of RO wastewater for cleaning, has resulted in saving 3.9 lakh litres of water annually. This initiative is part of Pizza Hut’s broader commitment to long-term sustainability, reflecting a proactive approach to driving positive change for both business and the planet.
Tata Consumer Products: Mobilizing Action Against Climate Change
Puneet Das, President of Packaged Beverages at Tata Consumer Products, highlights the company’s dedication to combating climate change through the Tata Tea Jaago Re campaign. Since 2007, Jaago Re has evolved from a campaign into a movement, addressing critical social issues such as corruption and COVID-19 awareness. The latest edition of the campaign focuses on climate change, encouraging consumers to visit Jaagore.com for simple, actionable ways to contribute to environmental preservation. Das stresses the importance of individual contributions in the fight against climate change, advocating for sustainable living and support for responsible businesses to ensure a thriving world for future generations.
Plastic Reduction in Packaging of Personal Care Brands of ITC
ITC has extended its sustainable packaging initiatives to its own personal care products Several of ITC’s personal care brands are progressively adopting recyclable options.
Vivel Ved Vidya’s beautiful packaging is made with recyclable material, therefore, preserving your beautiful skin and the planet. Enjoy discovering the secrets of Vivel VedVidya, packaged with love in recyclable material – protecting
you and the environment.
Fiama Shower Gel bottles incorporate 50% post-consumer recycled material. By utilizing PCR materials, Fiama significantly reduces the demand for virgin plastic, thereby conserving natural resources and lowering carbon emissions associated with plastic production.
Godrej & Boyce: Innovating to Prevent Land Degradation
Godrej & Boyce is tackling land degradation through several innovative processes and initiatives. By reducing hazardous waste generation by 52% and diverting over 99% of their waste from landfills, the company exemplifies responsible business practices. Their initiatives include establishing integrated municipal solid waste recycling facilities, recycling plastics and other wastes through Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs, and adopting a robust 5R approach—Redesign, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover—in manufacturing. These efforts have prevented approximately 24,000 metric tonnes of garbage from reaching Mumbai’s landfills, mitigating methane emissions and soil contamination. Godrej & Boyce aims to further reduce hazardous and non-hazardous waste by 25% and achieve 100% recyclable plastic packaging by 2031-32.
Niranjan Banodkar, Group Chief Financial Officer & Head of Sustainable Finance, YES BANK, says, “YES BANK’s ESG strategy aligns with UN Principles for Responsible Banking and targets net zero emissions by 2030. The Bank expanded its ISO 14001:2015 EMS to 1,086 facilities, reduced carbon emissions, supports renewable energy and electric vehicles, measures financed emissions, and maintains robust ESG governance to create long-term stakeholder value and enhance ESG integration.”
Jagdeep Hira, India Business Head, Pakka, says,”Every year, World Environment Day reminds us to recognize the collective efforts that are needed from us for a better tomorrow. It inspires us to take small, but important, steps towards a healthier environment. Although a lot of work is needed in all directions, land restoration, drought resilience, and combating desertification remain critical areas that require urgent attention. The larger initiatives such as these can benefit from participation from all of us. And yet, small changes in our daily lives, like choosing sustainable products, also contribute to a cleaner and healthier future for all.”
ITC is spearheading soil and land restoration through diverse initiatives, emphasizing soil health and sustainable agriculture. On World Environment Day 2024, ITC underscores its “Generation Restoration” commitment by focusing on no-till cultivation, crop residue management, green manuring, and water harvesting. These efforts have improved soil organic carbon, conserved moisture, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and enhanced biodiversity across millions of acres. By promoting climate-smart practices and water-efficient methods, ITC has significantly boosted farm incomes, benefiting over a million farmers and rural communities while ensuring long-term environmental sustainability.
Education New Zealand
Linda Sissons, Acting Chief Executive, Education New Zealand, says, “In response to the pressing environmental challenges we face today, it’s imperative that we embrace sustainability in our daily lives. Education serves as a powerful catalyst for raising awareness and driving transformative change.
Guided by our principles of kaitiakitanga (the Māori concept of guardianship), New Zealand’s education institutions are working together with other sectors to implement the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at a national level. Developing and executing a research programme to outline their contribution to SDGs is a key focus for our education institutions. This work is seeing our institutions tackle issues around food security, bioenergy, sustainable urban development, and climate change. ”
Their initiatives not only address immediate environmental concerns but also pave the way for a sustainable and resilient future. As these leaders continue to innovate and implement eco-friendly practices, they set a powerful example for other organizations and individuals to follow, reinforcing the collective responsibility towards preserving our planet.