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Cleaning up the carbon footprint

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Every Essar company is working strategically to reduce its carbon footprint

January 14, 2013 Bookmark and Share  
Climate change is one of the biggest threats facing the world: already, weather patterns have changed as polar ice caps and glaciers have shrunk and plant and animal ranges have shifted; the likelihood of rising sea levels, changing currents and temperature shifts is high; and with all this, comes the prospect of adverse impact on agriculture (and all flora) and health (of all fauna) in the long term. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which includes more than 1,300 scientists from around the world, has forecast a temperature rise of 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century; while increases in global mean temperature of 1.8 to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 3 degrees Celsius) above 1990 levels may have beneficial impacts in some regions,the net cost to life on Earth will increase over time, according to the IPCC. For South Asia, the Panel has forecast that, by the 2050s, there will be increased threat to coastal areas and flooding, with greater prevalence of disease associated with floods and droughts.

It holds out some hope, however — the adverse impact can be mitigated depending on the ability of different societal and environmental systems to adapt to change.

That is where each entity — individual, corporate, government and non-government organization, among others — plays a role. At Essar, we have chosen to play a constructive and mitigating role in this context. Several initiatives have long been in place; others are being planned; and the feasibility of yet others is being studied.

The Essar not only recognizes its responsibility in mitigating the adverse impact of climate change, it views climate change as an opportunity to strengthen the organization in the process of instituting constructive measures in adapting to the change. Recognizing that the emerging climate change regulations can affect the competitiveness of various industrial sectors, impacting profit potential and trade flows, Essar believes it is imperative to have a structured approach to carbon management to manage the impact of climate regulations on its growth and profitability.

The key drivers to the Essar strategy to meet the challenges of climate change are regulation, stakeholder expectations, and cost reduction. The focus of the strategy is on the following:

  1. Estimating GHG emissions of Essar businesses and gap analysis in alignment with sector-specific benchmarks and best practices.
  2. Preparation of business-specificand time-bound carbon management action plan to reduce CO2 emissions.
  3. Sensitizing employees on the effects of global warming and climate change.
  4. Reporting the carbon performance of each Essar company as per the requirements of internationally accepted protocols and frameworks.

Given this approach, Essar has a two-pronged approach in its mitigation and adaptation initiatives: providing clean solutions and reducing its carbon footprint by adopting energy-efficient technology and energy conservation measures.

Energy efficiency is a focus at all Essar plants; it is also a core activity in Essar’s community development work. Essar Foundation works with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency under the Ministry of Power of the Government of India to create awareness of energy efficiency practices at the household level.

Thus, while Essar undertakes to institute measures within its businesses, it lays equal emphasis on creating awareness about the imperatives of reducing the carbon footprint at every level, from the individual to the corporate. From educating school children to sensitizing employees, the focus is equally serious.

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