World Environment Day 2024: How are these firms planning to become greener?

World Environment Day 2024 highlights the urgent reality of global climate change. Companies like McDonald's and ITC Hotels are taking steps towards sustainability by reducing carbon emissions and implementing green initiatives

Sharmila Bhadoria
First Published5 Jun 2024, 07:49 AM IST
World Environment Day 2024 is celebrated every year on June 5
World Environment Day 2024 is celebrated every year on June 5

World Environment Day 2024: Prolonged heatwaves and recorded rainfall are stark reminders that global climate change is not a future but an undeniable reality. As climate change and environmental degradation persist as challenges, World Environment Day prompts us to examine the small changes some companies are making and their plans to cut carbon emissions and become more sustainable.

Transitioning to solar energy

To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, McDonald’s India-North and East transitioned 24% of its restaurants in Delhi to renewable (solar) energy last year (2023). The global fast-food restaurant chain has cut 3,822 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually by commissioning a solar plant with a capacity of 3.2 MW and an annual output of 4.2 million power units. The small change is equal to planting 1.6 Lakh trees.

“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,” said Rajeev Ranjan, Managing Director, McDonald’s India - North and East

Focus on green buildings in the Hotel industry

The travel and tourism industry boom goes hand-in-hand with the devastating environmental impact of the growing number of hotels and restaurants. To minimise the hotel industry's impact on the environment, ITC Hotels is transforming most of its hotels 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 Hotel. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a widely used system for rating green buildings. HC Vinayaka also said that ITC Hotels have also surpassed 2030 sectoral emission targets set as per COP 21 for 3rd Year (UN Climate Change, Paris agreement).

Many hotel operators are also shifting their focus to sustainability, completely eliminating plastic use and optimum water and other resource usage to minimise the impact of hotel properties in ecologically sensitive areas. 

Shedding light on similar initiatives at his property in Himachal, Rahul Uppal, Director at Echor Hotels Pvt. Ltd, said, “One of our standout properties in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh, exemplifies our commitment to sustainability. 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 emission

Sharing his company's plans to reduce GHGs by 20 % in 2027, Ankur Aggarwal, Managing Director, Crystal Crop Protection Limited, said, “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.”

Electric vehicles are also seen as a harbinger of sustainability because of their low carbon footprint at the time of operation. Several logistic firms also strive to transition to EVs to reduce environmental pollution. Transport and Logistics Company CJ Darcl Logistics is currently running a pilot project to test the operation of EV cargo and plan a more comprehensive implementation of the project. 

“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 highlights the use of sustainability tools like Sustainability-as-a-Service in businesses to lower carbon emissions from logistic operations. 

Vineet Agarwal, MD, Transport Corporation of India Limited, said, “In the last fiscal year, TCI generated 17 million kwh of renewable energy, conducted 50,000+ B2B last-mile trips via 3,500+ CNG vehicles, and implemented eco-friendly warehousing to reduce power consumption and emissions. The TCI-IIMB Supply Chain Sustainability Lab achieved milestones, launching TEMT and fostering partnerships for green innovation.”

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First Published:5 Jun 2024, 07:49 AM IST
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