The 'Green Team' at Manesar have put sustainability into practice and their small projects are showing big results!

The 'Green Team' at Manesar

Sustainability improvements may come in the form of a giant leap forward or a series of tiny steps. A group of volunteers, known as the 'Green Team', came together at the company's Emission Control Technologies business in Manesar, India to stimulate and shape ideas for putting sustainability into practice. This was not about a single large project but a multiplicity of modest suggestions.

The Green Team was formed in June 2010 to mark World Environment Day. Members took a pledge to practise and promote sustainability. Twenty employees signed up initially, out of a workforce of around 130, with a further seven joining later. Four dedicated teams were created within the group, covering energy, water, waste and carbon neutrality. The teams comprise a good mix of functions and work levels.

A whole host of projects have been completed or are underway. To save energy, outdoor sodium lights are being replaced with solar LED lights. Indoors, lighting will be controlled by individual switches or by sensors. Work is being done to see how and where water can be reused in industrial processes, such as the effluent treatment plant, or where water efficiency can be improved, such as in plant cooling. In the cloakrooms, old inefficient water closets are being replaced by more efficient closets and the installation of new taps is planned.

A variety of waste reduction projects have already been completed, from using lighter weight paper for printing to the introduction of better quality gloves that last longer. For their personal commuting, employees are encouraged to use a car pool or public transport.

Sustainability may be a serious commitment, but the Green Team believe there is no reason why it shouldn't also be fun, and activities and communications keep employees involved. A multiple choice quiz for employees asked how many people in the world lack access to clean water (the answer is one in eight) and whether, on a long car trip, you can save fuel by driving faster and getting there sooner (the answer is no!). A poster competition was run during National Safety Week. Awards are sometimes made to recognise sustainability efforts by individuals, in the form of eco-friendly handicrafts sourced from a non-governmental organisation (NGO). A newsletter twice a year charts progress and reports on events.

This variety of small projects is showing big results and the business is ahead of its sustainability targets for electricity and water consumption. These efficiencies impact directly or indirectly on bringing down carbon emissions and at the same time improve profitability. Equally important, a culture of sustainability has been embedded, and this wide ranging approach is making sustainability a way of working and a way of life.