TERI Co RE-BCSD: Promoting Corporate Environmental Responsibility in India
Research Project Background
This case study is one of ten that were chosen as part of the Enhancing Business-Community Relations project in India implemented in collaboration with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). These cases document examples of engagement between businesses and communities and can be used as learning tools for the promotion of responsible business practice and sustainable development. The Enhancing Business-Community Relations project is a joint international initiative between United Nations Volunteers (UNV) and the New Academy of Business. Implemented in seven developing countries, the purpose of the initiative was to collect and document information on business-community practices as perceived by all stakeholders, build partnerships with them and promote corporate social responsibility practices. It is also intended to enhance international understanding of business-community relations through information sharing and networking with other countries especially those participating in the project - Brazil, Ghana, India, Nigeria, Philippines, South Africa and Lebanon. The findings and recommendations reflected in the case study are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of UNV, TERI or the New Academy of Business. It is important to note that these cases were written as examples of business-community initiatives. They do not constitute a comprehensive assessment of the company s social responsibility.
a comprehensive assessment of the company s social responsibility.
The following case study3 concerns an initiative that researches and aims to increase environmental responsibility amongst corporations in India, led by a non-governmental organisation (NGO) working in partnership with several large Indian companies. As such the case study is rather different from the other nine studies in the India report, which concern specific projects initiated by companies themselves. The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) has not only worked with businesses to develop management systems to measure and improve their environmental practice. It has also promoted the investment in new technologies that reduce environmental impact and create sustainable resources. This case study outlines both the systems development and the research work that TERI has undertaken, and in so doing illustrates the need for the private sector to collaborate with research organisations. .
2. Company Profile
TERI (formerly Tata Energy Research Institute) is a unique organisation committed to environmental sustainable development. TERI s activities range from formulating strategies at both local and national level, to proposing global solutions to energy and environment related issues, to forming partnerships that enact these commitments. It conducts activities on a global scale, in North America, Europe, Japan, United Arab Emirates and Russia
3. Project History and Development
In February 2000 TERI launched an initiative called CoRE (Corporate Roundtable on Development of Strategies for the Environment and Sustainable Development). It is a network of motivated leading corporations and currently has 46 member companies. By coming together to identify key problem areas in the field of industrial sustainability the network intends to develop strategies for addressing them. CoRE signed a Memorandum of understanding with World.
The vision of CoRE-BCSD India is to move Business Council for Sustainable towards environmentally sustainable growth of the Indian Industry, which can be achieved Development (WBCSD) in April 2002. Now by addressing dual objectives of known as CoRE Business Council for environmental and economic excellence. Sustainable Development (BCSD), the initiative aims to co-ordinate findings from Mr R.K.Narang, Chief of TERI CoRE-BCSD the WBCSD and the Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI).
TERI s partnership with the WBCSD and GEMI provides a place for corporations to explore and exchange information regarding best practice in environmental management and sustainable development. It also aims at strengthening the current activities of CoRE-BCSD India. The mission of CoRE-BCSD India is to provide an independent and credible platform for corporate leaders to address the issues related to sustainable development and to promote leadership in environmental management, social responsibility and economic performance. The goals are to: Enhance TERI s research capabilities through the CoRE-BCSD network Gain a better understanding of existing and emerging sustainability concern facing industry Develop and disseminate appropriate strategies and decision-making tools that would enhance the capabilities of professionals from environment, health, safety, and other functions while bringing value to business Create awareness of national and international best practices in the fields of technology, management systems, and policy Display corporate initiative and responsibility in adopting proactive environmental strategies (through case studies and benchmarking surveys), and thereby encourage other companies to follow
Use CoRE-BCSD as a channel for communicating with stakeholders and develop links for implementing joint strategies to address environmental concerns Establish links with national and international industry, trade, government and non- governmental organizations (NGOs) that would develop and implement joint work programmes on environmental, health, and safety concerns CoRE-BCSD holds regular (Annual, Steering Committee, CEO) meetings. The Steering Committee has linkages with other organisations and associations, both national and international, for promoting sustainable development.
4. Systems Development
The research team is developing two indicators that measure levels of environmental sustainability. These are an eco-rating system (ERS) and a stakeholders collaboration. 4 The ERS is a measurement system for corporations to use that is also being utilised as a feedback mechanism for TERI. The stakeholders collaboration operates above facility-level, in an attempt to highlight the importance of environmental issues to stakeholders when making financial decisions. Such issues include the rehabilitation of degraded forests, the development of wasteland areas as well as the more responsible management of supply chains.
4.1. Research and Development
At the second CoRE AGM in September 2000, five research areas were identified for TERI to work on improving companies environmental practice, by researching common problems and suggesting remedies. These are outlined below.
4.2 Green Belt Development
Green Belt Development is an attempt to limit the environmental impact of economic development and industrialisation. TERI has developed techniques for the mass multiplication of pollutant resistant trees through extensive research. It is intended to be of benefit for future developments around cities, towns, mines and industrial sites. TERI is able to disseminate this information and transfer the technology to the industrial sector.
4.3. Development of Eco-villages
Recent research has highlighted the correlation between environmental degradation and poverty. It is estimated that 420 million people in India rely on forest resources for their livelihoods, making forestry management crucial for the future of the economy and people of India. The eco-village concept contains four elements, which are the participation of local people; the development of eco-enterprises (which makes full use of sustainable forest resources); the development of farm forestry systems, and the sustainable management of medicinal plants. TERI has researched the eco-village concept, and has successfully implemented several projects including the Joint Participatory Forest Management project in Haryana.
4.4. Hazardous Waste Inventory Management
It is crucial for industries generating hazardous waste to minimise the impact this has on the environment and health of those living in the area in which they work. New legislation proposed by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in January 2000 has tightened regulation of corporate activities in this area. Therefore, waste management plans are beneficial to help companies comply with the new legislation, to assess their potential to reuse waste, to increase awareness amongst managers and employees, and to help with the early identification of preventable emergencies. TERI works with companies to improve upon their waste management plans.