Which are the main pillars of your CSR and Sustainability strategy?
Dalmia group has a corporate vision that aims to evoke pride in all stakeholders. Our values and our deep faith in the necessity of a clean and green environment for a happy and profitable growth is our sustainability strategy. We haven’t limited our efforts within the fence and have gone beyond to our stakeholder communities to facilitate their material sustainability aspects through our CSR program. Water and energy being two major challenges that the locals face, are the two major areas of focus. We work closely with the communities on water conservation and clean energy. Skilling people for livelihood is another pillar of our CSR program. Strategically, Dalmia Bharat Foundation, a not-for-profit, is our CSR program’s implementing partner.
This strategy has led us to become a member company of Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI), signatory to United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and Caring for Climate initiative of United Nations. We are also disclosing our performance to Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). These memberships and associations of Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited help us to update our 75 year old sustainability strategy.
What have been some of the greatest challenges in realising your CSR and Sustainability goals in the past year, and how has your company overcome them?
With a 75 years legacy and practicing fulfilment of our social responsibility almost since then, there weren’t any major challenges to be faced in the past year. On the contrary, we were able to intensify and scale up our efforts, both horizontally and vertically. Our program outreach doubled to around 200,000 people and over 200 villages across India.
Keeping in mind the targets set in the Paris accord what do you see on the horizon for corporate sustainability initiatives? How can companies and government work together to achieve sustainability and CSR goals?
The Paris accord will serve as a skeleton to the series of initiatives suggested in Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCS) and their up-scaling in future to remain below 2 degree scenario. It is inevitable to associate business for meeting the INDC targets set out by national governments worldwide.
Here, two prominent drivers will shape business actions.
The first one would be private sector participation in government led initiatives such as Perform Achieve and Trade (PAT) and ramping up of renewable energy capacity in India.
The second driver would be voluntary actions by business to provide low carbon solutions to end users through innovative product development or social interventions for development of low carbon society. In Sept. 2015, the world has adopted new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals can also become guiding principles for businesses to align their CSR programmes.
However, in order to provide innovative product solutions and up-scaling of business actions, it is necessary that business has the access to the low carbon technology and low cost finance, particularly for the developing world. To overcome these barriers, it is required to have Business-Government dialogues at regional, national and global levels for creating enabling policies to promote low carbon growth. Besides, it will be interesting to see how well and fast the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is made available to developing world and how national governments are able to channelise these concessional finance options to businesses willing to adopt low carbon technologies.
What are your goals for 2016 and your priorities for the year?
The cement sector in India is already one of the best in world in terms of energy efficiency and carbon intensity of cement. For example, Dalmia Cement Eastern Operations produce blended cements with 40% less carbon footprint than global average. Cement sector in India is regarded one of the best internationally, however, we still believe a lot can be achieved through implementation of Polluter to Pay principle in India for use of alternative fuels in cement kiln. This is one of the key enablers in cement sector to reduce CO2 emissions.
Implementation of low carbon growth enablers to reduce the carbon footprint of cement, making our cement plants water positive and strengthening our best practices on sustainability to new mergers and acquisitions will remain our priorities in 2016.
In conversation with Mr. Mahendra Singhi is Group CEO-Cement, for Dalmia Cement Bharat Limited. (Original Post)