Global focus: India

10th April 2015

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Ian Fawthrop

Lakshminarayanan Ramakrishnan and S Raghupathy report on a unique rating system to support environmental excellence.

A new rating system to evaluate the environmental performance of different industries has been developed in India. Called GreenCo, it was conceived jointly by industry experts and the CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre (CII-GBC) in Hyderabad.

It consists of a four-step process:

  • training and “handholding” by
    experts at CII-GBC;
  • preliminary assessment of the company’s application;
  • site visit and assessment; and
  • final verdict by the GreenCo “jury”.

Scoring system

Organisational units are assessed on
10 environmental parameters on a scale of 0–1000 (see panel, below). Seventy percent of the points are awarded for the unit’s performance in the preceding three years, and the remaining 30% for “enablers”, such as the capabilities and resources that contribute to success. Each parameter is assessed and given a weighted score. More than 500 industry experts developed these metrics over two years. The parameters and weightings vary from industry to industry based on their relevance. For airports, the product stewardship and lifecycle assessment parameters have no weighting, for example.

The typical assessment protocol is based on the “plan, do, check, act” (PDCA) management method that environment practitioners will be familiar with. An assessment of energy efficiency, for instance, covers:

  • commitment by the top management;
  • policy;
  • training and awareness;
  • communication;
  • objectives, targets and programmes;
  • trends in performance;
  • innovative efforts;
  • monitoring mechanisms;
  • future plans; and
  • review (daily, monthly and
    annual) mechanisms.

Each individual element is given points based on the performance. Organisational units are assessed as platinum (more than 750 points), gold (650–749 points), silver (550–649 points), bronze (450–549 points) or certified (350–449).

A typical GreenCo assessment report identifies the strengths and options for improvement in each of the parameters assessed, helping the organisation to improve its performance and progress to the next level of rating in a planned manner. It compares the position of a business with the best in its sector, and the best in industry with respect to each parameter.

Industry by industry

The GreenCo rating system can now be applied to many sectors. These include: airports; automobiles and engineering; banks and financial institutions; cement; corporate offices; fertilisers; fast-moving consumer goods; foundries; glass; hospitals; hotels; iron and steel, and non-ferrous metals; IT services; pulp and paper; refineries and petrochemicals; textiles; and tyres. By February 2015, 32 business units had been assessed under the rating scheme. A further 110 are registered for a GreenCo rating and are preparing for the assessment. Some of the units rated so far are listed in the panel (below, left).

Customer feedback on GreenCo rating is encouraging. Hussain Shariyar, senior vice-president at the appliance division of Godrej & Boyce, said: “GreenCo not only shows us where we stand, but also gives us ample opportunities for improvement.”

The indication so far is that GreenCo will help industry in India to meet CII-GBC’s goal of enabling the country emerge as one of the global leaders in green business by 2022.

Lakshminarayanan Ramakrishnan, FIEMA, CEnv is professor at the Indsearch Centre of Sustainability Management, Indian Institute of Cost and Management Studies and Research (IndSearch), in Pune. S Raghupathy is executive director and head of the CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre, in Hyderabad.

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