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 Climate Change

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Published on: July 25, 2020, 7:38 p.m.
ACC is building a circular economy
  • The organic garbage becomes compost to grow vegetables

By Sekhar Seshan. Consulting Editor, Business India

ACC is committed to generating a third of its turnover from enhanced sustainability solutions, according to managing director and CEO Sridhar Balakrishnan. The company, he says, aspires to become carbon-neutral, bio-diversity and water positive, as well as plastic-negative by optimising its value chain towards practices that progressively reduce its environmental impact.

Its efforts have earned ACC the highest recognition of ‘Outstanding Accomplishment’ in the Corporate Excellence category at the CII-ITC Sustainability Awards 2019. The Award recognises the way ACC integrates sustainability into governance, strategy, business processes.

The leading cement company shows performance across all three pillars of sustainability excellence - people, planet and profit – with a formal sustainable development plan till 2030 that focuses on the four broad themes of climate, circular economy, water and nature, and people and communities.

CII-ITC also gave the Chanda Cement Works in Chandrapur, Maharashtra, a commendation for ‘significant achievement in environment management’ for its innovative approaches, policies and practices in reducing environmental impact.

ACC has taken several measures to reduce the intensity of its carbon dioxide emission, like clinker factor reduction, waste heat recovery, using renewable energy and adopting of new technologies. Its output of CO2 is only 505 kg per tonne of cement, one of the lowest in the world.

The cement kilns use slag and fly ash using an AFR (Alternative Fuels & Resources) technology it adopted 15 years ago: they co-process waste to recover fractional material value from waste, exemplifying the concept of a circular economy. Across its plants, it reduced the extraction of fresh resources such as limestone, consumption of fossil fuel in 2019 by using about 12.5 million tonnes of waste-derived resources. This also cut the amount of waste being dumped in landfills, leading to a lower CO2 footprint.

Process optimisation and upgradation to water-efficient technologies, installation of effluent treatment plants, rain-water harvesting and other measures ensure a reduction in the consumption of freshwater. The 84-year-old company adopts sustainable mining practices and plants more than 100,000 trees of different native species across its locations every year.

It also works with the local communities around its 17 cement manufacturing sites and 90 concrete plants to empower the people and help their holistic development, particularly in the areas of skills building, quality education, water and sanitation. This benefits over half a million people across 215 villages.

At Madukkarai near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, for example, it runs a programme in collaboration with a local NGO to collect segregated garbage from door to door and eventually convey the organic waste to a bio-composting pit, where it is converted into organic manure. This is then sold to local farmers at a subsidised rate.

The result: an effective garbage management system and green development, allowing the town to recycle almost all the waste it generates.


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