Godrej & Boyce's dedication to sustainability is deep-rooted

  • Interviews
  • Feb 06,24
In this interview with Rakesh Rao, Zurvan Marolia, Sr VP & Head - Manufacturing Council, Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Co Ltd, elaborates on the importance of adopting eco-friendly measures by manufacturers to help India achieve its sustainability goals
Godrej & Boyce's dedication to sustainability is deep-rooted

Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Co Ltd offers various engineering solutions for critical industries like aerospace, defence, clean energy, railways, automotive, etc. Ever since it was established in 1897, environment stewardship has been a cornerstone of the company's business practices. In this interview with Rakesh Rao, Zurvan Marolia, Senior Vice President & Head - Manufacturing Council, Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Co Ltd, elaborates on the importance of adopting eco-friendly measures by manufacturers to help India achieve its sustainability goals.

What measures should be taken by Indian manufacturers to mitigate the impact of climate change
The contribution of manufacturing to the GDP has been increasing and is an area of focus for the government. The sector, which consumes about 40 per cent of energy, contributes to greenhouse gases emission. Hence, manufacturers have to take steps to reduce their carbon footprint to achieve India’s sustainability goals which we have committed to at the global platform. This can be achieved by minimising waste, reducing resource consumption, improving the yield of final products, maximising energy efficiency, increasing the use of renewable energy, adopting less carbon-intensive processes, reducing water consumption, etc. In short, 3 “Rs” - reduce, reuse and recycle – have to be at the centre of the strategy to combat climate change. 

What steps are being taken by your company to achieve sustainability goals? 
Godrej & Boyce is 125-year-old company and environment stewardship has been part of our DNA since birth. The company is a signatory to the global EP100 initiative (which brings together a group of energy-smart companies that have committed to double their energy productivity). Under this, we have taken certain targets such as maintaining or improving water positivity, zero waste to landfill, reducing carbon intensity by 60 per cent, generating 50 per cent (from present 33 per cent) of our revenue from green products, making our buildings (factories and offices) green, promoting a circular economy, etc. In the last decade, Godrej & Boyce has invested over Rs 500 crore towards developing good & green products.
Our dedication to sustainability is deeply rooted in our organisational ethos, emanating from internal practices to product offerings. Internally, we prioritise eco-friendly measures, such as using efficient processes, waste heat recovery systems, electric forklift in operations, etc. This internal commitment lays the foundation for broader sustainability initiatives.
In product development, our focus is on designing and manufacturing items with a diminished carbon footprint. An exemplary instance is the introduction of refrigerators devoid of CFC, HCFC and HFC, ensuring zero ozone depletion potential and minimal warming. This conscious product design contributes significantly to a sustainable future, considering the widespread use of refrigerators in both industrial and commercial settings.
Our commitment extends to optimising the supply chain, with a transformative shift following the introduction of GST. This change facilitated direct supplies and material movement across state boundaries, resulting in streamlined operations and a considerable reduction in associated carbon emissions.
Collaboration with our vendor base is pivotal to our sustainability journey, particularly through initiatives like "Beyond Sourcing." Engaging with a vendor community, predominantly comprised of SMEs, involves raising awareness about environmental sensitivities and aiding vendors in adopting sustainable practices, fostering positive change throughout the supply chain.
Thus, our comprehensive strategy spans internal operational practices, eco-friendly product development, supply chain optimisation, vendor collaboration, and providing environmentally conscious solutions to customers. This multifaceted approach underscores our commitment to environmental responsibility, contributing to a more sustainable and resilient future for all stakeholders involved.

Could you please elaborate on steps taken by your company to make SMEs stronger?
The "Beyond Sourcing" initiative represents our commitment to supporting SMEs beyond mere transactional engagements. Recognising the importance of empowering SMEs, the program aims to enhance their capabilities, aligning them with evolving business requirements. Through a structured cluster program, we provide valuable insights, initially focusing on management fundamentals and hygiene factors, and gradually delving into manufacturing, quality, and productivity aspects.
Capacity and capability development are paramount. Hence, we ensure that SMEs synchronise with our business needs, thereby reducing wasteful practices and progressing along the sustainability continuum. Financial accessibility was facilitated through specially designed schemes, fostering smoother technology adoption. We engage in a hands-on approach, guiding SMEs on technology choices tailored to their unique business needs.
Our focus is to integrate SMEs into the supply chain effectively. We facilitate their understanding of market dynamics, encouraging a sense of ownership. The introduction of green clusters marked a significant step towards sustainability. Encouraging SMEs to obtain quality standard certifications became a priority, and achieving a 25 per cent reduction in power consumption emerged as a tangible testament that embracing sustainability need not be a financial burden but a self-rewarding endeavour.
Advocacy efforts, including government outreach through platforms like the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), are aimed at amplifying the voice of SMEs, emphasising how they could be better supported. Knowledge-sharing sessions and active involvement in the entire product design process were instrumental in fostering collaboration. This approach ensured that SMEs became integral contributors to the entire value chain, aligning seamlessly with our overarching sustainability goals.

Is it imperative for Indian manufacturers to adopt modern technologies & automation? 
Certainly, the integration of modern technologies such as automation, IoT, and digitalisation has ushered in a transformative era, particularly in the pursuit of sustainability within our operations. Automation, for instance, plays a pivotal role in enhancing operational efficiency, leading to reduced waste and improved productivity. By optimising processes, we not only streamline operations but also contribute to sustainability by minimising resource utilisation.
IoT provides us with unprecedented visibility into our processes, allowing for data-driven insights that guide improvements. This visibility is crucial for quality assurance, enabling us to detect areas for enhancement and ensure a leaner design. The adoption of IoT, especially within the framework of Industry 4.0, has facilitated faster adaptation to these technologies. The voluminous data generated aids in more precise decision-making, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.
Moreover, modern technologies enable self-diagnosis and correction in machines, minimising non-value-added elements in the production process. The seamless transfer of designs from the drawing board to the shop floor reduces the potential for errors, contributing to more efficient operations. In terms of the supply chain, these technologies ensure that the voice of the customer is accurately transmitted to the shop floor, reducing processing time and optimising resource utilisation.
Quick prototyping and 3D printing have emerged as invaluable tools, offering cleaner processes and sustainable alternatives. An exemplary illustration is the construction of a 500-sq ft office by our team, assembled in just one and a half days in Khalapur unit, showcasing the efficiency and sustainability achieved through modern technologies.
In essence, these advancements in technology are not just about operational efficiency but also contribute significantly to a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable approach. They enable us to innovate in processes as well as products; thus, enhancing performance, utility, and durability while simultaneously reducing costs and environmental impact. The adoption of recycled materials in packaging and logistics optimisation further demonstrates our commitment to sustainability, ensuring that value addition is achieved with lower resource consumption and waste creation.

How do see the performance of the Indian manufacturing sector? What is your expectation for FY24 & FY25?
The performance of the Indian manufacturing sector is poised for significant growth, aligning with the trajectory of the overall economy. With the Indian economy set to surpass the $ 4 trillion mark, possibly by FY 25, and aiming for the $ 5 trillion milestone by FY 27, the nation stands as the fastest-growing major economy globally. The emphasis on diversification, particularly in the context of the "China Plus One" strategy, holds immense potential. By 2030, India could contribute over $ 500 billion to the global economy through enhanced participation in global trade, according to the Economic Survey reports.
The manufacturing landscape in 2024 is anticipated to be marked by the convergence of technologies, operational efficiencies, and a nurturing environment for innovation.
In the context of green manufacturing, India holds global competitive significance. The increasing global demand for sustainable products, coupled with the establishment of international standards, positions India as a key player in meeting these requirements. Sustainability not only aligns with global expectations but also makes economic sense, offering cost efficiency through resource optimisation, quality assurance systems, and enhancing brand image on the global stage.
Moreover, India's access to green markets and government initiatives and incentives should further propel the country towards becoming a global manufacturing hub with a strong emphasis on sustainability. The adoption of green practices not only contributes to environmental stewardship but also positions India favourably in the global marketplace, demonstrating a commitment to both economic and ecological sustainability.

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