ITC Limited, one of India's leading multi-business conglomerates and an exemplar in sustainability, is making significant contributions to the Swachh Bharat mission by rapidly scaling up its integrated waste management and sustainable packaging initiatives.
S. Sivakumar, Group Head, Sustainability, Agri and IT, ITC Ltd said, "We at ITC are immensely proud to be able to contribute meaningfully to the Prime Minister's vision of a Swachh Bharat through large-scale solid waste management interventions. The company has deployed the principles of circular economy to implement scalable, sustainable, and replicable models of waste management, besides investing in cutting-edge innovation in the area of sustainable packaging that substitutes single-use plastic."
Solid waste management: Through its multi-dimensional efforts, ITC went past plastic neutrality in 2021-22. It collected and sustainably managed more than 54,000 tonnes of plastic waste across 35 states and Union Territories in India. ITC's flagship community-based program, Well Being Out of Waste' or ITC WOW has outreach to over 4.6 million households, 5.2 million school children, and over 2,000 corporates since its inception.
The benefits of ITC's integrated program are many, they prevent waste from reaching landfills, improve supply chain efficiencies, encourage innovation and create jobs, another critical national need. The Company also runs a separate community-driven program of decentralized solid waste management in 10 states, covering 14.6 lakh households.
Under this program, it also builds the capacity of municipalities and panchayats on the implementation of waste management practices that reduce the amount of waste reaching landfills significantly. In addition to the existing 10 PPPs in solid waste management, the company has also recently collaborated with the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, the Centre's initiative with India Sanitation Council to create 35 "lighthouse" villages demonstrating best practices on Solid and Liquid waste management across 17 districts in 10 states.
ITC has also spearheaded a first-of-its-kind multi-layered plastic (MLP) collection and recycling program in Pune leveraging the R&D expertise resident within the ITC Life Sciences and Technology Centre. Another unique effort, ITC's Green Temple initiative, is a closed-loop waste management model that processes waste generated in places of worship and provides biogas to temple kitchens and compost for gardens.
Sanitation: ITC also runs an extensive sanitation program that has led to the construction of 39,400 individual Household Toilets (IHHTs), leading to 100 percent of project catchments becoming Open Defecation Free. The program has also enabled the construction of 112 community toilets and over 2,000 toilet blocks in schools which are now being sustained and maintained by the community, with women and girl children being the key beneficiaries
Sustainable packaging: ITC's Paperboards and Packaging Businesses are actively engaged in developing and promoting sustainable packaging solutions on the laminated board and molded fiber platforms to substitute single-use plastics. Innovative packaging offerings include the recyclable Filo' series, the biodegradable Omega' series, Bioseal', Oxyblock' as well as Germ-free coating', a solution for microbial-free packaging. These solutions are increasingly being used by Quick Service Restaurants, food and beverages as well as takeaway segments, amongst others. ITC's Personal Care brands such as Vivel and Fiama are also leveraging ITC's sustainable packaging expertise. For example, Fiama Shower Gel bottles are now made with 30 percent Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) material.
As part of ITC's bold Sustainability 2.0 agenda driven by Chairman, Sanjiv Puri, ITC will endeavor to ensure that 100 percent of packaging is reusable, recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable over the next decade.
ITC, over the decades, has demonstrated pioneering environmental stewardship efforts through an array of large-scale sustainability initiatives including water conservation, afforestation, biodiversity management, development of green buildings, increasing use of renewable energy, as well as adopting a 360-degree circular economy model. It holds the distinction of being the only company in the world to be carbon positive, water positive, and solid waste recycling positive for more than a decade.