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CSR: Vedanta’s Hindustan Zinc becomes water-positive on World Environment Day 2020

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On World Environment Day 2020, Hindustan Zinc part of Vedanta, has acquired the distinction of becoming a water-positive company. The company has become 2.41 times water positive with respect to the water consumed, making it one of the top water-conserving companies. HZL is already ranked 1st in sustainability in Asia Pacific by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

Environmental CSR of Vedanta Limited and its subsidiaries

Vedanta Limited has a host of CSR initiatives focusing on themes such as water, energy and carbon management. The group has adopted advanced technologies to optimise water consumption, enhance energy productivity, mitigate climate change and safeguard diversity through their group companies including Hindustan Zinc (HZL), Cairn Oil & Gas, Electrosteels Steel,  Sesa Iron Ore Business and Vedanta Aluminium.
Speaking on World Environment Day, Sunil Duggal, Group CEO, Vedanta Group said, “We have a long-term approach to water management that aims to improve our performance, recognize the significance of water and contribute to sustainable water management.” Vedanta believes that water conservation is a collective responsibility and is a non-negotiable aspect of sustainable development. While there is an abundance of water, only 4% is suitable for human consumption and that makes conservation of water so crucial.
Focusing on its sustainability pillars of zero harm, zero waste, zero discharge, Vedanta has generated 1,653 units of renewable energy, while solar power projects are being commissioned to produce 22 MW of power. Around 92% of the high-volume low effect wastes such as fly ash, slag and jarosite are being recycled. Vedanta is committed to green mining and the company has been adopting global approaches across businesses to reduce the carbon footprint.
TSPL (Talwandi Sabo Power Project) accounts for 30% of Punjab’s power requirement and operates on a higher cycle efficiency with less Green House Gases (GHG) emission, less water consumption and less auxiliary power consumption vis a vis other thermal power plants in the country. It has boilers equipped with low NOx burners and the separate overfire air (SOFA) system ensures very low NOx emissions.
Cairn Oil and Gas has been working closely with the district administration, government agencies and experts to not only keep the environmental footprint at the minimum level, but also to expand the green belt area in Barmer. The focus has been on preserving biodiversity, which is the central theme for Environment Day 2020, so that the many endangered species in the region are protected.
Electrosteels Steel (ESL) the recent acquisition of the group is no exception in managing sustainability and has done significant work to improve the environmental performance of the company. From reutilising only 10% of the generated fly-ash, ESL has been able to utilize 100% of the generated volumes. This has been achieved by establishing sales agreement for fly-ash with cement companies, where the by-product is used in several blended-cement applications.
At Sesa Iron Ore Business, the reclamation of the Sanquelim mine is a role model for sustainability and effective restoration of the environment. There has been a complete restoration of mining pits into pisciculture with numerous species of flora & fauna along with the development of an aquatic ecosystem. The Sankhali mine is a blend of community development and biodiversity conservation and the existing infrastructure is utilized for the development of community projects like the Sesa Technical School and residential football academy.
Livelihood programs are central to the community development activities undertaken by Vedanta. The agriculture support program managed by the BALCO CSR team provides soil testing, fencing infrastructure, fertilizer and seed-based input support, and technical training programs. This intervention has motivated several farmers to adopt modern farming techniques such as System of Rice Intensification (SRI), which has doubled yields and enhanced incomes. Many farmers have also diversified their crops, further enhancing family incomes.
The Jharsuguda plant has adopted a “safety booster” programme for its employees (Vedanta & Business Partners) to ensure and enhance safety behaviour. Employees are regularly provided counselling sessions, safety training, and regular reviews of their performance. This approach has allowed several employees to continuously self-correct on the shop-floor which has improved the overall safety culture at the plant.
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