To mark the International Day for the Conservation of Mangrove Ecosystems celebrated on July 26 every year, Godrej & Boyce, the flagship company of the Godrej Group has reinforced its commitment towards conservation of mangroves. The company has been preserving the Vikhroli mangroves, the largest privately owned mangrove forests in the country. These mangroves are India’s first ISO 14001 certified forest. To ensure dedicated focus to the issues, Godrej & Boyce has established a dedicated Wetlands Management Services (WMS) within the organisation, which has been undertaking several conservation and renewal initiatives across the country in collaboration with communities, especially those living in coastal states.
Godrej & Boyce has adopted a strategy which utilises research, awareness, and collaborations for the conservation of mangrove ecosystem. The company jointly launched a campaign, Magical Mangroves, with WWF India to spread awareness about mangroves in 9 coastal states of India. The campaign has trained 150+ young nature enthusiasts as the campaign volunteers. These volunteers, or Mangrove Ambassadors, as they are called have sensitized more than 18,000 Indians through virtual sessions.
Speaking about collective efforts for mangrove conservation, Tejashree Joshi, Head, Environmental Sustainability, Godrej & Boyce said, “Climate change and extreme weather pose serious concerns for people living in coastal areas. Some of the major metropolises of India lie on the coast and we have witnessed some of the catastrophic events these cities have been exposed to. The significance of mangroves as defenders of the coastline and as Blue Carbon systems is already established. The current climate crisis calls for creating an ecosystem that leverages the influence of various stakeholders with a common goal to preserve mangroves. It is therefore necessary to not only learn more about mangroves, but also to enhance the participation of corporations and citizens in their conservation.”
Recognising research as a valuable contributor to the preservation of mangroves, the company has initiated various studies to document and monitor the diverse flora and fauna of the Vikhroli mangroves. A major part of the on-going research initiatives was the documentation of 82 spider species at Vikhroli mangroves of which 37 have been identified so far. The information on spider species, habitat diversity and prey base, throws light on the health of the mangroves which is an important component of mangrove management.
Besides spider species, Vikhroli mangroves host 16 true mangrove and mangrove associate species. 209 bird, 82 butterfly, 75 insect, 32 reptile and 6 mammal species have also been recorded through years of systematic research. Further a study using geo-tagging of mangroves along Thane Creek in Vikhroli has been instrumental in capturing floral-faunal interactions. It was found that Meswak, a mangrove associate plant plays a vital role in supporting faunal diversity in the mangrove habitat.
The Wetland Management Services team has engaged with multiple stakeholders and reached out to almost 70,000 individuals living in coastal areas in the last six years through on-site and off-site programs. They have utilised a dedicated Mangroves mobile app, online webinars, story books, poster exhibitions and a mangrove quiz in Marathi to increase awareness through outreach in regional languages.
Godrej & Boyce launched India Mangroves Coalition, in partnership with CII’s Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development and WWF India. The coalition is a first of its kind industry-led platform under CII’s India Business & Biodiversity Initiative (IBBI), that will support and propagate greater mangrove conservation and plantation across India’s vast coastline through a multi-stakeholder approach, based on its importance as a Blue Carbon ecosystem. The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change recently extended its in principle support to India Mangrove Coalition with a suggestion to enhance India Mangrove Coalition focus from the mangrove ecosystem to the larger context of wetlands of India.
Godrej & Boyce has always been at the forefront of driving actions to curb climate change. The organization aims to bring citizens and the industry together to create pathways for conservation of the rich biodiversity of India.
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