Biodiversity and mangrove conservation have moved far beyond a philanthropic endeavour to a fully devoted department – the Wetlands Management Services Team at Godrej & Boyce, the flagship company of the Godrej Group. These skilled professionals have been undertaking significant conservation initiatives with a three-pronged strategy of promoting academic research, driving conservation and building awareness about the importance of the mangrove ecosystem.
Godrej & Boyce has been raising awareness about mangrove conservation through several CSR initiatives such as creation of Asia’s first Mangroves Mobile App available in 11 languages, a unique children’s storybook ‘Many Secrets of Mangroves’ in collaboration with renowned author Katie Bagli, a bi-lingual informative website and poster exhibitions across educational institutes and more.
Godrej & Boyce will mentor ‘mangrove ambassadors’
The company continues its corporate social responsibility to protect mangroves in collaboration with WWF India, and is now nurturing mangrove ambassadors. After the successful launch of the Magical Mangroves campaign in 2020, Godrej & Boyce and WWF India will rejuvenate the citizen movement in nine States across India including Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat.
As a part of this programme, WWF India will identify over 100 volunteers, who will commit their time towards being educated on mangrove conservation and inspire more community members to do the same. The volunteers, referred to as mangrove ambassadors, will be mentored by the company to spread awareness about the significance of preserving these vital coastal ecosystems in their respective states and will be equipped with a curated toolkit of presentations, videos, storybooks and mobile app.
Impact so far
So far, the Magical Mangroves campaign has sensitized close to 10,000 citizens in India’s coastal states. With over 140 seminars, it has helped teachers seamlessly integrate environment education in schools and students have benefitted from the practical knowledge of the subject. Citizens have been introduced to the Mangrove biodiversity that supports a wide range of species from all three habitats – terrestrial, intertidal and aquatic.
The campaign has sensitized the participants about the plethora of mangrove ecosystem services such as climate regulation, coastal protection, water filtration, impact on livelihoods, tourism, and culture. This initiative also helped citizens get a deeper understanding of the threats to the Mangroves and simple measures to be included in their lifestyle to help conserve these silent guardians of the coast.
The 5-month long campaign will have several engagement and awareness programs involving subject matter experts, volunteers, and members of the community. The WWF India Volunteers Program works with the aim of connecting citizens with the environment and enabling them to be part of conservation action. Some of the renowned mangroves conservationists and experts that have joined the movement include Dr K Kathiresan, a senior researcher and professor from Annamalai University, Dr N Vasudevan, former Head of Mangrove Cell, Maharashtra, Dr K Saravanan and Dr Mahesh Shindikar.
Speaking about the need for a citizen movement to protect mangroves and biodiversity, Mr. Ravi Singh, Secretary General and CEO, WWF India, said, “WWF India’s aim to help build a future where humans live in harmony with nature can only be achieved through the collective action of government, civil society organisations and the citizens of our country. In its furtherance, it is imperative to collaborate for the cause of nature conservation. Our partnership on the conservation of mangroves is an important programme in this regard. The first phase of the Magical Mangroves programme has been a success. Godrej & Boyce and WWF India are coming together again to support the citizen mangrove ambassadors as they progress the programme to the next scale.”
On nurturing a generation of climate leaders and empowering them to mitigate the risks of climate change, Dr. Pheroza Godrej said, “The Magical Mangroves initiative by Godrej & Boyce and WWF India underscores the importance of creating a generation of mangrove ambassadors who are passionate about conserving this fragile ecosystem. In the second leg of the initiative, we look forward to educating and spreading awareness to thousands of Indians by empowering these mangrove ambassadors. Together, we hope to build a generation of people who will rally for this extremely important element of the blue carbon ecosystem, thus ensuring a greener and brighter planet for our future generations to live in.”
The extensive root network of Pirojshanagar mangroves protects the eastern shoreline of Mumbai from erosion making it a stable habitat for wildlife and humans alike. This ecosystem protects and shelters rich biodiversity, making it a unique urban forest coexisting in harmony with industry. The local fisherfolk express their gratitude to mangroves for nurturing fish, prawn, crab and lobster species, their main source of livelihood.