With meaningful partnerships corporates engage all stakeholders to protect the planet
Bottom up approach
itc created the Integrated Natural Resource Management Programme with an aim to enhance the local ecological resource base to secure sustainable livelihoods for marginalised communities. The programme would ensure water security for all stakeholders through integrated watershed development; de-risk poor rural households through social forestry; build resilience to climate change threats through climate smart agriculture and livestock development; restore and enhance native floral and faunal biodiversity; and form community-based organisations to manage their resources.
The delivery model mobilises a three-way collaborative partnership between target communities, itc and specialist ngos. All of itc’s programmes are anchored in the creation of empowered Community Based Organisations (cbos) and are the key decision-makers at every stage of
Resource-poor farmers are mobilised into User Groups that are trained to carry out the entire activities, right from planning interventions to implementation of various activities, monitoring progress at all stages and subsequent maintenance. They are also trained to formulate regulations and fix user charges which are put in a Maintenance Fund used to maintain existing water harvesting structures and build new ones or build a corpus fund, used to extend loans and investments in community assets.
The focus is on building low-cost water-harvesting structures to build storage capacities, implementing soil and moisture conservation measures like bunds and trenches to minimise erosion and revegetating commons/wastelands/pastures to increase biomass cover as well as to revive and maintain natural biodiversity.
ngos selected for their domain expertise and grassroots experience function as Project Implementation Agencies. Extensive partnerships with government programmes and schemes, prompted by the success of itc’s integrated approach with its high potential for replicability and scalability, combined with its experience of working with multiple stakeholders. By 2016-17, itc had 26 such ppps.
Currently itc’s watershed projects cover over 785,000 acres in 46 districts across 12 states benefiting over 251,000 people. The plantations under itc’s Afforestation Programme cover over 627,200 acres with social forestry accounting for over 258,000 acres, benefiting over 96,500 tribal and marginal households in 19 districts across 6 states. Under the sustainable agriculture programme, over 34,700 compost units and 832 group irrigation wells and more than 3,650 sprinkler and drip sets are in operation to promote water-use efficiency. Biodiversity conservation initiative has covered 11,941 acres. Over 576,000 households have benefited from itc’s livestock development programme in 25 districts across 7 states. Mahindra Hariyali
Mahindra Hariyali is a tree plantation initiative of the Mahindra Group initiated on (the 62nd Founder’s Day) 2nd October 2007 with an initial target to plant one million trees in a year. The overwhelming response by Mahindra employees ensured that the target was surpassed by 22 per cent.
The success of the initial year led to a further commitment by the Mahindra group to plant and nurture one million trees every year. The group’s plantations are carried out by employees, their families, Mahindra dealers and associates. Strong and meaningful partnerships with various stakeholders in civil society and government ensured plantation and nurturing of these trees in the society at large. What started as a seed with top management’s vision is now bearing fruit.
Besides addressing the problem of limited space to plant sapling by holding plantation drives in schools, colleges and public places apart from waste lands, the Mahindra group partnered with Naandi Foundation for an agro forestry livelihood generation project in Araku Valley.
Nestled in the northwest region of Andra Pradesh, The Valley of Araku spreads over the grounds of adivasi tribal groups. In partnership with the adivasi community, the ‘Araku Valley Livelihoods Project’ helps the farmer families to create their own portfolio of fruit and forest trees that will sustain a healthy carbon rich ecosystem leading to overall prosperity.
This project affects the lives of over 100,000 people in 300 villages. Approximately five million trees have been planted across a terrain of 6,000 hectares. The project has been registered with Government of India under the Ministry of Environment as a carbon sequestration project.
The objective of the project is to increase the current average income of the tribal population in this region and nurture a vibrant forested ecosystem. It focuses on natural resource management and biodynamic/organic farming protocols as a means to increase community incomes, and to improve agricultural ecosystems for an overall well-being of the community. The total number of saplings planted in Araku exceeds over eight million as on 31 March 2017.
To ensure the success of the project, the company monitors survival rate of trees planted and undertakes replacement of saplings as and when required. The philosophy isn’t about how many plants are planted, but where and how one ensures that they live to nurture the environment.
The Mahindra Hariyali project is one of the most successful projects of the organisation and is aimed at ensuring that Mahindra contributes its bit to increasing plant cover in India. From 1,120,018 trees planted in 2007, currently Mahindra group has planted 13,403,896 trees. Of these, the survival rate is as high as 10 million.
Tree of life
MSPL, the flagship company of the Baldota Group, has been actively planting trees in and around its leased area since 1977. Its efforts were recognised in 2004 through the ‘Priyadarshini Vrikhmitra Award’ by the Government of India.
Every year the company carries out plantation of 20,000 saplings in its lease area. It also involves local school children and employees to actively participate in the afforestation programme under World Environment Day celebrations.
Road-side plantation drives are organised in various communities and towns. Tree plantations in schools are also conducted to create greener schools in the community.
Ensuring that the plants survive and grow-up to be robust trees is the key objective. Watering the plants regularly is the key challenge. Ensuring this responsibility is taken up by a voluntary organisations or individual in that locality is imperative for success.
MSPL has planted 1.9 million trees till date in and around its mines and surrounding communities. It has also planted more than 10,000 plants in Hospet, Koppal and surrounding villages, this programme created good impact among the local community and spurred other corporates to plan similar programmes to create greenery.
The company plans to plant another 100,000 trees by 2020 and support any necessary initiative for the sustenance of local biodiversity.
The RPG Foundation has partnered with the Pune Municipal Corporation to transform a leased two-acre barren area into a Biodiversity Park in Viman Nagar, Pune. The park is benchmarked to international standards and is both experiential and educative. The park supports 165 plant species (from 69 botanical families) comprising 33 trees species, 56 shrubs, 59 herbaceous plants and 17 climbers. Ten of these plant species belong to the rare, endemic and threatened category (RET). Through this experiential interaction, guided by helpful signages, visitors (including educational institutions) are able to appreciate the therapeutic influence that plants have as the source of various household remedies. The braille signages and the sensory aspects of smell, touch and taste help engage visually-challenged visitors. The park is rich not just in flora but also in fauna with 17 bird species, 15 butterfly species, eight dragonfly species, two
fish species, 10 insect species, one reptile species and one amphibian specie. The park gets over 400 visitors a day to either take a walk, learn about plants, experience them or simply engage in recreation. The Foundation has also taken the initiative in the locations it operates in to sensitize schools about water conser-vation and installed various rainwater harvesting systems.
Bajaj Electricals under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative established a small park, called as “Peace Park”, near Ranikhet, Almora district, Uttarakhand to commemorate the Kedarnath deluge of 2013. The aim of undertaking the project is to create awareness amongst local communities and school children, pilgrim and tourist about the fragility of ecosystems in the Himalaya and to conserve & protect biodiversity. Local women self help groups planted and maintained special trees like deodar, wild cherry, wild apricots and others around the pavilion in the area earmarked as the Peace Park.
The tree plantations sites are identified by Bajaj Electricals employees and NGO partners. The plantations are done across India at locations such as schools, colleges, central police canteens, roadside, wasteland, watershed and community farms for economic weaker farmers who can benefit from tree planting. The employees carry out tree plantation and take full ownership of the tree planted and maintenance.
Under a long term sustainable organic farming model village plots fruit-bearing trees are planted to help local farmers to increase their source of income.
For a better flow
The company aims to establish model sites for harnessing the potential of rain-fed areas by adopting integrated water resource management approach, to enhance water availability and its (green and blue water) use efficiency and to build capacity of farmers in the region for improving rural livelihood through knowledge sharing and dissemination.
The project was conceived as a long term intervention plan in association with ‘International Crops Research Institute for Semi Arid Tropics (icrisat)’ for about 10,000 hectares of land in two semi-arid regions, Vijayapura district (Karnataka) and Kurnool district (Andhra Pradesh). Lofty goals of enhancing water table, modernising agri-ecosystem and developing it as a model site for learning could not have been realised without widespread public support.
Realising this, the company initiated rapport-building measures, through awareness camps and multiple interactions were undertaken. Expectations, advises and concerns from local stakeholders were addressed. A committee, comprising of stakeholders, was constituted to carry out work. Optimum participation of concerned villagers was ensured so that a sense of ownership and attachment develops.
The company has seen an increase in water table, round the year water availability, as well as increased agro productivity in the range of 10-22 per cent in the areas.