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Towards Greener Environment by Anand Wadadekar & Monika Bhardwaj

Carbon Credit – For Environmental Management

Environmental Management:

Environmental management is not merely managing the environment but it’s the management of human interaction with; and impact upon the environment in order to conserve the environment for mankind’s sake. Managing environment is the biggest issue these days which is being faced by everyone everywhere across the globe. Initially, the Environmental Law was perceived as one of the most important tools of environmental management. However, Protection of environment from degradation has now not just remained a legal issue but a management issue as well.

It is observed that mere compliance of environmental law on paper does not result in effective control of pollution. An alternate paradigm for pollution abatement for more effective methods of environmental control beyond traditional “command-and-control (CAC)” style regulation is to use economic instruments (EIs) or market-based instruments (MBIs). Introduction of market based instruments will help to reduce emission of pollutants, pollution and will surely increase social responsibility of industries. Eco-taxes, tradable emission limits and negotiated agreements are some of the types of instruments which can be used effectively and efficiently.

In India, environmental management is largely carried out at the state level. This is true for natural resources such as forests and land as well as for air, water quality and solid waste pollution.

Green and Grey Products:

Almost every product has multiple environmental impacts. The products and their manufacturing processes, consume energy, use renewable and non-renewable material and generate emissions. A product is ‘green’ when its environmental and societal performance, in production, use and disposal, is significantly improved and improving in comparison to conventional or competitive product offerings, i.e. they are sustainable from the environmental point of view. A Green Product is environmentally preferable and leaves minimum environment footprints.

When a product is unsustainable from the environmental point of view, it is termed as ‘grey’.

Market Based Instruments (MBI) for Environmental Benefits:  “Market Based Instruments refer to the environmental policies which encourage change in technology, behaviour or products through financial incentives like subsidies, taxes, price differentiation or market creation.”

Carbon Credit – As one of the most effective MBI:

A Carbon CreditA permit that allows the holder to emit one ton of carbon dioxide; Credits are awarded to countries or groups that have reduced their green house gases (GHG) below their emission quota. Its goal is to stop the increase of carbon dioxide emissions. The Kyoto Protocol presents nations with the challenge of reducing greenhouse gases and storing more carbon. A nation that finds it hard to meet its target of reducing GHG could pay another nation to reduce emissions by an appropriate quantity. The carbon credit system was ratified in conjunction with the Kyoto Protocol.

For example, if an environmentalist group plants enough trees to reduce emissions by one ton, the group will be awarded a credit. If a steel producer has an emissions quota of 10 tons, but is expecting to produce 11 tons, it could purchase this carbon credit from the environmental group. The carbon credit system looks to reduce emissions by having countries honor their emission quotas and offer incentives for being below them.

Indian Initiatives for environmental management:

Comparing the globally placed carbon trade, India seems nowhere near. However, Policy Statement for Abatement of Pollution, 1992 by the Government favours the use of MBIs for pollution control, wherever feasible. In the recent years, compulsion to comply with Euro II emission norms is a very confident step towards controlling air pollution. It has now become essential for companies to make environmental considerations as a part of their business decision making.

The enactment of the Information Technology Act, 2000 has enabled the industry to kick-start the use of electronic mode as a valid legal medium for carrying out its business operations which were until now done compulsorily on paper. This includes initiatives like MCA e-filing, Income Tax e-filing, SEBI Reporting and other electronic communications via, emails and video conferencing.

What we professionals can do?

India is still not a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, which in a way, is a road-block for effectively carrying out environmental management by the industries. Currently companies like Jindal Stainless, Essar Steel, Hyderabad Chemicals, Paschim Hydro Energy P. Ltd, The Andhra Pradesh Paper Mills Ltd, have been making use of market based instruments like Carbon Credits in their businesses. It is a need of the hour for Company Secretaries, Chartered Accountants, Lawyers, Cost Accountants and other Management professionals to put up their say in the management of their respective organisations (financial, manufacturing or services) and be a part of the decision making more proactively & aggressively.

At the organisation level:

  1.  The various industry Chambers like FICCI, ASSOCHAM, CII should take-up the issue of introducing market based instruments like Carbon Credits through a legal framework with the Government. These trade organizations can also come up with some award program to the Companies which religiously follow the norms. Such award program will work as a motivating factor in the industry to adopt the norms suo-moto.
  2. Introduction of corporate-run carbon funds
  3. Introduction of Government-run carbon programmes
  4. We, professionals, should stress upon and make the company management aware of the benefits of such market based instruments
  5. Awards like ‘Best Green Idea’ for employees coming up with suggestions; ideas, ways, etc. should be introduced.
  6. Ask the management of our respective organisations to take help of the MBIs wherever feasible.
  7. Computer-based entrance tests for educational courses.
  8. Organizations can also come up with policies for reducing wastes like for encouragement of use of metal water bottle in the organization in place of plastic water bottles which is sanitary, easy to clean and is capable of being used over and over.
  9. Organizations can also encourage use of reusable lunch bags / cups etc. in their cafeteria / lunch rooms which helps in avoiding use of plastic / paper, use of hand towels in toilets and lunch rooms instead of paper towels and electric dryers.

On individual level, we professionals can contribute in the following way:

  1. We, professionals, can help our respective organizations in implementing effective waste management systems. We can also assist in registering our manufacturing units under Indian Green Building Council and products under Bureau of Energy Efficiency voluntarily; though for some the registration is mandatory.
  2. Internal policies may also help in encouraging paperless communications, use of common transport etc. as far as possible. Such policies may atleast ensure minimum use of paper (double side printing), avoidance of wastage and re-cycling of waste paper and therefore, saving trees – a natural resource.
  3. We can also assist in encouraging our fellows in full utilization of software applications, for example execution of daily work in soft copies rather than printing (Eg. Excel Macros for data processing, analysis, etc.). This way, we will solve two problems i.e. space for storage of physical records and availability/ accessibility of all records at a centralized server hence, reducing dependence on human factor. We all are aware that most of the official communications can be done through email/video conferences. We professionals can advise our managements / fellow employees to adopt such practices.
  4. We, professionals, need to refer to many laws for which we purchase bulky books every year. Here, we can purchase CDs instead of those books, which will reduce substantial use of paper and storage and will be easy to use.
  5. We can also adopt and advise good practices of reducing carbon footprint for example using CNG gas in our cars, maximum use of public transport system.
  6. We can advise our managements to come up with policies to reduce wastages, be it paper, electricity or any other. Policies on travels can also be modified to discourage air travel at all levels of management. A small change can add a big thing to the concept of “Go Green”.

Conclusion:

It’s the need of the hour to think very seriously on reducing environment loss by religiously following & implementing and innovating techniques & ways to contain the same. This is a high time to call a revolution for reducing carbon footprint in order to preserve what’s left of the ozone layer, which is a protective layer between sun’s harsh ultra violet rays and the living beings. Otherwise, the day is not far when the world will be full of hunger; sun burnt, blind people, scary sounds and many more incurable diseases.

About the Author

Monika Bhardwaj, B.Com, ACS, Gurgaon Anand Wadadekar, M.Com, M.A (Eco), MBA, AMFI, Pune

What is sustainable development?

Brundtland Commission report published ‘Our Common Future, was published by Oxford ‘University Press in 1987defined the differences between sustainability and sustainable development:

Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Accordingly SD a pattern of resource use that preserves the environment but meets human needs now and in the future. It about striking a balance between economic and social aspirations and the environmental limits to growth. It suggests modes of operation that can be maintained indefinably. It encompasses notions of diversity and replenishment and at its simplest can be regarded as a form of human that can be maintained within a self replenishing contxt.

The terms ‘sustainability’ and ‘sustainable development’ are increasingly becoming part of our everyday language, but even those well informed on the subject sometimes have difficulty articulating what they mean. It’s really not that difficult. Sustainability is the destination, an end-state, and sustainable development is a means of getting there. It’s all about striking the right balance when making decisions, ensuring that our economic and social aspirations are achieved within environmental limits.
Put simply, it’s about leaving the world in a better condition than we found it in.

Renewable energy sources more imagined than real

Renewable energy sources more imagined than real

We are often attracted to renewable sources as there seems an almost unlimited amount of potential energy available if only we can get our hands on it. We often we hear of proponents of renewable sources coming up with fantastic pools of resource at high efficiencies that we can access at no (apparent) cost. Take for example tidal energy. The amount of energy in tidal power generated by the gravitational energy of (mainly) the moon comes to a total of about 3.5 terawatt hours (1012) which seems at first sight a great deal of energy but is in fact only 20% of the global demand in total. Furthermore there are twenty places in the world where tidal flow exceeds the around 1.5 meters per sec at peak flow which would be sufficient to drive a turbine farm which means the actual accessible power is very small (and periodic) at around 200 gigawatt’s (109) of available energy – or around one thousandth of the available energy supply. So there is in principle a large amount of energy there but unfortunately we are unable to access it in any reasonable way.
I was drawn to these interesting facts in the New Scientist after a meeting where it was proposed to me that if we could all have Sterling engines installed in our homes and drive them with natural gas instead of the big power generators doing it for us we could enjoy 95% efficiencies in conversion as against the around 30% the best generators achieve. However this was a mistake and would breach the laws of thermo dynamics if it were true as a typical sterling engine has a thermal efficiency of between 20 to 30% which is nicely comparable to a car engine but not I am afraid in the 90% range. Given that most Sterling engines require exotic materials and tend to be quite expensive I doubt this is a starter in cost terms alone – although up to 150 or so KW that might be in the running for a home generator utilising waste head from the house say in summer (acting as a air conditioner).

As so often is the case spokespeople appear every so often extolling the virtues of a green half baked idea when the engineering aspects almost always rules out getting anywhere near such stratospheric benefits. We have only to look at wind power, many of the turbines operate as miserable efficiencies and blight the landscape for miles around. What is needed is a bit more evidence based evaluation and a little less hype and hope.

Roy

Planning a Green Christmas

Planning a Green Christmas

The song tells of a white Christmas, but that refers to the weather and the Christmasy atmosphere that snow can bring. Planning for a green Christmas is all about being environmentally active and aware while saving money as well. In times of economic uncertainty that must surely be a good thing. And of course, if the weather brings a little bit of white covering too, then that makes a green Christmas perfect!

Exchanging gifts is a common practice at Christmas, and this is an excellent place to start our green Christmas habits. The gift wrapping paper sold in stores is usually not recyclable. Most of it is immediately thrown away to end up in landfills. This makes gift wrapping with store-bought paper expensive and very unfriendly to the planet – not what we want for a green Christmas.

A much better alternative, and one that close relatives will appreciate, is to use your children’s artwork to wrap gifts. You could also use your children’s comic books, or the comic sections of newspapers as a bright and colorful alternative, thereby recycling old paper. You can explain to the recipient of the gift in a positive way why you are doing this and perhaps make them feel guilty for not having a green Christmas as well.

It has been calculated by the Sierra Club, America’s oldest and largest environmental organization, that if every family in the country gift wrapped just three gifts by recycling existing paper they already have, the paper saved would be enough to cover 45,000 football fields. Now, that’s a green Christmas and a whole lot of trees saved too!

If you plan to hang a wreath on your front door. consider making one yourself. It’s easy and very environmentally friendly – and you’ll save money too. Go into the forest, or even a nearby park, and find evergreen branches and dried twigs. These can be wrapped in a circular fashion with cranberries strung together to add a splash of bright color. You’ll surprise yourself at how good you are, it won’t cost you anything but a little time, and the materials are all fully biodegradable. Your green Christmas can’t get much better than that.

There are many more things you can do to make this a green Christmas. Consider making your own cards, for example. Use your children’s artwork again – it’s perfect for this and grandparent will love it. You can use LED lights on your tree (which should be a real one that can be planted out later) and you will save 90% on your green Christmas electricity bill. If you start thinking about it I’m sure you will come up with other great ideas for a green Christmas.

5 tips on how to go green at work

How To Go Green At Work And Save Cash

Every business, small or large, should be thinking of how to go green at work in order to save money and the environment at the same time. Workers can be wasteful at work. Sometimes it’s because they are not paying for their carelessness, or maybe because their boss doesn’t care either. Knowing how to go green at work, at least a little bit, is invaluable. We should all be doing it and we can easily do it too.

Here are 5 simple tip to help…

  1. The office printer is one appliance in the work place where you can start learning how to go green at work. Paper comes from trees. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, preventing it from accumulating in the atmosphere and adding to the global greenhouse effect. You can cut paper usage in half at a single stroke by simply printing on both sides of every sheet of paper. That’s one example of how to go green at work and save money too!
  2. Business travel costs a huge fortune every year. This is not how to go green at work. No one travels by bicycle, or walks to meetings. No, they travel in huge gas-guzzling jets, or along highways in comfortable cars. Business travel puts a considerable strain on the planet. The answer? Use video conferencing as much as possible. With a good high speed Internet connection and a decent web cam, you can speak to anyone anywhere in the world. There’s a good choice of conferencing software available, and all at a mere fraction of jet travel.
  3. Work from home. That answers the question of how to go green at work by cutting down on office expenses. You heat your home anyway, and as long as you have the necessary communications needed to do your job, then why not work from home! Of course, if you’re a truck driver, or a circus clown, it may be more difficult.
  4. Invoice by email. This is one of the simplest ways of how to go green at work. As in tip number one, you save on paper, and a lot of paper too. Let your customers have the option to pay online of possible. The more you can do electronically that has traditionally been done with paper, the more the planet will benefit, and you’ll save money too.
  5. Use laptops rather than stand alone computers and monitors. A laptop will consume around 50 watts of energy while in use compared to a computer and monitor, which consumes around 270 watts of energy. Also, have all laptops set so that they go to sleep if not used for more than 15 minutes. Screensavers do not save money. Quite the opposite; they use more! How to go green at work and save a lot of money? Switch off all computers and laptops when not in use. If all businesses did this they would save enough to power the city of Chicago for one year!