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Sustainability Does Not End At Ecological Sustenance For Us: Jagdish Toshniwal, MD, Wonder Cement

Sustainability does not end at the ecological sustenance but is also extended to the people i.e. Human sustainability

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Last week, Carbon Disclosure Project revealed its study on the cement sector, and advocated that the cement sector should do a lot more to reduce their emissions and ecological impact. In an exclusive interview with BW Businessworld, Jagdish Chandra Toshniwal, Managing Director, Wonder Cement discusses how they integrate sustainability in to their practices to reduce their ecological footprint. Edited excerpts:

How is the Rajasthan unit of Wonder Cement integrating sustainability into their operations?

Wonder Cement is a strong believer of sustainable development. And we incorporate this belief not just in our operations at plant site but also in the CSR initiatives. We have deployed below initiatives towards sustainability –

a) Power Efficiency – We have deployed initiatives apart from thermal power sources such as solar power & wind power, which contribute nearly 25% of the total power requirement of Wonder Cement. Usage of such renewable power sources contributes to less dependence on Thermal sources of power which in turn minimizes the dependences on fossil fuels. To further encourage such power sources, we are continually looking for expansion in non-thermal power. In addition to above, we are also focused towards reducing the power consumption for the manufacturing process. We have been successful in doing so for the past 2 years and are committed towards the same in future. 

b) Recycling –

(i) Waste Heat recovery system (WHRS) - It generates power using the heat produced by the equipment’s used for cement manufacturing process, which otherwise would go as waste in the environment.

(ii) Waste Water Recycling – The sewage water is treated and reused again in power generation system and for the watering the green belt developed throughout the plant site.

c) Use of Fly Ash – Fly ash utilization in our cement manufacturing process has dual benefits. Firstly, fly ash, being a waste of Thermal power plants if not used would be disposed off in landfills or ash ponds which harms the atmosphere. We use it in cement manufacturing process, thus protecting the environment. Secondly, fly ash usage reduces the clinker consumption which in turn reduces the usage of limestone reserves.

d) Wonder Green Initiative – We have successfully done plantation under our CSR program at our nearby villages, thus promoting green and clean environment. Also under the same initiative farmer development program is conducted where we educate the farmers on effective farming technologies.

e) Sustainability does not end at the ecological sustenance but is also extended to the people i.e. Human sustainability. Via our CSR activities, we aim at educating people in our nearby villages and making them financially independent. We also make sure that they also understand the importance of environmental protection and develop an attitude to include the idea of protecting nature for future generations in all their day to day activities. A sense of social responsibility is well nurtured in all the internal stakeholders of our organization as well.

f) Extending on the topic of human sustainability we have deployed below initiatives – 

a. Wonder ‘Hunar’. Under this, we – 

  (i) aim at developing self-help groups
  (ii) promote smalls scale industries for the people in nearby villages
  (iii) trained more than 300 women & girls in stitching, woolen cloth making, Agarbatti making through semi-automatic machines
  (iv) provide Training in basic Computer skills to people

b. Wonder ‘Udaan’ – 

   (i) Which is focused towards renovating government schools
   (ii) Felicitation of meritorious students of primary & elementary classes.

c. Wonder ‘Arogyam’ – conducting weekly medical & health camps in nearby villages. 

Is Wonder Cement exploring more sustainable material for its purposes, like hemp-crete?

We as an organization emphasize on innovation in our process which is not only motivated towards reducing the input cost but also aims at eliminating the waste produced at many levels in our ecological system. For this, we do not hesitate to incur capital expenditure and are consistently making changes in our equipment’s making them consistent with the entrant of new raw materials. 

Mustard Husk – we are currently feeding it in the captive power plant which is a partial replacement of traditional fuel viz. coal/ pet coke. With the successful implementation in power plant, we are modifying our kiln where the Mustard Husk can be used as a certain percentage of coal.

What is unique about Wonder Cement’s sustainability initiatives?

Uniqueness is a noun and when used by a person/ organization in its daily activities then such process is termed unique, which is an adjective. And the journey from this noun to adjective is very long and continuous. So yes, we are always taking initiative which makes the environment safe, clean and green around us and a better place to work for people associated with us. We take the term sustainability to the very core of our organizations’ philosophy and make sure that our initiatives towards sustainability are not only reflected in the environment around us but also in the internal stakeholders that are associated with us. Through this philosophy, we aim to change the way people live. Everyone associated with us must have the attitude for environmental awareness. This in large affects the society around them and continues in a chain reaction thereafter. Several initiatives such as wonder Arogyam, Wonder Hunar, Wonder Udaan etc. are among such initiatives which are aimed towards the betterment of society at large.

How is Wonder Cement contributing towards a circular economy?

Circular economy is a process that we all contribute towards daily. Part of the contribution is made via discarding the use of certain products which cannot be recycled thus reducing the pile of waste produced by the economy. And another approach is to collect the waste in a systematic manner which can be used again in some form or other, reducing the speed of depletion of natural resources. We at Wonder Cement follow both the approaches. We limit the use of non-recyclable items which are well known to us and we also endeavour that such items are not encouraged beyond necessity, in our premises. Coming to the recycling part, we have Waste Water Treatment plant, which recycles the wastewater produced, and such water is again used in our power plant and for watering the green belt areas maintained in our premises.

The waste produced by other industries such as Chemical Gypsum produced by Dyes & dyes intermediate industries, Gypsum molds produced by ceramic industries, Alumina salt produced by chemical industry and iron sludge being produced by paints & chemical industries are the by-products from such industries and are hazardous to the environment. We have necessary permissions and procedure to use such waste thus eliminating these wastes out of our economy directly.

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