Hindustan Zinc pays Environmental Compensation and also gets a Good Ranking for the same project?
What’s the credibility of Corporate Sustainability Assessment ranking? Recently, a song of Hindustan Zinc’s green glory was echoing. S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment has ranked Hindustan Zinc 3rd Globally in the metal and mining sector. Of Course, there is a footnote that the ranking is subject to change as 27% of companies invited to S&P ESG Indices await their ESG scores. Meanwhile, the company has certainly tried to garner a positive image with the latest rankings, as the company has stated to have retained its top ranking in the Asia Pacific region for the 4th consecutive year. And, a Press Release states that the ranking is a testimony to Hindustan Zinc’s continuous progress to create value and improve lives through sustainable and responsible mining. Provides detailed ESG benchmarking insights to better integrate sustainability and business strategy.
Who is S&P Global? It’s a company that serves corporate majors. As described by S & P Global itself, its findings may be used as a tool by which a company can gauge the financial materiality of their ESG performance and connect ESG with business value drivers. ESG stands for Environment, Social and Governance. But it is widely used as a magnet to attract investors.
Hindustan Zinc, a Vedanta Group Company, further narrates itself as one of the world’s largest and India’s only integrated producer of Zinc-Lead and Silver. The Company has its headquarters at Udaipur in the State of Rajasthan where it has its Zinc-Lead mines and smelting complexes. The Company is ranked 1st in Asia-Pacific and globally 5th in Dow Jones Sustainability Index in 2021 amongst Mining & Metal companies.
On the contrary, the company Hindustan Zinc Ltd. had to pay Environmental Compensation Charges due to litigation in the National Green Tribunal vide Original Application No. 226/2020 Om Puri Applicant versus Hindustan Zinc Ltd. & Ors., and also a Review Application No. 06/2022. An excerpt of the NGT Order may be quoted as “having regard to the violations/damage by the PP and overall estimated cost of ecological rehabilitation and restoration and financial capacity of the PP, we require the PP to deposit a sum of ₹25 crore with the District Magistrate, Bhilwara within three months to meet the cost of remediation measures.”
Further, in the process of verification, the Joint Committee reported that “As per the factual situation of the compliance status observed by the committee during field visit on 12th July 2021 The green cover was observed less dense (<1500 tree/hectare)”. It was a violation of the condition XVI specified in the Environmental Clearance issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (now Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change) dated 11th December 2009 “The density of the trees should be around 1500 plants per hectare.” The committee that carried out a field visit brought out that less dense plantations may be considered as the major non-compliance during the last 3 years with respect to the Environmental Clearance condition. Accordingly a monetary value of ₹90 Lakh was charged against Hindustan Zinc Ltd. for violating the Environmental Clearance, 2009 specific condition no. xvi. Interestingly, the greenbelt report was prepared by a company, which was not primarily into taxonomy services. The company could have engaged the local or nearest educational institution(s) to execute the work and thereby exemplified its responsibility towards society for capacity development, and tangible contribution towards education.
So, when a company that violates the Government's Approval conditions for which it has to pay Compensation can get a good score in terms of Environment and Governance?How can a company get a good score in terms of Social Standard, when it forces people of the Society to seek Justice from the Court of Law? The Certification process seems to be having flaws. Or the people involved are incapable of understanding. Investors must look into these aspects. Though, the amount of compensation charged against the company was very scanty as compared to its financials, people must not forget movements against Tata Nano, POSCO, Enron like projects. Most importantly, investors must follow reports of Government Committees to ascertain compliance status. Even, spendings under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Funds and Corporate Environmental Responsibility (CER) Funds are not the right scale to measure a company’s approach towards the Society. Sometimes, such CSR and CER funds are created against serious non-compliances.
Improve Delhi NCR Transport Infra to control air pollution
“The smell of petrol, it just dominates everything. We live on a planet that is not built for sustainable traveling." was posted in Reuters as the Quote of the Day on 31st October 2022. Charlotte Bruneau’s article “Busking Brit crosses Iraq on his way to COP27 without flying” highlights Dan Hodd leaving Spain a month ago and was cycling through busy Baghdad, with a violin on his back and maps in his bag, as he headed to the COP27 climate talks in Egypt that he firmly intends to reach without flying.
SPCBs, UTPCCs must review Ops.
The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has changed its Consent Management procedure. The Board has limited the Powers of its Regional Offices in disposing of the Consent Applications filed under Section 25/26 of the Water Act, 1974 and Section 21 of the Air Act, 1981. Now, the Regional Officers of KSPCB are entrusted with disposal of Consent Applications for the industries and projects listed under the Green Category. The Consent Applications filed under the Orange Category shall be taken up by the Regional Senior Environmental Officers. The Consent Applications under Red Category shall be deliberated by the Chairman of the Board. In case of Small and Medium Industries under Red Category the Board’s Chairman shall have his individual decision. However, in the cases of large Scale Industries and projects falling under Red Category of Consent Management, the Chairman shall obtain recommendation from the State Level Enforcement Committee.
Looking at India’s ESG Landscape
Every business enterprise is deeply intertwined with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) matters. The term ESG originated from a study of “Who cares Wins” in 2005. ESG is primarily defined as a triple-bottom-line approach that combines financial gains adhering to social and environmental norms. Though, it is scientifically proven that waste reduction leads to better environmental performance, also profitability thereby, ESG is often viewed as a non-financial performance of an enterprise and builds insight into long-term value.
Green Consumerism, at what cost?
Retail has and is evolving. Increasingly, one aspect of this new ‘under the hood’ perspective focuses on ‘Sustainability’ and ‘Environmental Footprint’. Olivia Montgomery, an associate principal analyst at Capterra, has shared a blog on 15th September 2022, which tells that despite rampant inflation and the host of other factors impacting consumer sentiment, Americans want to buy products that are safe and healthy not only for themselves, but also for our planet and society. Her study shows that in 2022, 95% of surveyed consumers consider the sustainability of a product to be important. And more consumers are putting their money where their mouth is: 84% of these consumers have purchased a sustainable product in the past six months, up from 67% in 2021. Tom Morris, a Senior Trends Analyst at GWI, in his blog says “Age plays no role here, with scientists leading the way across every generation.” He also describes “While India is the only exception by country, influence is split quite evenly between friends/family (51%), climate activists (48%), and scientists (46%).” Read more
STP sludge disposal needs a review
Heading for Water Wars?
Published in our print edition dated 24th August 2022
Consider e-waste pricing
Published in our print edition dated 17th August 2022
Blind Selling of Blue Gold
Published in our print edition dated 3rd August 2022
Kovind’s Concerns over Environment
Published in our print edition dated 27th July 2022
The new CAQM order and its impact on Paper Mills
Published in our print edition dated 20th July 2022
The new order prohibits any industry in the National Capital Region (NCR) to use coal for generation of steam in boilers both for process heat requirements as well as captive power generation. This has resulted in a critical situation for paper mills in the region.
Presently, coal is being used as fuel for steam generation. Steam provides heat to dry paper as well as in some of the mills to run turbines that generate electricity for the mill requirements. In absence of coal, biomass is an alternate fuel- not available in adequate quantities. Furthermore, the existing boilers which have been designed to run on coal cannot generate steam with desired pressure to run turbines; using biomass as fuel. Subscribe and take your copy for further reading
Environmental Labs Masking Data
NABL must ensure Data Quality
Published in our print edition dated 13th July 2022
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been emphasising quality of life, quality of education, quality of products. In his 2021 Independence Day Speech, the Prime Minister deliberated on even moving a step further than attaining highest quality standards in order to sustain in the global competition. He stated “I want to say emphatically to all the manufacturers of the country, that you should never forget that the product you sell overseas is not just a product made by your company, it is the identity of our nation, India's prestige and the faith of all the citizens of our country.”
Though, Prime Minister didn’t categorically mention Service #Quality, it has an equal importance in everyday life as well. It is an integral part of manufacturing.
On searching, the definition of Quality is described in many ways - “fitness for use,” “customer satisfaction,” “doing things right the first time,” or “zero defects.” Webster’s dictionary defines quality as “a degree of excellence” and “superiority in kind”.
When it comes to the subject of environment, quality of both products and services matter. On one hand, such products may be pollution control devices used in manufacturing plants to treat Subscribe and take your copy for further reading
Property Tax linked to Good Environment
Published in our print edition dated 6th July 2022
Environmental issues have always been addressed from the top. In fact, when the Ministry of Environment and Forest was created for the first time, the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi himself was in charge of the Ministry.
On 1st July 2022, Lieutenant Governor of Delhi shared a social media message on Twitter “Unseemly Mountains of Garbage surround Delhi. Stinking heaps over 50m high in the Capital are not only grave health hazards but a National Shame!”
The LG sought suggestions and participation from Delhitees in the efforts to take out Delhi of over 28 million MT of waste. There were 159 comments till this write-up was prepared. Subscribe and take your copy for further reading
Ban all Sachets for good environment
Published in our Print edition dated 29th June 2022
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has released a list of single-use plastic items prohibited from 1st July 2022. The list has four categories (1) Plastic Sticks (2) Cutlery Items (3) Packaging / Wrapping Films and (4) Other items. Sachets used for packaging of shampoos, oils, and many other domestic products are not listed anywhere.
However, CPCB has stated that as per the Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules, 2016, there is a complete ban on sachets using plastic material used for storing, packing or selling gutkha, tobacco and pan masala. This is a good work, half done. The #sachets are widely associated with ketchup to cosmetics, from laundry detergent to seasoning and snacks. These sachets pose a greater threat to the environment. Not only the plastic wastes cause environmental concerns. Also, the left away residue inside the sachets add to the fury of plastic waste by degrading soil and water quality.
According to Reuters, London-listed Unilever plc (ULVR.L), a pioneer in selling sachets, has privately fought to derail bans on the problematic packaging despite saying publicly it wants to get rid of them. Unilever's India Subscribe and take your copy for further reading
Climate, Water and Amrit Sarovars
Published in our Print edition dated 22nd June 2022
NABET, Attention Please
Published in our Print edition dated 15th June 2022
World Accreditation Day (WAD) is observed on 9th June. WAD was jointly initiated by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) with an aim to raise awareness of the importance of accreditation-related activities.
Soil: The Chemical, Physical & Biological Powerhouse
Why so much silence?
People rarely discussing Biological Diversity, Wildlife Protection Amendment Bills
Noise Pollution Insights
Resizing Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary
Published in our 4th May 2022 Print Edition
Boost C&D Wastes Recycling to curb Sand Mining
Published in our 27th April 2022 Print Edition
Sand plays an indispensable part in human life. It has a major role in construction. Though the required quantity is too less, it also has a place in rituals. Even then, it’s too difficult to define sand on a scientific line. Sand is a naturally occurring granular material composed of finely divided rock and mineral particles between 150 micron to 4.75 mm in diameter (Indian Standard Specification IS 383-1970). Sand is formed due to weathering of rocks due to mechanical forces. In the process the weathered rocks form gravel and then sand. Read more free of cost
World Heritage Forests, Carbon Sinks
Published in our 20th April 2022 Print Edition
Since 1982, International Day for Monuments and Sites has been observed on 18th April. This year’s theme is Heritage and Climate. The theme has wider relevance as climate change is one of the defining issues of current time, and among the greatest threats facing cultural and natural.
Differentiate CER from CSR to make it effective
Green Governance must for Good Health
6th April 2022
Theme of World Health Day this year is Our Planet, Our Health. Very justified, and judicious. The corona pandemic is not yet over. The planet is becoming increasingly polluted day by day. Diseases like cancer, asthma, heart disease, et al are on the rise. In such a situation, on World Health Day 2022, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is focussing global attention on urgent actions needed to keep humans and the planet healthy and foster a movement to create societies focused on well-being.
States, UTs ignoring importance of CBWTD?
Published in our Print Edition on 30th March 2022
Controlling Air Pollution Data
Published in our Print Edition on 16th March 2022
Top Indians leaders have been reiterating India’s commitment towards environmental conservation. Basic environmental awareness has increased in several parts of the country. Weak areas are successfully identified by activists and media. Now, environmental issues are often discussed in both the Houses of Parliament. In spite of so much focus from everyone, authentic and valid environmental data has remained a major concern. On 14th March 2022, while replying to questions raised by Ashok Kumar Rawat, Member of Parliament, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav mentioned that there is no established mechanism for ranking the cities in terms of pollution. It also requires authentic data and proper peer review. Several private institutions and universities rank cities by adopting different methodologies, different sets of data and using different weightage to parameters. The Union Minister also stated that the data used for ranking is extracted primarily from satellite imageries, which are not validated by proper ground truthing. And, easy access to similar unreliable data affects perception and beliefs of common mass. Advertise/ Subscribe to read more
Something About Hydroinformatics
Water security is a major – and growing – challenge for many countries today. The global population is spiralling, and estimates show that with current practices, the world will face a 40% shortfall between forecasted demand and available supply of water by 2030. Feeding 9 billion people by 2050 would require a 60% increase in agricultural production, which consumes 70% of water resources today, and a 15% increase in water withdrawals. More free reading
Basics of Fuel Hydrogen
Are Solar Projects Really Environment-friendly?
Quit Cigarette for Climate
16th February 2022
In a move to fight against microplastics, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Secretariat of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) are ...
It generates 55 Mt wastewater. The sector’s annual climate change impact at 84 Mt CO2 eq is comparable to entire countries’ emissions and 0.2% of the global ..
Why HSPCB displayed a trader’s product to Union Ministers?
Amidst the reigning, though diminishing fear of Corona, on the eve of World Wetlands Day 2022, a national level programme was organised at Sultanpur National Park, which falls within the ambit of Haryana’s Gurugram District administration. Quite close to New Delhi. The Chief Minister of Haryana presided over the function. Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav as Chief Guest, and the Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ashwani Kumar Choubey as Special Guest, graced the special occasion. It was a limited, but meaningful gathering. Children from school also participated. A few stalls of exhibition were also there. Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) and Hero MotoCorp were on the most prominent spots from the entry point. Haryana State Biodiversity Board, Haryana Pond and Wastewater Management Authority, Maharashtra Bamboo Development Board from Nagpur were among others. Subscribe to read more
One of the major aspects of the complaint was about the excess mining beyond the permissible limit and throughout day and night. Also, mining beyond the designated lease area. The NGT also observed in its order dated 2nd December 2020 that the most glaring illegality was to grant Consent to Operate (CTO) by the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) Subscribe to read more
Tribute to India’s Iconic Tigress
19th January 2022
India is home to more than 70% of the world's tigers. As per latest estimates, tiger population in India stood at 2,967. Madhya Pradesh is house to maximum 526 tigers, followed by Karnataka’s 524. Tiger is our national and culture heritage and therefore revered by many Nationals as its National Animal.