A new lease of life for 188 trees at the HCCB factory in Khorda Industrial Area

Bhubaneswar: Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages (HCCB), one of India’s top FMCG companies successfully accomplished a unique project – that of relocating 188, significantly aged, fully grown trees, to a new location within its factory in the Khorda Industrial area. This is in contrast to the standard practice of cutting and then undertaking compensatory plantation. This initiative has drawn significant appreciation and goodwill from the community and stakeholders including members of the state government administration.

This unique project was necessitated when the factory needed to expand the utility capacity by installing a 12 TPH briquette fired boiler and shift the existing 6 TPH furnace oil based boiler to an adjacent location. This location had the 188 trees that had grown to significant girth. While the company first consulted the Divisional Forest Office to seek permission to cut these trees and then do compensatory plantation, it also started to work on a plan to relocate them instead of cutting. A project team was put in place, which explored all the nuances. It finally identified some vacant patches within the existing 12.99-acre green belt at the factory. Since this vacant patch had uneven surfaces, it was first levelled and made suitable for replantation of trees. Pits of sufficient depth were prepared to accommodate the entire root system of the trees. Plantation experts studied and did the assessment of the root patterns. Subsequently, the trimming of the branches of bigger trees was done to facilitate shifting. A team of professional gardeners was utilised. Under the supervision of professionals, JCBs were deployed for uprooting and replanting the trees to pre excavated pits. All this work was carried out while it rained to maximise the survival rate.

Reflecting on the initiative, G. Ganesh, Factory Manager, Khorda, HCCB, said, “Our working theory at HCCB is that we want to leave things better than we first inherited. And often times, this means thinking and doing things very differently from the established ways. Of course, doing things the right way can be time and energy intensive, but we were willing to go the extra mile. Today, it gives us such a sense pleasure to see that we could protect these 188 fully grown trees. I am immensely thankful to the project team and the employees at the factory for demonstrating that industrial activity can go hand-in-hand with sustainability. I also thank the forest officials for their continuous support and encouragement to this project.”

Post relocation of the trees, the Company once again informed the District Forest office. A team of officials visited the area and inspected. The office appreciated HCCB’s initiative and so did IDCO.