ITC Chairman Mr. Sanjiv Puri reinforces the Company’s Sustainability 2.0 Vision at the firm’s 110th Annual General Meeting

New Delhi: In his AGM address Mr. Sanjiv Puri, Chairman and Managing Director, ITC Ltd, shared his Vision on ITC Next: Reimagining Business for the Redefined Future. Relevant Excerpts from the speech is below:

The pandemic has brought to the fore the critical need to address sustainability challenges as we collectively resolve to build back better.

While India has made commendable progress in its commitments for the Nationally Determined Contributions, collective efforts can lead to even more significant outcomes. ITC’s multidimensional initiatives are geared to address several of the nation’s sustainability imperatives through a bold and ambitious Sustainability 2.0 vision that aims to build back better, effectively manage climate risks and further strengthen our superior ESG performance. Sustainability 2.0 calls for inclusive strategies that can support livelihoods, pursue newer pathways to fight climate change and enable transition to a net zero economy as also create an effective circular economy for post-consumer packaging waste.

I am sure as valued shareholders, you will draw immense pride from the fact that ITC is the only enterprise in the world to have achieved the distinction of being water positive, carbon positive and solid waste recycling positive for over a decade. Despite a growing manufacturing footprint, over 41% of the Company’s total energy consumption is from renewable sources. As many as 33 green buildings have received Platinum certification, which also includes several iconic luxury hotel properties and the world’s first certified data centre. ITC Windsor in Bengaluru recently became the first luxury hotel in the world to achieve a LEED® Zero Carbon Certification. As part of the Sustainability 2.0 vision and to contribute to the global fight against climate change, ITC will, by 2030, enhance the share of renewable energy usage to 50%, meet 100% of electricity requirements from renewable sources, significantly reduce GHG intensity and enhance sequestration.

ITC draws immense encouragement from the transformation achieved through its Social Investments programme. ITC’s businesses support over 6 million sustainable livelihoods. Addressing the critical problem of water stress, ITC has spearheaded an extensive watershed development programme covering over 1.2 million acres. A focussed initiative for demand side management has led to water savings of 25-40% in 7 crops, contributing meaningfully to the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision in promoting ‘More crop per drop’. ITC’s Sustainability 2.0 agenda will strive to create rainwater harvesting potential equivalent to over 5 times the net water consumption and bring in substantial demand side efficiency by 2030. It is also a matter of immense pride that ITC’s Paperboards unit in Kovai is the first paper mill in the world to achieve the highest platinum rating under the Alliance for Water Stewardship Standards. ITC intends to certify all sites in high water stressed areas according to these stringent international standards by 2035.

Several other initiatives encompassing bio-diversity, sustainable agriculture, women empowerment, mother and child care, vocational training and primary education have been expanded, yielding encouraging results. To amplify impact, more than 83 Public Private Partnerships have been established in areas like Water Stewardship, Sustainable Agriculture and Solid Waste Management. The Climate-Smart Agriculture initiative, aimed at building climate resilience of farmers, has covered over 2.5 lakh farmers across 8,000 villages. A pilot at scale has reduced GHG emission of select crops by 47%, whilst enhancing net returns to farmers between 41% to 87%. The climate-smart agriculture initiative will be progressively extended to cover 3 million acres by 2030. ITC is committed to reviving and sustaining ecosystem services, through adoption of nature-based solutions and biodiversity conservation covering over 250,000 acres by 2030. The overarching aspiration of Sustainability 2.0 is to support livelihoods for 10 million people.

ITC has implemented industry leading efforts in promoting a circular economy. The Well-being Out of Waste (WOW) programme, an end-to-end waste management initiative, currently reaches out to 1.5 crore citizens, supporting livelihoods for nearly 17,000 waste collectors. The Green Temple Initiative for conversion of waste to biogas for kitchens and compost for gardens covers nearly 190 temples and is being expanded. The WOW programme will also be scaled up over time whilst innovations are being pursued to reduce plastic intensity in packaging. ITC aims to be plastic neutral this year and envisages that 100% of its packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2028.