ITC is rated AA by MSCI on ESG, the highest among global tobacco players and better than most Indian FMCG companies. This is backed by its strong credentials; ITC has been carbon positive for 15 years, water positive for 18 years and solid waste recycling positive for 13 years.
ITC focuses on both reducing its own carbon footprint and increasing sequestration through afforestation. 41% of its energy use comes from renewable sources and efficiency is engrained in all its offices, hotels and even data centres. It works with local communities to drive afforestation, 820000 acres of forest have been created till date leading to 150 million days of employment. ITC sequesters 2x the amount of carbon dioxide it emits, with a target to reach 4x by 2030.
Apart from reducing its own consumption, ITC has created 19000 rainwater harvesting structures, covering 1.2 million acres. In fact, it harvests 3x its net water consumption, which should increase to 5x by 2030. ITC also works with farmers to improve water efficiency in agriculture. Started a year ago, the program has covered 200000 acres and substantial water savings have been achieved.
ITC runs a ‘Well-being out of waste (WOW)’ program, which covers 12.5 million citizens and provides livelihoods to 16200 waste collectors. Its R&D is also working on new-age bio-degradable and recyclable boards and sustainable packaging materials.
Some of ITC’s social initiatives include;
1) Supplementary education provided to 781,000 children;
2) Sustainable livelihood opportunities for 76,000 women;
3) 86000 youth trained through vocational training program;
4) 37700 sanitation units created. ITC promotes greater women participation, even in its manufacturing facilities – for example, 60% of the workforces in its Nanjangud unit are women.
Independent directors have a 50% representation on ITC’s board. It follows a 3-tiered management structure, which allows each business to function independently and yet ensure synergies across the business are tapped. Policies on sustainability and other aspects of corporate governance are clearly defined.
Aggressive future targets:
By 2030, ITC intends to increase the share of renewable energy to 50% (vs. 41% now), reduce specific energy consumption by 30%, specific GHG emission by 50% and specific water consumption by 40% over FY19 levels. It would also move to 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable plastic packaging by 2030.