Bristling with pride on green awards
CHENNAI: News of birth of the eight billionth child, in sync with the deliberations in the United Nations Climate Change 2022 conference in Egypt, once again brought into focus the ever-increasing demand on the environment and depletion of limited resources. Over the years, from conservation of species, reducing use of non -renewable energy to protecting the environment, a slew of welcome initiatives have been set in motion globally.
Chennai has always shown the way forward on going green in as many areas of life as possible. Citizens and corporates have enthusiastically come together to reduce carbon footprint, clean beaches, protect Olive Ridley Turtle eggs and hatchlings and ban single use plastic items.
One does not usually associate a tooth brush unit with green practices, which is why Rialto Enterprises Private Limited’s green awards from the global giant Proctor &Gamble (P&) seven times is both a welcome and a laudable news. They produce 300 varieties of toothbrushes that are shipped to 135 countries is common knowledge. But what exactly have the contract manufacturing unit of P&G done to achieve this prestigious award at a time when countries are struggling to achieve common consensus on climate change and environment protection?
A visit to their factory, located in Kelambakkam, beyond Vandalur Zoo, shows that the approach is very holistic. The first thing one notices is the scarce number of cars and vehicles in their compound—this is because most of the staff, numbering 1,000, are residents within a five km radius. Most cycle or walk to work. A few take public transport, thereby reducing carbon footprint at one level. Arun, the President tells me that they are a water positive site. With a comprehensive rain water harvesting system “we are in a position to give back 50 KL of water if we extract 25 KL. In fact, the water table in our site is one of the best in the Chingelpet area,” he adds.
Strategically positioned solar panels ensure a major portion of their power requirement is met by renewable source. On an average Rialto produces over 1 million toothbrushes a day. With rejections recycled by the firm, there is zero waste landfill. “over a period of time, the recycled PET has helped the firm save US$ 3.8 million,” points out Arun with pride. “Our Taj Gaia is made of 80% recycled plastic,” he says.
Another green practice is the launch of the bamboo based tooth brush. The firm which gave up ink for laser printing – as a green move—has also thought on its feet. How will a family of four differentiate between their brushes, given that all look the same. Rialto has laser printed geometric shapes on the handle, so each member can easily identify his or hers.
When you are in the volume driven consumer market, you cannot take the green road in isolation, since vendors form a huge part of the business. Rialto encouraged it numberous vendors to adapt to the same. “It was not easy to convince everyone, but one vendor in Coimbatore tried it out, first. He shared his benefits with other vendors, and now many others are on the same page with us,” adds Arun. In fact, the firm pays a higher price to the vendor who follows green practices.
“Our aim is not awards, but sustainability,” says Chander Swamy, CEO, Rialto. “MNCs may have to adapt green practices as they are accountbale to their share holders, but for a business partner like us, to invest in green initiatives in unparalled,” says Chander who is also an avid golfer—even his putter shaft is made of wood. He points ot their latest product, Clic with pride. The top of the tooth brush is detachable, so once the bristles live their life (three months), you can replace only the bristle head, and not the entire brush made of plastic. “This was our in house idea and when we took it to P & G, they were very encouraging,” he explains.
Green practice is not cost effective, so why should a firm invest? “A clean environment is the only legacy we can all leave our children. This is the foundation for their wealth,” he says, simply.