Sustainable Environment for Us and Our Tomorrow

The environment is more than a mundane conversation starter. It will determine the fate of our planet and species on it in the future. Experts sectors like climate, health, and agriculture, share the need for various environmental conservation initiatives. However, be it one or many, just saplings cannot create a green cover. Even crores of litres of water may not stop water bodies from drying up. The same goes true with power problems, endangered species in the wildlife and pollution levels. So ICICI Foundation has consistently focused on creating a sustainable environmental change. Our various initiatives like rainwater harvesting systems and solar panels support and empower remote locations; nutrition and livelihood-friendly trees as well as carbon-neutral village initiatives address the local needs. ICICI Foundation’s every intervention is inclusive of the underprivileged sections of society, empowering them, and co-creating solutions with them.

Change that will last and support a sustainable tomorrow is what matters!

While we have planted more than 2.6 million trees across India, it is not just about sapling plantations. We planted fruit trees in villages with malnutrition. We also planted Agro-horticulture and agro-floriculture plants for farmers as well as timber trees in forests with the vision for creating value for people there. Better the alignment with the needs of locals, more sustainable the plantations! We envision an enduring change inclusive of the needs of all, that contributes towards sustainable environment and future!

The best example is plantation of 1 lakh Moringa trees across 22 acres in Jehanabad, an aspirational district in Bihar. These trees help the locals produce and sell Moringa powder to earn and sustain a living.

Each kilowatt of energy costs you as it does to the environment. Yet the truth remains that lack of power is a daily struggle in India. Can you imagine the cost of power disruption to a hospital? How about the productivity drops in a leading university? Have you ever wondered about the birds and animals in forests dying due to electricity grid shocks? That’s why our efforts in energy conservation focus on replacing traditional energy with green renewable solar energy panels. From a charitable hospital like Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital in Uttar Pradesh to Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan in New Delhi, we strive to boost just more than energy. 55kw solar panels in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve aid the forest department to reduce the gridlines harming birds and animals in the forest. We solar-powered the world’s highest post office at Hikkim in Himachal Pradesh, processing units in Assam, and remotely located branches of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya. We have facilitated 2,000 plus solar units in rural schools and hospitals with the capacity of 5 MW. Through these, the day-to-day tasks can be handled without power disruption while reducing the carbon footprints. So, we support performance and sustenance at the same time!

Indian forests have been witnessing the loss of biodiversity for decades now. Various majestic creatures roaming across the length and breadth of India seem to be vanishing. While Bengal tigers, critical for a sustainable tomorrow, get much-deserved attention. But what about the bees, snow leopards, or great Indian bustards? What about the migratory birds, our guests arriving in India? Therefore, our vision involves creating ecosystems of environmental and socio-economic support initiatives for all stakeholders to reduce human wildlife interactions sustainably. We have our initiatives in 42 forest and national parks across India.

Solar-powered bore wells charge the watering holes for Sariska Tiger Reserve, Jhalana Leopard Safari, Aamagarh Leopard Safari, Nahargarh Biosphere Reserve, and Nasirabad Wildlife Range. This enables the animals to have water regardless of rainfall, electricity supply and local climate.

We involved the local villagers and forest dwellers to remove invasive weeds and work on habitat development in Sariska Tiger Reserve, Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, Satpura Tiger Reserve, Bandipur Tiger Reserve and Ramgarh Vishdhari Tiger Reserve.

We support forest law enforcement with our multiple interventions like patrolling vehicles, solar panels to power chawkis in remote regions, tiger monitoring routes, and rescue vans to handle challenges such as illegal trespassing and poaching. We empower forest dwellers and villagers with skills and resources to earn a sustainable livelihood. This reduces their forest dependency. Be it availability of water and food or empowerment of law and villagers, each effort aims to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts.

We have our initiatives in 44 forests and national parks across India as on today.

India’s carbon footprint keeps rising. Plus, eleven of the top polluted cities globally are in India. To support and aid the vision of carbon neutral India by 2070, we have started our carbon-neutral initiative in villages and cities by providing eco-friendly, sustainable solutions. In 48 villages across India, we have facilitated smokeless chulhas, non-chemical fertilisers, separate dustbins for dry and wet waste, integrated solar households, vermi-compost pits, and plantation activities.

In cities, we train energy auditors who can help MSMEs reduce their carbon footprint while increasing productivity. These initiatives are scalable and sustainable. So greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide can continue to subside, contributing towards a clean and green planet!

One of the prominent contributing factors towards environmental pollution is the burning of stubble/parali. We started an initiative to encourage the farmers to end the stubble burning and extend an alternative, sustainable solution. Through in-situ and ex-situ methods as well as awareness generation, stubble was converted to an asset benefitting the farmer. 120,000 farmers were reached in 853 villages. Presently, 600 villages are declared “Zero Parali Burning Villages” with 498,285 acres of land prevented from burning, and 1.92 million tons of CO2 and 0.11 million tons of CO release curbed. It is being utilised as a fodder and bio-gas, creating livelihood for people and adding value.

Waste is lot more than blocked sewages, waste landfills and waste-borne health problems. It is an environmental hazard as it emits carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases. All the while, lack of waste management led to wasted potential resource. Organic waste can be a fertiliser, Parali can be utilised as biogas or fertilisers. Inorganic waste can be converted into recycled products. It is an “opportunity” for creating a sustainable tomorrow, which is what we chose! We have facilitated 200+ e-vehicles for waste collections and 4 waste decomposers. Our multiple initiatives help villages and city bodies manage and process waste in a sustainable way that helps environment and people.

Water scarcity, exacerbated by climate change endangers lives, hampers potential and impacts economies. To ensure water availability and accessibility, we have undertaken various water conservation and watershed initiatives. Drought-proofing of villages, sustainable agricultural practices saving water, lakes and ponds rejuvenation, building an artificial glacier with the capacity of holding 56,000 cubic meter water, spring-water harvesting, rainwater harvesting, are some of our work towards conserving water, enabling availability, accessibility and inclusivity to all, in rural and urban India. We have done 3500+ rainwater harvesting plants in schools across 21 states, with a storage capacity of 740 million litres annually and 36 spring water harvesting systems with a holding capacity of 5,000-15,000 litres. The underlying vision is to build a better tomorrow for all, through sustainable water solutions.