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ITC’s Malur food factory bags AWS Platinum certification

ITC Ltd’s food factory in Malur, Karnataka, has been awarded the AWS Platinum-level certification for its water management interventions.

The factory has integrated watershed development programmes for supply augmentation, demand-side management through efficient water usage in the catchment area of its operations, as well as reduction of freshwater consumption within the unit, the company said in a statement.

ITC’s 360-degree water stewardship programme is a part of the company’s Sustainability 2.0 (S2.0) agenda articulated by Chairman Sanjiv Puri and is in alignment with the government’s key water initiatives including ‘Jal Shakti Abhiiyan’ and ‘More Crop Per Drop’, the statement says. The company aims to create rainwater harvesting potential exceeding five times the net water consumption by 2030. It targets 40 per cent reduction in water consumption by 2030, and bagging AWS certification for eight of its sites by 2024 and all its sites in highly water-stressed areas by 2035.

“This significant milestone will further inspire us to scale up our initiatives to ensure water security for our stakeholders around our factories, in line with the goals envisaged in the company’s Sustainability 2.0 agenda,” Hemant Malik, Divisional Chief Executive, Foods Business, ITC, said in the statement.

The company has undertaken a water conservation programme both within the Malur food factory and in the surrounding catchment area of 40,250 acres, of which more than 75 per cent is under agriculture.

The factory initially faced challenges over water availability in the area due to factors like hard rock aquifer system, rapid urbanisation and change of agricultural patterns. The unit was largely dependent on tanker water. ITC then embarked on a water stewardship mission in the catchment, based on groundwater assessment and hydrogeological studies by external experts. An integrated water management plan was initiated within the unit and in four watersheds nearby, it said.

At the catchment level, the aim was to improve water balance and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) outcomes for stakeholders. The supply-side initiatives included revival of traditional waterbodies as well as construction of new waterbodies and groundwater recharge structures; demand-side water management focused on capability building of farmers and promotion of water-efficient practices such as micro-irrigation and mulching, among others.

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