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Tata Power’s Green Revolution: From 1911 to Net-Zero by 2045

Himal Tewari, CHRO&CSO, Tata Power

In the journey of sustainability, Tata Power stands as a beacon of commitment and innovation. Since its inception in 1911, Tata Power has been at the forefront of India’s energy landscape, powering the nation’s growth and development. Over the years, the scope of sustainability at Tata Power has evolved.

Evolution of Scope of Sustainability Over the Years

Sustainability, encompassing environmental, social, and governance dimensions, has long been a cornerstone of Tata Power’s ethos. The company has set ambitious goals, committing to achieve net-zero emissions by 2045, water neutrality by 2030, zero waste to landfill by 2030, and zero net impact on biodiversity by 2030. The company’s 38% of energy already comes from green and renewable sources. In a conversation with BW Businessworld, Himal Tewari, CHRO & CSO of Tata Power, said, “We have doubled our renewable energy mix in the last decade and aim to raise this to 70-75% by 2030, with a clear direction in making sustainability a key mantra for us.”

While one of their key initiatives includes a commitment to the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), Tewari highlighted the company’s strategic focus on sustainability across its new business ventures, including EV charging, home automation, rooftop solar, pump storage, and microgrids. “These businesses have been built on the premise of energy transition, i.e., environmentally friendly and just,” added Tewari.

Another commitment in the environmental sphere is Tata Power’s focus on biodiversity, which can be evidenced by the company’s flagship programme – Mahseer Conservation. The programme has been in place for over 5 decades and has led to taking blue-finned Mahseer off the endangered species list. They have developed an ingenious method to breed 4-5 lakh of Mahseer hatchlings at a time at the Walvan Hatchery near Lonavala, by creating a huge lake while damming the Indrayani River.

The company is also conscious of how it fares on the various ESG ratings. Tata Power was ranked in the top 15% of global electric utilities by S&P Global. Sharing this fact, Tewari said, “These rankings serve as a reconfirmation that we are on the right path.”

In-house Sustainable Development Goals Reporting Framework

The company’s approach and commitment to sustainability are further exemplified by its in-house methodology for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) journey. It has also curated a reporting framework in line with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). The methodology is divided into three segments – SDG prioritization, SDG implementation, and SDG roadmap.

Recognizing the role of the utility sector, Tewari acknowledges, “We have a detailed plan to implement 10 out of the 17 SDGs that reflect our overall commitment, and we track the implementation of the identified SDGs digitally”. The comprehensive plan of the company urges a call for action in a cohesive manner from stakeholders internal and external to the organization. The company collaborates with partners in its ecosystem, civil society organizations, thought leaders and academia to communicate their plan. Committing to the journey, Tewari says, “There is a substantial agenda ahead of us, and we continue to work on it. It is an ongoing journey.”

Impacting Through Volunteering

With a built-in DNA of giving back to society, Tata Power engages in multiple volunteering activities for a ‘long-standing commitment,’ such as the Pro Engage Initiative, in collaboration with the Tata Group. “About 18,000 employees of Tata Power engage in volunteering activities, making the highest contribution in the country. We have clocked 1,00,000 hours. This is the largest number within the Tata Group and globally,” says Tewari. Mentioning another volunteering initiative, Tewari said, “Through our green solution conservation initiative, we have been running our signature program, ‘Tri Mitra,’ under which we have conducted afforestation drives. We have planted over 600,000 saplings.”

Club Enerji – An Award-winning Programme

Club Enerji is the flagship and award-winning program of Tata Power, which aims at transformation by targeting individuals at the grassroots level, i.e., 530 schools, and has sensitized over 26,000,000 citizens about energy and resource conservation. Through this initiative, the company has been able to conserve 3,200,000 units of electricity. Energy champions and young ambassadors for sustainability play a vital role in this program. As an extension of this club, the company organizes a year-end energy fair called ‘Ujala Mela,’ where schools participate and share their ideas for energy conservation.

Empowering the Climate Change Vulnerable Sections

Equity, inclusion, and diversity form an integral part of Tata Power’s unwavering commitment to sustainability, with a specific emphasis on ‘Gender.’ Shedding light on the challenges commonly faced by female employees, Tewari articulated, ‘It resembles a leaky pipeline, where women often step off at critical junctures like marriage, childbirth, or tending to elderly parents during their careers. With utmost sensitivity, we address this issue and offer unwavering support.’ The company has designed tailor-made programs to empower its female workforce.

One such initiative is ‘Aspire,’ a mentorship program to nurture women’s potential and prepare them for managerial and leadership roles. Under the ‘Returning Mothers’ program, female employees receive guidance and support from their experienced counterparts who have traversed similar paths, aiding their seamless reintegration into the workforce. These efforts are complemented by comprehensive policies and processes to ensure an equitable work environment.

Tata Power also actively encourages women to venture into frontline technical and engineering roles, domains traditionally dominated by men. This strategy extends the realm of diversity from the grassroots to the pinnacles of the organization. Tewari noted, ‘Our programs align with the four pillars of our CSR framework – Employment, Employability, Entrepreneurship, and Education.”

Drilling Sustainability Down to the Employee Level

“Being the CHRO and CSO gives me a good lens to see how we can build a culture of sustainability. We do not treat sustainability as a vertical in the organization; it is almost horizontal; it’s part of day-to-day life,” said Tewari while talking about making sustainability commonplace for the employees at Tata Power.

In this regard, the company has curated their signature program called ‘Climate Crew,’ which reaches the individual level and advises them on the actions they can adopt in their personal lives to instil responsibility. The Climate Crew has also developed a tech platform that allows employees to adopt certain sustainable goals and initiatives and track their actions. Currently, 4-5% of employees have subscribed to this platform.

Recommendations on Traversing Sustainability

  1. Purpose-Driven Leadership: Leaders should be clear about their purpose, understanding that it extends beyond mere commercial goals. Embrace a purpose compass that anchors actions in societal benefits.
  2. Urgency in Sustainability: Addressing climate change and related issues is no longer optional. Investing in sustainability is as critical as meeting quarterly and yearly financial targets. Embrace sustainability as the future of leadership.

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