Giving it Backto Society

The private sector’s participation in environmental causes has risen in last few years

the HRM

At a time when the consequences of global climate change have become more serious with each passing day, the relevance of June 5 as the World Environment Day to spread awareness for conserving the environment has increased further. In Nepal, the government, the private sector, and other organizations marked the day this year with the theme “Beat Plastic Pollution” by launching different programs and campaigns.

Lately, the private sector’s participation in environmental causes has risen as many business organizations have been contributing through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities. As Nepal lies on the frontline of climate change, the private sector companies are realizing the need to work against degradation, commit to sustainable development and address pressing ecological challenges. Many private sector companies have started to follow green business practices through investments in renewable energy, waste management, and green technologies.

Primarily, the CSR engagement of companies is focused on reforestation projects, biodiversity preservation, and water conservation. With these efforts, corporate entities are showing their willingness to giving it back to society.

Cleaning mountains
This year, the Nepali Army collected 35,708 kilograms of waste from the four mountains of Nepal as a part of the Mountain Clean-up Campaign 2023. The campaign was fully supported by the Coca-Cola Foundation.

It has already been four years since The Coca-Cola Foundation, the CSR arm of The Coca-Cola Company, collaborated with the Nepal Army under the theme “An endeavor to save the Himalayas”. This campaign aims to protect and preserve the sanctity of the Himalayas by retrieving waste that has been left behind by trekkers and accumulated in the mountains over the years.

This year, the campaign began on March 28 and ended on June 5. According to Coca-Cola, the Nepali Army collected 13,621 kgs of waste and plastic from the Mt. Everest-Lhotse region, 3,567 kgs from Mt. Annapurna, and 18,520 kgs from Mt. Baruntse.

According to Saadia Madsbjerg, President of The Coca-Cola Foundation, the foundation’s partnership with the Mountain Clean-up campaign signals a strong commitment to bringing people together to support a debris-free environment. “These Himalayan mountains are iconic for their natural beauty and cultural relevance to the people of Nepal. This strong nature-culture bond plays a key role in conserving habitats. The Coca-Cola Foundation’s support seeks to ensure the mountains remain pristine for many years to come and hopefully, such initiatives will help drive even more climate action in Nepal and across the world.”

In the last four years, the campaign has been able to recover 106 tons of waste from four mountains in Nepal.

Restoring greenery and building parks
In May of this year, Cimex Inc. Pvt. Ltd., the authorized distributor of BYD in Nepal, unveiled its CSR initiative, “Building Dreams and Forest,” to restore the Chakhandol Community Forest. In collaboration with the Revolution Project, Cimex announced planting 1,500 tree saplings using the Miyawaki technique. The project also aims to bring back 7-8 different bird species that in the past used to live in the forest area and restore ecological balance. The project’s first year is projected to produce 827 tons of oxygen and store 310 tons of carbon. Over five years, the BYD Forest aims to generate an impressive 4133 tons of oxygen while sequestering 1550 tons of carbon, contributing to biodiversity conservation and ecosystem rejuvenation.

“The campaign epitomizes BYD’s core values and commitment to creating a sustainable future,” said Sameer Shrestha, Chief Marketing Officer of Cimex Inc. “We are proud to collaborate with the Revolution Project and leverage technological innovation to restore the Chakhandol Community Forest. This initiative not only demonstrates our dedication to combating environmental degradation but also inspires others to take action and contribute to biodiversity conservation.”

Ncell, the largest private telecom service provider in Nepal, has been investing a huge amount of money lately to increase greenery and build parks. It rebuilt Lainchaur Ground and added a mini football ground, basketball court, children’s play areas, trees, other plants for greenery, traditional resting places, stone spouts, and public restrooms, among other facilities. The multifunctional ground is being constructed in a 54,921 sq ft. area.

Another initiative of Ncell is ‘Awareness Campaign on Environment Conservation and Protection’, under which it planted 50,000 trees in 33 hectares of barren areas of Dhanushadham Protected Forest situated in the Dhanusha district for developing it as an area of environmental and ecological importance. Last year during World Environment Day, the company planted 550 trees in collaboration with Wildlife Conservation Nepal.

Another big CSR project of Ncell is the ‘Ring Road Green Belt Project’, which aims to maintain greenery in the 10.2 km Koteshwor-Kalanki stretch of Ring Road with tree plantation and landscaping on both sides of the road. In this project, Ncell has supported the landscaping of a 76,000 sq. meters area, plantation of trees in the stretch, and has taken up the ownership to take care of the greenery in this section till 2024.

“Greening of the Ring Road is one of their efforts to address climate change, along with the need to reduce carbon footprint as Ncell aims to contribute towards more sustainable projects that can create larger long-term impacts countrywide,” said Bishakha Lakshmi Khadka, Head Of Corporate Communications & CSR at Ncell.

Carbon reduction
NMB and Nabil Bank have published their carbon emission reports and are actively working to reduce their carbon footprint and make their portfolio more sustainable. Nabil Bank’s portfolio had total emissions of 80,671.37 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) in 2022, while investments in hydro and solar resulted in the avoidance of 2131.81 tonnes of carbon-dioxide emissions. The bank is committed to sustainability in its own operations, resource management, overall business activities, and CSR initiatives. It encourages its staff to adopt sustainable practices in their daily lives and aims to gradually de-carbonize its operations through clean energy sources.

Similarly, NMB Bank’s total tCO2e of business loans is calculated at 124,117 tons, with higher emission intensity observed in the Construction Materials and Agricultural Products sectors. The bank’s 2025 Strategy includes goals such as building major assets in the real economy, financing over 100 sustainable projects, achieving 10,500 tons of carbon reduction, and fully implementing an Environmental and Social Management System in line with the IFC Performance Standards.

The bank says it aims to have a robust in-house climate impact measuring methodology including carbon accounting, and carbon neutrality in its operations. Likewise, based on the outcome of carbon measurement, NMB plans to pursue an alignment strategy in line with best practices to contribute to building a climate-resilient economy.

“We aim to direct our financing activities towards mitigating climate change risks by putting the environment and social impact and sustainability at the core of our business strategy,” said Pranisha Shrestha, Head of Brand and Marketing at NMB Bank.

Promoting Clean Energy
Nepal’s two major breweries—Raj Brewery and Yak Brewing Company—have installed rooftop solar systems at their respective factories which is expected to reduce their carbon footprints, dependency on diesel, and the impact of dry season power outages.

Recently, Raj Brewery and Simple Energy connected the 500kW Solar Rooftop Project to the country’s grid, which is expected to generate 844 MWh of clean energy annually.

According to a press statement issued by Raj Brewery, it is Nepal’s largest solar rooftop project and the first solar rooftop project for Nepal’s brewery industry. The energy from the solar plant installed at the brewery’s Nawalparasi-based factory rooftop will be used for its industrial operations while the excess energy will be distributed through the national grid. The distribution will be based on a net metering system that allows household and commercial producers to sell the excess electrical energy they aren’t using through the grid.

Raj Brewery, a Jawalakhel Group of Industries company, commenced operation in 2018 and has been producing and Warsteiner and Budweiser beers in Nepal.

Simple Energy Pvt. Ltd. (SEPL) is a Joint Venture of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) company InfraCo Asia and Saral Urja Nepal (SUN) that specialises in developing rooftop solar projects at industrial roofs. It has developed solar rooftop projects for Yak Brewing Co. and Bhudeo Khadya Udhyog (Hulas Foods), and plans to build 8 MW solar rooftop grid-connected projects across Nepal, focusing on the commercial and industrial market segment in its first phase.

Yak Brewing Company, the makers of Barahsinghe beer, released an Instagram reel recently stating that it has installed 820 solar panels on its rooftop at their Kurintar-based plant, each panel with a 660W capacity and a total installed capacity of 540 kWh that can produce approximately 820 MWh of clean energy annually allowing it to reduce 740 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

The current installation allows Yak Brewing to power 100 percent of the brewery’s total energy consumption during day time and supplies any excess energy back to the grid. Yak Brewing aims to become carbon neutral by 2025.

Apart from these two breweries, Ambe Group is generating electricity from heat waste that is being utilized at its cement factory. “Recognizing the significant amount of heat wasted during the cement production process, we have implemented innovative solutions to utilize this excess heat and generate electricity. Instead of allowing heat to go to waste, we have employed advanced technologies to capture and convert it into usable energy, said Shiwaj Neupane, Director of Ambe Group, adding, “By harnessing this excess heat, we are able to generate electricity, making our cement production process more efficient and sustainable.”

Controlling the air pollution 
Large factories in industries such as cement and iron and steel are blamed for the harmful gases they release into the atmosphere. But some companies in Nepal are actively taking measures to control and mitigate air pollution. The companies are investing in the installation of advanced filtration systems designed to filter and purify emissions. Though this is not part of their CSR activities, they say this effort contributes to environmental conservation.

According to Neupane, Ambe Group has installed an advanced filtration system costing Rs 20 million at its steel factory in Nepalgunj. “We have taken proactive measures to address the emission of harmful gases from our factory. The advanced filtration system has cutting-edge technology that ensures that smoke is released from our factory premises only after undergoing filtration. We are proud to be one of the few factories that have made this investment in order to prioritize environmental sustainability and minimize our ecological impact,” he said.

Meanwhile, another cement producer Shivam Cement has taken significant steps to ensure the emission of clean air from its operations. According to Nawal Kishor Chaudhary, Production Head of Shivam Cement, the company has installed advanced machines that effectively filter harmful substances, ensuring that only clean air is released into the atmosphere. “We have constructed wind walls to prevent dust particles from escaping outside the premises. These wind walls act as a protective barrier, minimizing the dispersion of dust and maintaining air quality in the surrounding areas,” he informed.

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