In the first of its kind S&P Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) ratings released recently, ITC ranks second among top Indian companies. The ESG India Index launched by Standard and Poor, CRISIL and KLD Research & Analytics comprising 50 companies, is the first investible index of companies whose business strategies and performance demonstrate a high level of commitment to meeting environmental, social and governance standards. The index is a pioneering initiative to measure environmental, social, and corporate governance practices based on quantitative as opposed to subjective factors.
These companies were drawn from the largest 500 companies listed on the National Stock Exchange of India through a two-stage screening process. The performance on ESG parameters assures investors that their portfolio is consciously balancing the interests of all stakeholders and, thereby, creating a platform for strong long-term performance.
ITC is the only company in the world of its size to be 'Carbon positive' (sequestering nearly twice as much carbon dioxide than it emits, through extensive forestry programmes covering over 77,000 hectares), 'water positive' (harvesting four times more rainwater than its net consumption, in the process irrigating 30,000 hectares) and close to zero solid waste discharge. Its businesses generate livelihoods for 5 million people.
ITC has fashioned its CSR strategies in two distinct areas –one that is embedded in its business operations and an integral part of its approach to triple bottom line objectives. This endeavour is exemplified by ITC’s e-choupal initiative as well as its social and farm forestry programmes. The other CSR intervention which is not linked to the businesses, are in the catchment areas of the business units that support sustainable livelihoods through large scale interventions in watershed development, livestock enhancement, supplementary education and women empowerment.