by Team Sage Sustainability
Interview with Mr. Abishiek Senthilnathan, Executive Director, ACSEN Tex, Tamil Nadu. Mr Abishiek from ACSEN Tex shares what it takes to win a GreenCo Gold award which is a testimony of Company’s commitment to environmental sustainability.
The entry of younger generation is shaping up family run enterprises in a way that is bringing aspirations and fresh ideas to the forefront for the benefit of businesses, employees and environment.
Salem based ACSEN Tex was a family run textile company that started off in 1998 as Rasi Tex. Originally into business of cotton seed, the company forward integrated into Cotton Spinning and recently started production of viscose yarn. The company produces about 800 tonnes per month. ACSEN Tex recently got distinction of achieving GreenCo Gold rating, which is the only standalone spinning mill that achieved this certification.
Abishiek Senthilnathan who recently took the reins of ACSEN Tex as ED, says his thinking was to consolidate the good work done in the past and build on the same to institutionalize the environmental excellence which was in the DNA of the company ingrained and nurtured by his father & MD, Mr. Senthilnathan.
Commitment towards environment
The management came from one of the driest areas in Tamil Nadu and having experienced water scarcity, water conservation was embedded as a value in their mind. Practically it meant 100% recycling of water takes place within the campus ensuring zero discharge. Several water sumps were made within the campus to store water, rain water harvesting was also taken up and other conservation measures were put in place to reduce the dependency on water requirement from other external sources. With all the measures in place, the campus already water positive and the excess water from the campus was allowed to be fed into the nearby Manivizhundan lake, which has been a dry lake for over last two decades.
One of the other commitment that management has been focussed on is renewable energy commitment. The company went as far as investing in wind mills across TN for 15 MW and also 2.7 MW rooftop solar power.
Why GreenCo was important:
GreenCo was a means to showcase to the world what they have been already doing for generations in terms of environmental sustainability and also inspire others while also getting a validation for the work. “Besides, GreenCo helps you continually improves for better outcome for efficiency, for environment and people” says Abishiek.
What it meant for employees
The certification process took about six months and the employees were engaged for each and every aspect which was excellent for connecting employees with the business purpose. The pride that came as the award and recognition helps in instilling confidence, which in turns boosts productivity and employee motivation.
Highlights for GreenCo process
What were the highlights of the certification?
From value and certain initiatives that are close to your heart to actual rethinking each process through a green lens.
Abishiek takes an example of logistics and managing GHG emissions by rerouting and choosing transport and logistics which have least emission footprint. This includes purchasing from nearby areas in the first place. Another point was replacing diesel operated forklifts by battery operated forklifts thus reducing emissions.
Another example is scrap oil storage, care had to be taken that the scrap oil does not spill or leach into the ground so flooring should be a double layered flooring.
What about involving Supply Chain?
Green Supply chain is a requirement of the certification process, ACSEN Tex reached out to most of their suppliers to understand their material concerns with respect to sustainability. Initially though none of the suppliers responded to the questionnaire sent by ACSEN Tex, they got in touch with the suppliers over phone personally and understood their concerns. What changed the game was the awareness session on green practices. The positive change in one of the suppliers, who switched from regular CFL bulbs to LED bulbs in his facility, making ACSEN Tex believe in the power of sharing knowledge.
One of the commitment that is required is time especially by the senior-most employees and management. A three member team was focused on coordinating the GreenCo work done by the ACSEN Tex team. Going through the certification process helped them benchmark their achievements with reference to the entire industry sector. Abishiek strongly recommends other ITF member organizations to go for the GreenCo rating system.
What are the next steps for ACSEN Tex in Sustainability journey?
ACSEN Tex’s GreenCo Gold is consolidation and institutionalization of work that was done so far, so is he happy with Gold and keeping it that way, we asked. “We believe that Sustainability is a journey of continual improvement. Even though we are happy that we have achieved the Gold rating, we will continuously endeavour to improve our sustainability practices to ‘The Next Step’ of platinum rating standards.” Says Abishiek, as it appears to be a beginning for him.
Other industries in TN that are GreenCo certified in the textile sector are KG Denims, Magnum Clothing, etc.,
Interview by: Dr Shashi K, Abija N.