Kimberly-Clark India adds 1.7 MW Solar plant

Kimberly-Clark India adds 1.7 MW Solar plant

Even as India has committed to a net zero target by 2070, expectations from corporates is naturally higher, as they are better resourced and agile. The $19.1 billion (FY 2020) Kimberly-Clark Corporation, through its Indian subsidiary, Kimberly-Clark India has a significant presence in the consumer market too, and now, seeks to lead the change when it comes to sustainability too. The firm has, among other steps, gone with higher sourcing of renewable energy, especially solar, to buttress its green credentials. Sanjay Kachare, Supply Chain Director, India & South Asia, Kimberly – Clark spoke to SaurEnergy on the firm’s latest moves, and plans.

1. Tell us about Kimberly-Clark’s Indian presence. 

Sanjay Kachare: As a brand that has existed in India for over a decade, we have become an indispensable part of people’s daily lives and continue to be on a mission to lead the world in providing the essentials for a better life.

With iconic brands like Huggies, Kotex, Kleenex, and Depend in our portfolio, the goal is to bring the strength of our global brands and our capabilities to build a high-performing organization in the country. With India being amongst the key focus markets for Kimberly-Clark globally, we have been on a transformational journey to enhance our footprint across the country, bring our portfolio of great brands & products to consumers and establish Kimberly-Clark as an employer of choice, all while being committed to the wellbeing of the underserved communities and ensuring the smallest environmental footprint.

And needless to say, in all of this our people form our strongest pillar, truly defining who we are and what we do. Our company is built on the fundamental values of diversity, inclusion, respect, and equal opportunity. We strive to create a work environment that fosters the holistic growth of our people both personally & professionally.

2. How is the firm responding to the need to take steps to mitigate its impact on the environment, do more as a corporate citizen?

Sanjay Kachare: Climate change and other environmental issues have been a growing concern in India, and companies such as ours are making concerted efforts to reduce the environmental footprint. At Kimberly-Clark, we firmly believe that the health and well-being of our people, consumers, and the organization depends on securing a healthy environment. Keeping this in mind, we are strengthening our drive towards building a low-carbon economy.

SOlar Plant at Kimberley Clark Pune Mill

View of The Rooftop Solar Plant At Pune

In 2019, we first installed 1MW on-site photovoltaic solar panels at our manufacturing and distribution facility near Pune. The 4500 KWhrs of solar power generated daily contributes to 30% of the power need, at any point in time. So far, the company has generated 3,2951,000 units (KWhrs) of clean energy, thus minimizing the energy consumption and reducing carbon emission by 2900 tons (approximately 1500 tons per year).

In 2021, the company installed an additional 1.7MW solar plant on the roof of the facility, further bringing down the carbon emission by 2400 tons per year through the generation of approximately 1,900,000 units of clean energy. With this additional solar plant generating 7600 KWhrs daily, we are now meeting 93% of the power need for the facility at any point in time. The generation and use of this clean energy is also measured as 16500KL/year of water evaporation reduced or plantation of 1,80,000 trees.

The entire setup in our Pune mill is designed and built with efficient solar panels using monocrystalline silicon photovoltaic modules from ReneSola with higher efficiency of 19.5 %. Further, the setup is using new generation smart inverters from Huawei with 99.0 % (DC to AC) conversion efficiency. These inverters are designed with smart management technology to create a fully digitalized Smart PV Solution. The entire system is built to work with 80% performance efficiency over a life span of 25 years.

3. Details on the other initiatives beyond renewable energy?

 Sanjay Kachare: Keeping in line with the company’s zero-waste mindset across the value chain as we grow, our Pune mill team has been driving several initiatives for sustainable operations in all areas on the principle highlighting three essential components – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

To start with, the team has worked extensively on water recycling and conservation initiative in the past few years. Through a rainwater harvesting program that includes 13 borewell recharge pits, 2 recharge ponds, and a 300-meter recharge trench, the company is conserving 50,000 KL rainwater collected across its large facility. In addition to this, we are also treating 50 KL domestic sewage water generated daily, which is used to water the entire green area at the mill. The facility has a decentralized solid waste management system, wherein all the waste generated at the facility is segregated into organic and inorganic waste. The organic waste is then processed through a composting machine to create compost for the facility’s grounds. Further, through conscious employee efforts, Kimberly-Clark has planted and maintained 1400 trees at the mill and added 4000 sq mt of lawn area which is maintained using recycled water.

The office at this facility has been awarded ‘Platinum Rating’ under Green Building Certification by IGBC with key highlights including use of natural light, recycled materials usage, energy-efficient design, and connecting office space with the green area around.

4. Does Kimberly-Clark have an internal target for being net-zero or carbon positive by a certain date?

 Sanjay Kachare: At Kimberly-Clark, we have been focused on shifting the current trajectory and doing our part to build a low-carbon economy. We exceeded our 2022 target to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 20% over 2005 baseline three years early, so have set a new and ambitious goal of 40% and aspire to do more.

Our global sustainability ambition for 2030 includes a commitment to reduce the carbon footprint of our operations and supply chain by 50% for absolute Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions (direct and indirect) from the operations. We also aim for a 20% reduction in absolute Scope 3 GHG emissions from purchased goods and services and end of life treatment of sold products. Both these targets are based on a 2015 base year. We are accelerating our efforts in alignment with the Paris Climate Agreement’s principal goal of limiting global temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

Reducing the carbon footprint of our products also means owning comprehensive climate goals based on four pillars –

  • Driving greater energy efficiency throughout our operations
  • Enacting innovative conservation efforts
  • Embracing tomorrow’s alternative/renewable energy technologies
  • Taking responsibility for driving emissions reductions across our full value chain

With a vision of creating a sustainable future for all, Kimberly-Clark will continue to lead with action to stay ahead of the imperatives of climate change on the back of innovation for a better future.

5. What about initiatives to support the collection and recycling of their own products?

 Sanjay Kachare: The onset of the pandemic not only disrupted the daily lives of people but also the waste value chain by leading to a significant increase in plastic waste, thus accelerating the need for a circular economy. With the aspiration to be at the forefront of the transition to a circular, reuse economy and finding new ways of giving consumers the products they need, Kimberly-Clark globally is working towards cutting the plastic footprint of its products and packaging by 50% by 2030. In doing so, the company is undertaking the incorporation of systems thinking and collaborations from sourcing through to end-of-life.

Solar Plant

KImberly-Clark Solar Plant

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Prasanna Singh

Prasanna has been a media professional for over 20 years. He is the Group Editor of Saur Energy International