Empowering Sustainability with EHS Software at a Global Conglomerate
“We started this journey three years ago…ABG is a big company, we’re 237 sites around the world, so we needed an IT tool like Enablon…and we’ve grown now to 5,500 users live on all 237 sites.”
Tony Henshaw, Chief Sustainability Officer at Aditya Birla Group, during the Enablon Excellence Awards ceremony at SPF EMEA 2017.
Imagine being a global conglomerate with revenues of $41 billion, 120,000 employees, and activities in a wide, diverse set of industries, and trying to become a sustainable business across the entire group and throughout all sites. This is the reality for Aditya Birla Group (ABG), a conglomerate headquartered in India with activities in the following sectors: cement, chemicals, e-commerce, fertilizers, financial services, metals, mining, retail, telecommunications, textile, wind power, and others.
Adopting a Vision for a Sustainable Future
In 2012, ABG adopted a bold, ambitious vision to be the leading Indian conglomerate for sustainable business practices across their global operations. The Group’s goal is to create sustainable businesses that can live within the means of a sustainable planet. One reason why ABG embarked on this journey is because the Group strongly believes that India is at the epicenter of sustainability. Many sustainability challenges that will affect all 9 billion people in the world are already being experienced in India with its population of 1.2 billion today. Sustainability solutions that are successful in India can then scale more effectively to the rest of the planet.
Three years ago, ABG showed its commitment to its audacious vision by making the decision to invest in an EHS software platform. On June 15, 2017, the Group’s ongoing efforts were honored with the Enablon Excellence Award for Sustainable Company of the Year at SPF EMEA 2017. Tony Henshaw, Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) at ABG accepted the award on behalf of the Group. Let’s take a closer look at what the company has done to deserve this recognition.
Harshal Limdi, Sr. Manager – Sustainability, and Tony Henshaw, CSO
Addressing the Challenges of Being a Global Conglomerate
As part of its drive to build a sustainability model and become a Group of sustainable businesses, ABG established its own framework of policies and standards that match international standards. But to manage something, you need to be able to measure it first. Given the fact that ABG is a large conglomerate with many sites spread around the world, it is a challenge to collect data, roll-up and report on the data at the Group level, bring standardization across all businesses, and ensure that all individual sites are implementing and following company policies and standards.
ABG is addressing those challenges by using Enablon to deploy self-assessment questionnaires to all their sites. The self-assessment questionnaires allow ABG to shift compliance responsibilities to site managers, rather than maintaining it at the Group level through a continual audit process. This helps to reduce the audit burden and costs, as ABG can now conduct only targeted audits based on results from the questionnaires.
ABG is also using Enablon to address the challenge of collecting and managing data across multiple sites. The system is used to measure carbon footprint, electricity usage, water consumption, waste generation throughout the entire Group, and to compile health and safety statistics. All of the information will be used for GRI reporting, and will allow ABG to generate its first ever Sustainable Business Report for the entire Group this financial year. ABG currently has separate reports for individual sectors or companies of the Group.
Changing Behaviors and Driving Improvements
Today 5,500 ABG users across 237 sites in 9 countries are live on Enablon. The system is used to help the Group reduce accidents, water discharges, carbon emissions and environmental incidents, and to manage the energy mix. In addition to the measurement of individual metrics, aligning business management systems with international standards across all sites is also well underway.
In any large organization, an IT system is essential to help the creation of a sustainable business. Enablon is the only software system that is uniform across the entire Group. All ABG businesses use the same software version, the same modules, with the same user experience and the same self-assessment questionnaires (individual questions may vary based on facility type). This allows ABG to work according to the same management systems throughout the Group, thus bringing greater standardization.
ABG is very diverse, and yet the Group can use Enablon for its telecommunications business, its mining operations, its retail stores, its refineries, and other places. The system is common across the board, which means similar processes can be implemented for every business.
Perhaps the greatest benefit for ABG is that the Enablon system drives improvements. For example, approximately 30,000 unsafe acts and unsafe conditions are reported every month. Being able to look at unsafe acts and unsafe conditions as leading indicators is helping each of the different businesses improve their safety record. People are changing their behaviors by virtue of having a greater awareness of unsafe acts and conditions that should change. Similarly, by reporting water consumption and creating water balances, people are beginning to see water conservation opportunities that they had not identified previously.
Given the boldness of ABG’s vision of building a Group of sustainable businesses that can live within the means of a sustainable planet, the deployment of Enablon throughout the entire Group and all sites, and the tangible results towards achieving the vision, we’re glad to have bestowed ABG the Enablon Excellence Award for Sustainable Company of the Year at SPF EMEA 2017.