Tesco Bengaluru: Towards Seamless Environmental Susrainbility!

Manish Sethi,  Associate Director - Property & FacilitiesFor Tesco worldwide, Tesco Bengaluru silhouettes as the only international technology and retail operations centre, functioning with the sole goal of creating a sustainable advantage. The firm has been accomplishing this goal by standardizing processes, delivering cost savings, enabling agility and empowering its colleagues. Moreover, all people at Tesco breathe a consistent and continual commitment towards enhancing the lives of the customers they serve, colleagues as well as their communities every single day. In fact, ‘Every little help makes a big difference’ is what Tesco Bengaluru believes in!

Manish Sethi, Associate Director - Property & Facilities, Tesco Bengaluru is equipped with the proven ability to quickly analyse key business drivers and develop strategies to grow the bottom line. He stands-out as an energetic leader brimming with the ability to envision and create successful outcomes in complex situations. In an exclusive conversation with siliconindia, Manish has shared his insights on the spectrum of sustainable practices followed at Tesco Bengaluru. Here are the excerpts!

1.Brief us about Tesco Bengaluru’s Little Helps Plan and sustainability commitment, its goals and activities
Tesco in Bengaluru is a multidisciplinary team and a site that houses Tesco Business Services and Tesco Technology teams. They help serve our shoppers a little better every day across markets, creating a sustainable competitive advantage for Tesco by standardising processes, leveraging best in class retail technology, enabling agility and empowering our colleagues to do even more for our customers.

Our CSR strategy focuses on making a significant social impact for the communities we serve. By fostering innovative partnerships, leveraging technology and delivering measurable solutions, we built our CSR activities broadly under the three themes of Education, Food and Water.

Like Tesco PLC, we align with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) in all that we do as part of our CSR activities. Here are our goals:
•Zero Hunger - Providing midday meals for children in government schools.
•Quality Education - Equipping younger generations with the right skills through vocational training to become job ready and independent.
•Clean Water & Sanitation Providing access to clean water and promoting a safe and healthy living.
We are also dedicated to our environment and have aligned our approach with other SDGs. We follow industry’s best practices while managing our waste and produce recyclable products to save our natural resources’ degradation.

"By fostering innovative partnerships, leveraging technology and delivering measurable solutions, we built our CSR activities broadly under the three themes of Education, Food and Water"

For our CSR initiatives, we have collaborated with our NGO partners NASSCOM Foundation, Unnati Foundation, Akshaya Patra Foundation, Rotary Bangalore Whitefield Central and Saahas Zero Waste. Our CSR strategy reflects on our efforts to inspire and connect with people as well as invest in opportunities by taking real and measurable actions. Covering these themes, Tesco Bengaluru’s colleagues invested 1450+ hours in volunteering work during the year 2018-19.

2.Where did the thought of diverting wet & dry waste away from landfills arise? Share your inspirational stories with us.
Waste Management has now become an everyday topic in each household. With increased population and less awareness,
segregation, screening and managing waste is rising to be an alarming issue in our society. When waste is mismanaged, it ends up in landfills, oceans and other water bodies. This results in wreaking havoc on our ecosystem, disturbing the natural habitats.

Our CSR strategy reflects on our efforts to inspire and connect with people as well as invest in opportunities by taking real and measurable actions

At Tesco, we believe that no food that is safe for human consumption should go waste. We also believe in giving back to the society in its truest essence and waste management definitely tops the list. Waste is prone to the phenomenon ‘out of sight, out of mind’. As long as it is out of house, no one cares what really happens to it. Waste does not have immediate visible benefits like that of toilet construction.

We believe that segregating waste appropriately under the right category can help in managing waste better and producing renewable energy or even in manufacturing recycled products. All we need is awareness about the ways to manage waste consciously and more importantly, practice it religiously. Additionally, we also need to stay motivated to educate our colleagues to practice waste management as a way of life. This would help every individual to do their bit at their personal capacity and make a change. Therefore, we collaborated with Saa has Zero Waste (SZW) who provides us end-to-end waste management services based on the principles of circular economy. We have been collaborating with them for several years to manage our dry & wet waste and convert them to produce something beneficial for the society.

3.Throw some light on the collaborations Tesco Bengaluru has about executing these initiatives. Also, explain about the products produced after waste segregation and processing.
Currently, in partnership with SZW, we are developing a sustainable waste management practice in our everyday operation at our main campus Whitefield, Bengaluru. With the help of our partner, we follow the below steps to reuse, reduce and recycle our wet & dry waste and make the most out of it.
•We have a proper composting infrastructure to manage all the kitchen waste.
•Conversion of kitchen waste into high-quality compost through biological process by SZW staff over the period of 35- 40 days.
•Sending the cooked food (liquid) waste to offsite biogas plant to generate biogas.
•Sorting the dry waste (paper, plastic & others) into basic categories and sending it to SZW’s Material recovery facility, where it further breaks-down to 30 categories. Later, they are moved to authorised recyclers for recycling.

Tesco-SZW partnership works on an exchange model where SZW provides us recycled notepads for our regular use in office. These notepads are a testament to our sustainability initiative, as they are made of 100 percent recycled paper that in turn saves trees. We know that approximately every tonne of recycled paper saves 17 trees and two cubic metres of land space.

4.Brief us about the outcomes you have received from these initiatives. Also, what future plans do you have to upgrade or innovate with respect to your waste management initiatives?
Our collaboration with our Waste Management partner Saahas Zero Waste, has been effective as we avoided sending 95 tonnes of wet waste and 69 tonnes of dry waste to landfills in 2018. We compost food waste in our campus and share it with our sustainability partner Saahas to produce renewable energy like biogas in their plant. The compost is useful for landscaping and Saahas uses the biogas to power vehicles that transport food waste. Recyclers receive the categorized dry waste to produce useful products for everyday use. In future, we plan to:
•Install an onsite biogas plant that will process the food waste and provide biogas for cooking purposes, thereby lowering its GHG emissions.
•Also eyeing for a Zero Waste certification based on the current sustainable waste management processes.

5.Being one of the largest retailers in the world, what do you think other retail companies like yours ought to do to contribute to waste management?
At Tesco, we always care about our surrounding environment and the virtue of giving back to our communities. Our initiative, Little Helps Plan aligns with the UN’s Sustainability Goals. We understand the value of food, life and the ecosystem that surrounds us. We also believe that retail industry has a big role in following sustainability practices. We are conscious that the retail industry influences environmental degradation by promoting plastic generation, which in turn leads to high methane generation.

We feel that retail industry can take the below steps to make sure we have a better future by following the best sustainability practices at present.
•Keeping in mind SDG-12 (Responsible consumption and production), retail industry has a very big role in reduction of plastic packaging and switching to re usable packaging. They can also educate and empower their customers to reduce the usage of plastics.
•Retail stores can channelize all their waste(dry waste, majorly plastics & expired food)to compliant end destination.
•We believe that other organisations can also educate and empower their colleagues and customers to manage waste properly that will help them to reuse, reduce and recycle when needed.