By Thimmaiah Napanda
Meritor is making a positive difference in people’s lives through charitable giving, employee contributions and volunteerism. Much of our giving is focused on diversity, education, health and human services and industry.
We also believe in good environmental stewardship through the development of products that respect the Earth’s limited natural resources and operations that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And, we focus on our communities with robust initiatives to reduce our impact on the planet and create opportunities to improve the wellbeing of people in schools, medical facilities and public places.
Meritor India has been an early adopter of initiatives to sustain our business and reduce our impact on the planet. We work to create a positive impact around Karnataka State through multiple programmes focusing on social awareness, education and improvement of living standards. One of these initiatives is our journey towards a water-positive environment. We have contributed to the State’s Mysuru Water Positive project which has taken up rejuvenation of water bodies in and around Mysuru city. One example is the transformation of the 9.5-acre Thippayanakere Lake. Today, the lake is filled with clean water, thanks to a financial contribution from Automotive Axles Limited (AAL), a joint venture between Meritor and the Kalyani Group, and a partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Mysuru District administration. The objective was to improve the dying groundwater level, due to accumulation of silt through the decades. The lake, which had dried up, is completely restored and is full of water with a variety of birds gaining back Thippayanakare’s scenic beauty. Rejuvenation work at Kenchenahalli Lake in Bengaluru is in progress.
We have set up an in-house sewage and effluent treatment facility to harvest rainwater for domestic and industrial purposes, such as gardening and urinal flushing. Our Mysuru facility reuses 80 percent of coolants to maximise usable lifetimes and maintain zero-discharge status at the plants. The storm water harvesting and groundwater recharging will help rejuvenate additional bodies of water. Other natural resource conservation initiatives include distribution of LED lighting at Government schools during Deepawali, a go-green initiative of planting saplings in the housing locality near our Mysuru facility, replacing ozone depleting substances from LPG-hydrocarbon fuel-based forklifts with battery operated units, and renewable energy utilisation through the installation of solar-based streetlights, rooftop panels and water heaters. Our established supply chain management practices also set expectations for suppliers around our core principles and practices and to ensure the entire supplier base is meeting our sustainability requirements. Meritor’s innovative green product designs are helping the environment, too. We’re developing lighter, more efficient and durable products to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. We are also leading the way in the development of full-electric axle and braking systems for the medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicle markets, a proactive step towards a cleaner, greener future.
The other sustainability initiatives by Meritor’s India operations are:
Social Awareness: Meritor India gives more than 250 eco-friendly Ganesha idols to employees during the Ganesh Festival that are deposited in waterways, resulting in lower pollution than idols made from traditional plaster of paris and colours; Employees participate in a citywide walkathon in Mysuru promoting organ donation awareness; Our Bengaluru and Mysuru sites organize health awareness sessions for employees’ spouses and children.
Education: Meritor India has adopted four government schools and provides them with books and uniforms to help groom the children for a better future; We sponsor and conduct environmental and safety awareness sessions for children at government schools to explain the impact of fireworks on the environment and safety during Deepavali; We work with the Kalisu Foundation to help fund libraries at Government schools in Hinkal and Hootagalli, benefitting more than 500 students.
Community Infrastructure Development: Mysuru Palace now has a first-of-its kind public convenience facility, offering hygienic and dignified sanitary units for visitors, thanks to our financial contribution. The facility has rainwater harvesting and is built with the latest sensor technology to minimise waste of water and maximise conservation. The facility’s water treatment plant provides drinking water for the public visting the palace. Low-emission LED lighting also conserves energy. Overall, the facility is built around the reduce, reuse and recycle concept. We funded a roof shelter, solar lamps and daily lunches at Chiguru Ashrama, a home for mentally ill women.
However, Meritor’s commitment to corporate social responsibility isn’t limited to special projects. We are also leading the way in the development of full-electric axle and braking systems for the medium and heavy-duty commercial vehicle markets. We also support good environmental stewardship through the development of products that respect the Earth’s limited resources and operations that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For example, the company is currently developing an electrification solution for commercial vehicle drivetrains to help OEMs meet the BS-VI emission standards for 2020.
The very essence of sustainability is to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to thrive. It is important and essential that we take conscious efforts to conserve the environment in all possible ways.
Thimmaiah Napanda is Head of Meritor in India and VP Australia. The responsibilities for both the regions include operations and P&L management. The aftermarket responsibility includes whole of ASEAN. The oversight responsibility also includes managing the Global Engineering Centre & Global Sourcing activities from India. His key accomplishments include developing and executing a strategy to double the business and improve profitability, and transform the 35 years old company to world class level in terms of culture, manufacturing and performance. Prior to Meritor, Thimmaiah was Managing Director at Honeywell Turbo & Honeywell Transportation System, Pune for 8 years.