Chennai: Following the certification of Ashok Leyland's mother plant in Chennai last year, the Indian Register Quality Systems has now certified the company's two units in Hosur and one each in Bhandara and Alwar. With this, all major manufacturing units of the Hinduja group flagship company have ISO 14001 certified Environmental Management Systems now.
Ecology, for long, has been Ashok Leyland's R&D focus. Developmental work done on alternative fuels and energy sources was instrumental in the launch of India's first CNG bus in 1997, and in the launch of the Hybrid Electric Bus early this year. The 14001 certification only proves that every vehicle that rolls out of Ashok Leyland is a product of a manufacturing process of global environmental standards, says Ashok Leyland managing director R Seshasayee.
The eco-friendly manufacturing systems and processes, energy conservation measures and large-scale greening initiatives are a result of constant review and improvisation. They reflect the company's commitment to a clean and green environment, says Ashok Leyland executive director JN Amrolia.
The company has phased out lead and ozone depleting substances from heat-treatment processes. Similarly, lead shots were replaced with steel shots in the shot-blasting process in all manufacturing locations, while there has been a 20 per cent reduction in energy consumption across the units.
Plans are afoot to make the units in Ennore, Hosur and Bhandara 100 per cent wind-energy reliant. On an average, the effluent treatment plants yield 1.7 million litres of recycled water, which goes to greening the factory environs.
Says Amrolia, "What is most heartening is that though starting off top-down, environmental consciousness has percolated to the grassroots level with many self-directed employee teams taking up and successfully implementing projects centred around resource conservation and ecology. To encourage eco-sensitivity, the company has initiated an annual inter-unit competition for the Green Shield Award.
In the meantime, going beyond the ISO 14001 certification, the company, in phase I of the greening the supply chain initiative, worked closely with six suppliers to improve their environmental standards. Encouraged by the results, the company will shortly launch phase II, involving a dozen suppliers based in Chennai and Hosur.