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L to r: V Narasimhan (Brakes India), Palani Perisamy (SICCI), Bharat Joshi (British High Commission), Einsenhower (Saint Gobain), Bhoo Thirumalai (Aspiration Energy)

Quick Facts

  • Event Organized by the Southern India Chamber of Commerce & Industry
  • 23rd June, Chennai
  • Organizers
    • Dr Palani Periasamy, Vice President, SICCI
    • Bhoovarahan Thirumalai, Chairman, SICCI Energy Committee
  • Guest of Honor
    • Bharat Joshi, British Deputy High Commissioner, Chennai
  • Main Presenters
    • V Narasimhan, Executive Director, Foundry, Brakes India
    • Eisenhower, India Director – Operations, Saint Gobain Glass

Attended a brief but interesting discussion on green industrialization, organised by SICCI, at Chennai last week.

My main interest was to listen to what two large firms – Brakes India and Saint Gobain – had accomplished in this domain. For someone like me in the consulting field, hearing to what could be done was getting really boring – let’s say we were all getting impatient to see people talking the walk.

So when I came to know both these companies would be talking about all the green stuff they had done, I thought I should check it out.

Just so I do justice to the rest of the folks who also contributed, the discussion had brief inputs from Dr Palani Periasamy, Vice President, SICCI, Bhoovarahan Thirumalai, Chairman, SICCI Energy Committee (and who was the one kind enough to invite me) and Bharat Joshi, British Deputy High Commissioner, Chennai.

But of course, as I said, most folks there had attended the event to know what Brakes India and Saint Gobain had to say.

Overall, I must say I was impressed by what both companies had done, so much that I blurted out to them “It appears that you have done all that could be done in green,” – of course, more in the hope that such a platitude would extract from them what else they planned to do in future. Where of course, I failed.

Anyway, here we go on the specifics of what Brakes India and Saint Gobain had done.

Notes from the presentation of V Narasimhan, Brakes India

Water Conservation

  • They are 13% water positive
  • They have a huge rain water collection tank…

Waste Management

  • They use waste for construction
  • They do a lot of RDF
  • Only 3% of their stuff goes down the drain as waste, even this they wish to make these to go to their bottom line…

Energy Efficiency

  • Their energy requirements decreased from 0.086 mtoe/ton to 0.082 between 2011 to 2015. Not considerable I guess, but as he himself admitted, there is scope for much more improvement. ((mtoe = million tons of oil equivalent)

Renewable Energy

  • They get 64 million kwh from wind annually, that must be almost 30 MW (my guess)
  • 8 MW solar plant (this was set up by SunEdison recently)
  • GHG emissions come down by 40% in the past few years, mainly through wind power purchase..

Environment Care

  • It was a semi arid drought prone area when they went there 34 years back, but now there is a lot of greenery and green belt development (this is something that many companies setting up shop in such regions can attempt)


  • They use reusable pallets 88% – closed loop pallet handling, collapsible…that’s impressive I must say
  • Rail is their first choice of transport as it is the least energy consuming avenue, barge and ships next preferred and trucks the most energy consuming, so preferred least
  • They try to do everything closed loop…
  • Perhaps the second foundry in the world to get the Deming prize…

That was from Brakes India.

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Eisenhower, Director – Operations, Saint Gobain


  • They have a massive rain water harvesting tank…
  • Largest roof for water harvesting in Tamil Nadu…
    • Roof water is stored in a huge reservoir…
  • 90 days of their water requirements is met from their water harvesting

Renewable Energy

  • 350 kW solar at their Chennai plant
  • 450 kW on roof of Bhiwadi plant

Resource Conservation

  • They are transporting glass without packing materials – this was pretty interesting and impressive, how this global leader has innovated to somehow transport a sensitive material such as glass with little or no packing materials.

Energy Efficiency

  • 30% energy saved on furnace mainly through computerization…that’s once again a useful take away for many other companies that might have similar operations.
  • Waste heat recovery – generates 0.8 MW of steam


From Bharat Joshi, Dy British High Commissioner

  • They do some work with CIIE – incubation arm of IIMA
  • India – has 17% of world population on 3% of world land and 4% of worlds water…
  • Tackling the global problem is impossible without India’s participation
  • The UK is the worlds largest investor in India
  • UK have half of Europes offshore wind farms…
  • UK also has the worlds largest working offshore wind farm…
  • 150 million pounds of research invested by UK in India
  • Working with MNRE to out up a offshore wind farm in India, most likely will come up in Gujarat…

Other interesting stuff I learnt, not necessarily to do with sustainability

  • Saint Gobain is not in glass alone, they are also in building materials…
  • They was started to make glass for the Palace of Versailles
  • They make fire protection glass – you could stand on the other side of glass with fire on the other side and stand for 2 hours…outside of France, this fire protection glass is made only in Chennai…
  • They are in the 5th generation of glasses, which could extend to sophisticated glasses that you could control sunlight with a switch, and photo chromatic glass
Check out: Sustainability Edge – EAI Consulting to assist corporates design, evaluate and align sustainability strategies

About Narasimhan Santhanam (Narsi)

Narsi, a Director at EAI, Co-founded one of India's first climate tech consulting firm in 2008.

Since then, he has assisted over 250 Indian and International firms, across many climate tech domain Solar, Bio-energy, Green hydrogen, E-Mobility, Green Chemicals.

Narsi works closely with senior and top management corporates and helps then devise strategy and go-to-market plans to benefit from the fast growing Indian Climate tech market.

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