Fortnightly News Bulletin (June 6, 2012)
Messages from CSE:

Dear Friends,
We are happy to announce the release of the Green Rating of the Indian iron and steel industry. The Green Rating Project (GRP) is a very
innovative project from CSE, designed to push industries towards better environmental performance and accountability.

GRP is a public disclosure programme in which the environmental performance of companies within an industrial sector is assessed and disclosed to the public.

The iron and Steel sector is the fifth industrial sector to be rated by GRP. The Project had previously rated pulp and paper (1999 and 2004), automobile (2001), chlor-Alkali (2002) and cement (2005) sectors. In all these sectors, the ratings have led to significant improvements in environmental performance of companies and better policy formulation by the government.

GRP has rated India's top steel companies (all with production of more than 0.5 million tonnes of steel) on more than 150 parameters, using life cycle analysis tools.Our final assessment is that the Indian steel sector is struggling to meet even the minimum national pollution standards and therefore, has tremendous scope for improvement in all areas -- energy, water, pollution, health and safety etc. As a whole, the steel sector received a mere 19 per cent marks and the One Leaf Award. Of the 21 companies rated by GRP, only three scored over 35 per cent marks and got the Three Leaves Award – which points to an average performance.

Our recommendation to the government and the industry is that the steel sector must be pushed to leapfrog towards global best practices;
marginal improvements will not help as the sheer growth of the sector will lead to insurmountable social and environmental problems.

We have all the information on our website, www.cseindia.org. Please do read them, and in case you have any comments, just get in touch with my colleague, Umashankar S, at uma@cseindia.org, or visit http://csestore.cse.org.in/ to buy the GRP report.

Thank you
Chandra Bhushan


'Building a true green economy'

The world has to reinvent growth as it is costing it the Earth...
Sunita Narain's message on June 5, World Environment Day
To read, just visit http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/building-true-green-economy


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EDITORIAL: The steel shock
by Sunita Narain


When the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) started its Green Rating Project in the mid-1990s, India had just liberalised its economy. Fears were that it would be disastrous if the country took the route to economic growth that ignored environmental considerations. The Green Rating Project was designed to find ways of measuring the environmental performance of companies and to drive changes in policy and practice through public disclosure.

First we rated the pulp and paper sector that has a massive footprint on the environment. It is also a sector that needs huge quantities of water for production and creates pollution on a large scale. When CSE wrote to companies about its public disclosure project, the response, to say the least, was lukewarm. Frankly, they did not have a clue about environmental management. They did not know what to monitor or measure, nor did they have a department for such affairs. Only one company had an ISO 14001 certification. The first rating put emphasis on management systems. But an interesting outcome was the gradual opening up of this sector to public scrutiny and disclosure. There was willingness to engage, a desire to learn.e rating was successful, especially if one considers the fact that when we returned to this sector some five years later, we saw much improvement.The industry accepted the fact that the benchmarks we provided on different resource use and environmental performance parameters helped it improve its accounting. This in turn cleaned up its act.

When we rated other sectors—automobile, chlor-alkali and cement—in the first decade of this century we thought India had crossed the environmental hump. In each sector we saw improvement. By the time we reached the cement sector we noted Indian industry was close to the global best on many parameters. Environmental performance was worse where there was no visible push. But on the whole, everything looked better. By then environment was the in thing; company heads were discussing this; management systems existed and there was public adulation for companies with green credentials. Even the most polluting industry would not say that it was not green. We were ready to say that environment had been mainstreamed in Indian industry.

However, in 2012 we would like to revise our assessment. It follows from the rating of the iron and steel sector. It is the core sector of the economy (with its own Union ministry and its very own prime minister’s award for best performer) that involves the biggest industry names. Rating it has been a shocker. The Green Rating Project’s assessment, after two years of detailed plant-wise scrutiny, is that this sector is non-transparent, non-compliant with weak environmental norms and is getting away with it because of an even weaker regulatory framework.

What is also clear is that economics of production is a key driver for change. It makes companies innovate to improve the bottom line. In this sector, which is all about material and energy, anything that companies do to improve their bottom line also works to better environmental performance. It is interesting to note that top three companies work against economic odds. They import fuel and do not have captive mines for iron ore. In gas-based Essar Steel at Hazira and Ispat Industries in Raigad energy costs are as high as 23-30 per cent of the turnover. In Rashtriya Ispat Nigam in Visakhapatnam iron ore constitutes 17 per cent of its turnover and coking coal another 31 per cent. But in Tata Steel in Jamshedpur, Jindal Steel and Power in Raigarh or SAIL in Rourkela the cost of iron ore is only 3-10 per cent of the turnover.

So, there is no level playing field. The top three companies have no option but to innovate. They have invested in efficient technologies and work hard to reduce the cost of energy and improve material efficiency by ensuring reuse. This effort, made for economic imperatives, also improves their environmental performance. But it is incidental, not deliberate. That’s why it is not enough, and it shows up in the CSE scorecard. Even the best company, which has inherent advantages of running on clean fuel like natural gas and imports its coking coal, scores a low 40 per cent.

The poor environmental performance of this sector points to the complete failure of the regulatory institutions. Nobody is asking this sector to improve its green bottom line; nobody measures and monitors actual performance. One should not be surprised for the country has worked to decimate its pollution regulatory structure.

As I said, this does not bode well for the future. This is a sector that is expanding fast. Within this decade steel production has gone from 24 million tonnes annually to close to 70 million tonnes. It is aiming to be a 100-million-tonne industry in the next four years. If expansion takes place in this business-as-usually-bad scenario, environmental costs will be too high for the country to bear. Therefore, there is only one way ahead: to move towards a truly green steel industry, and not spend more time on greenwash. This is technically achievable. The only question is who and what will drive the change.

Post your comments on this editorial online at http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/steel-shock


- Cover Story: Stained steel
The iron and steel sector is big business, and it is growing bigger. A green rating finds it leaving behind
enormous ecological footprints

- Special Report: Whose corridor is it?
A proposed elephant corridor has turned the eco-sensitive Sigur plataeu into a war zone

- Features: Children once again
A chat and books persuade parents in Shravasti to not marry off young girls

- Science and Technology: Cattle burps
Methane emissions from Indian livestock lower than estimated

- Science and Technology: Green Revolution’s hidden toll
Diabetes, obesity, malaria, Japanese Encephalitis and more

- Interview: ‘Independent India worse for tribals’
Excerpts from the conversation with B D Sharma, the mover behind the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act

- News: Uncommon swing for commons
States rush in with new policies and programmes to protect village land

- News: The power of intermediaries
Move to rein in Internet censorship falters; ISPs continue to block websites

- News: Prize for tiller, loss for industry
Parliamentary panel makes recommendations on land acquisition Bill

- Crosscurrents: How green is “green”?
Consumers can determine that by demanding eco-friendly products

- Column: Patently Absurd
Righting the copywrong

Down To Earth is now on Facebook and Twitter. Do follow us, share,
comment, and discuss and stay in constant touch with our reporters on
www.facebook.com/down2earthindia and twitter@downtoearthindia.


- News: Tourism to be prohibited in Jarawa reserve
Cabinet approves regulation declaring five km reserved area inhabited by the aboriginal tribe as buffer zone

- Photo Gallery: Impolitely yours

- Blogs: The great biodiversity vanishing trick
Since government cannot be trusted to protect Western Ghats, people should control it

- Blogs: Government's U turn on poverty line
Goes back on commitment to delink social welfare programmes from poverty line

On India Environment Portal

New on the Renewable Energy Portal
- Photo essay on the 'Solar Trick'
A number of solar mission projects are operational only on paper. The government has decided to act tough
with 14 companies which did not commission their solar power projects in time

CSE Photo Library presents a selection of photos on environment and development by Anil Agarwal and Sunita Narain

India Environment Portal is now on Facebook and Twitter. Do follow us, share, comment, and discuss and
stay in constant touch with us on
http://www.facebook.com/pages/indiaenvironmentportal/228015872817 and

For more details or any assistance, contact Kiran Pandey at
kiran@cseindia.org, kirandwi@gmail.com.


Courses offered by Anil Agarwal Green College

CSE's short-term training programme on Social Impact Assessment

Date: June 25-27, 2012
Last date for applying: June 4, 2012

Course content:
- Exposure to aspects of SIA, from theory to applications
- Integrated approach for addressing SIA and EIA process - from scoping,
data collection to impact assessment and role of public
- Knowledge on review of SIA reports and identification of strengths and
- Post SIA monitoring
- Procedure for institutional strengthening and capacity building
- Experience sharing on national and international best practices in SIA

For details, contact:
Swati Singh Sambyal
Ph: 91-11-2995 5124 / 6110 (Ext. 281); Fax: 91-11-2995 5879
Mobile: 9910496283
Email: swati@cseindia.org

Urban Transport Strategies for Sustainable Cities
An orientation programme for policy makers

Date: July 3-5, 2012

Course Module
- Challenges of urbanization and mobility crisis
- Environmental impacts -- air pollution, congestion, public health, energy and climate impacts
- Challenges of mobility management
- Strategies to scale up public transport and design multi-modal integration
- Bus sector reforms
- Making cities walkable
- Non-motorised transport
- Parking policy as a congestion reduction strategy
- Funding public transport
- Lessons from JNNURM programme

For details, contact:
Priyanka Chandola
Centre for Science and Environment
41, Tughlakabad Institutional Area
New Delhi - 110062
Tel: +91 - 11 - 29955124
Mob: +91 - 9810414938
Fax: +91 – 11 - 29955879
Email: priyanka@cseindia.org

Or visit http://cseindia.org/content/orientation-programme-urban-transport-strategies-sustainable-cities

4 days training on Sustainable Water Management
For practitioners, academicians and researchers of Nepal

Date: July 5-9 , 2012

For details, contact:
Dr Suresh Kumar Rohilla
Programme Director – UWM, CSE New Delhi
Email: srohilla@cseindia.org

or visit http://cseindia.org/content/training-programme-sustainable-water-management-nepal

For regular updates, follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cseindia

- Excreta Matters release in Pune
Date: June 8, 2012

CSE's seventh State of India's Environment report on water and
wastewater management is being released in cities across the country --
after Gurgaon, Agra and Patna, Pune is the next venue. The book release will
be followed by a panel discussion and public meeting.

For details, please contact Nitya Jacob at nitya@cseindia.org

- Media Briefing Workshop -- 'Build them green: Deconstructing the building sector in India
A two-day workshop for Indian journalists which will examine buildings beyond their mere structures,
and demystify the ideas and concepts behind 'green' buildings

Date: June 28-29, 2012
Place: New Delhi

For details, kindly visit http://cseindia.org/content/build-them-green-deconstructing-building-sector-india or
get in touch with Papia at papia@cseindia.org or 09811906977

- Green Building Rating: Overrated

CSE's Sustainable Building Programme has come out with a report card on green building ratings in India. This assessment attempts to check the current level of transparency in green rating programmes that allows us to understand the level and nature of application of green measures in the rated buildings. It further explores if systems are in place to verify efficacy of the green rating programmes before tying policy to green ratings.

To read the report, please visit
For further details, please contact Sakshi C. Dasgupta,
Mobile: +91 9811910901
Email: sakshi@cseindia.org

- Environmental Governance Quarterly

The first edition of Environmental Governance Quarterly Newsletter is out. This newsletter is open to contribution, but the final call on the
selection of the article will remain with the editorial team. Read on

- Update from Catch Water newsletter

In this issue of Catch Water, the main stories look at the failure of the government to play its role of a custodian and trustee of water resources on behalf of the people. Groundwater is being mined recklessly across the country, with the government playing the role of an onlooker....
To read more, just go to http://cseindia.org/content/newsletter-2

- Green Building Report

CSE's Green Building Team has come out with a report on ‘Buildings:
Earthscrapers: Environment Impact Assessment of Buildings’- A critique on the current regulatory instrument available to assess the
environmental impact.

To download the report, please visit http://www.cseindia.org/node/3585

For any queries get in touch with Sakshi C. Dasgupta at sakshi@cseindia.org

- RainWater Harvesting Technical Support

Every Friday between 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, CSE provides detailed technical guidance to interested individuals, RWAs and institutions to implement
rainwater harvesting. This technical assistance is provided at CSE’s office at 41, Tughlakabad Institutional Area, New Delhi.

For details, see

- Technical advice: Decentralised wastewater treatment systems

Every second and fourth Friday, meet our experts at CSE, 41, Tughlaqabad
Institutional Area for guidance on planning and designing these systems.

For details, contact Deblina at deblina@cseindia.org or call her on

The CSE Store

Into the Furnace: The life cycle analysis of Indian iron and steel industry
The latest publication from CSE -- a report of the green rating of one of India's key
industrial sectors.

For details and to order, just go to http://csestore.cse.org.in/books/environment/into-the-furnace-1.html

Food as toxin
“All substances are poisons; the right dose differentiates a poison and
a remedy.” Modern food regulation is about  determining what is that
right dose in our daily diet.

How is food safety defined? What are the global systems that regulate
food safety? What does ‘Acceptable Daily Intake’ (ADI) mean? Why do we have
to accept pesticides in our food?

If you are also troubled with questions like these and some more, you
are not alone. It concerns the health and well being of every family,
and that's why we did a careful in-depth research and came out with this
revealing new book, which will give you all the answers.

For more details please contact us at pub@cseindia.org.


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