ad info

 > summer special 2000
For the year 2000

The Best Government Reformer
How Asia Is Governed
The Best Local Administrator
The Best Activist

The Best Dealmaker
The Best IPO
The Best Stock
The Best Advocate of Shareholder Rights
The Best Fund Manager
The Best Cost Cutter

The Best Airport
The Best Hotel Service
The Best Hotel Gym
The Best Store
The Best Food

In Tune with Nature
The Best Forest Preserve
The Best City Park
The Best Transport
The Best Green Test
The Best Marine Preserve
The Best Marine Park

The Hottest Video Game
The Hottest Gadget
The Hottest Portal
The Best Asian Websites

The Hottest Fad
The Hottest Toy
The Hottest TV Show
The Hottest Album
The Best Movie
The Best Short Film


Intro | Forest Preserve |  City Park | Transport | Marine Preserve |  Marine Park
The Best Green Test

Faced with a polluting — and powerful — industry, how do you get the owners to change their ways? Green audits work well for the Center for Science and Environment in Delhi. These began about two years ago as a pilot project to rate the ecological performance of paper mills, one of the dirtiest sectors in India. There was no reliable official data, so the group decided to collect its own statistics — a daunting task.

Project coordinator Chandra Bhushan and his team went directly to 28 selected plants, which accounted for half of India's paper production. Most were in conflict with the local people; one mill faced 26 suits by citizens groups. Why would they cooperate? A carrot and stick approach. First, CSE warned that companies refusing to disclose relevant data would automatically be rated the worst. Then, as incentive, it pledged to give special weighting to plants which were making an effort to clean up. A team of 270 volunteers inspecting the sites ensured reasonably accurate data in the final tally last year.

A dirty dozen plants got the worst "one-leaf" rating and none ranked better than three (five is greenest). No surprises there. But the study also showed how wasteful the processes were. For example, an Indian plant uses some 300 tons of water to make one ton of paper compared to 25 tons in industrialized nations. More importantly, the survey, which also examined financial results, showed that greener mills were more likely to have a healthy bottom line. "Companies must plow back earnings into process efficiency," says Bhushan. Managers are getting the message. Where there was only one plant with the ISO 14001 stamp of clean production, now there are 14. With such results, regulators could surely take a leaf out of CSE's book.

— By Ritu Sarin

Write to Asiaweek at



Asia's Best Home
Asiaweek features | Asiaweek home