the magnitude of its achievement, the Platinum-rated CII-Sohrabji
Godrej Green Business Centre (GBC) at Madhapur Village in Hyderabad
had a low-key house-warming and thanksgiving function on 11 February,
2004. The celebration was confined to those involved in financing,
planning and designing the Centre. The Centre is already functional
and the President of India will inaugurate it shortly.
“The pooja was performed by Mr. Jamshyd Godrej, past President of
the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Chairman and Managing
Director of Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd., and Mrs. Pheroza Godrej,”
writes Air Cmde. S.C. Kumar, Project Coordinator. “It was indeed
a moment of great pride and honour for all the staff of the CII-Sohrabji
Godrej GBC that the ‘first couple’ participated in the function.
“A further highlight of the day’s activity was a short but memorable
visit by the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Mr. Nara
Chandrababu Naidu. He was received by Mr. and Mrs. Godrej. Mr. Godrej
escorted the Chief Minister around the building and drew his attention
to the special features incorporated in the building. The Chief
Minister was impressed by what he saw and expressed his happiness
on the completion of the CII-Sohrabji Godrej GBC building and hoped
that the GBC would be able to offer Green services to the Government
of Andhra Pradesh.
Jamshyd Godrej, Chairman, CII-Sohrabji
Godrej Green Business Centre, escorts Nara Chandrababu Naidu, Hon'ble
Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.
other dignitaries at the function included Anil Kumar V. Epur, Past
Chairman CII–SR, Shobana Kamineni, Deputy Chairperson CII–SR, ParasuRaman
R., Chairman, Green Building Council, Pradeep Dhobale, Chairman,
Energy Efficiency Council of the CII-Sohrabji Godrej GBC, G.V. Prasad,
Chairman, Green Business Summit, Ramesh Datla, Vice Chairman, CII
– Andhra Pradesh State Council, Air Chief Marshal (Retd.) I.H. Latif
and Bilkees Latif.
“This was followed by the ‘thanksgiving’ meeting attended by the
architects, consultants and contractors of the building. Jamshyd
and Pheroza Godrej, Karan Grover (Architect), S. Padmanaban (Senior
Adviser to the United States Agency for International Development)
and S. Raghupathy (Senior Director and Head, GBC) spoke on the occasion.
Each one narrated an interesting anecdote pertaining to the evolution
of the concept of the CII-Sohrabji Godrej GBC. Jamshyd Godrej thanked
all the contractors who assisted in the construction of the building
and congratulated them for their signal contribution to the success
of the project. Pheroza Godrej wished the GBC staff the best of
luck in their endeavour to promote the Green Building movement in
India. She also presented mementos to all the contractors as a token
of appreciation for their valuable contribution in completing the
building to the highest standards.
Clockwise: Air Chief Marshal (Retd.) I.H. Latif, Pheroza Godrej,
Jamshyd Godrej and Chandrababu Naidu in conversation.
Jamshyd Godrej addresses the thanksgiving meeting in the Seminar
Hall of the GBC. Seated (l-r) are S. Raghupathy, Senior Director, Head, CII-Sohrabji
S. Padmanaban, Senior Adviser, USAID, Pheroza Godrej, Karan Grover, Architect, and Air Cmde.
S.C. Kumar, Project Coordinator, CII-Sohrabji Godrej GBC.
Raghupathy, Senior Director and Head of the CII-Sohrabji Godrej
GBC, welcomed the gathering and Air Cmde. S.C. Kumar proposed the
vote of thanks. The meeting ended with a formal lunch for all the
The whole project germinated from an idea sown by Srinivasan Padmanaban,
Senior Energy and Environment Adviser to USAID. The January-February
2004 issue of SPAN magazine recounts how the idea took shape with
the visit to India of John Armstrong, an energy expert and consultant
in the U.S. in 2000: “Armstrong worked out a comprehensive business
plan for CII and advised them to send a group of Indian experts
in energy and environment, along with an architect, on a ‘design
tour’ to the United States. The group learned about new ‘Green architecture’
design concepts and how to adapt them to Indian conditions during
their visit to several cities.”
seminars and conferences organised by USAID and CII on the Green
Building concept got Indian corporations interested. The Pirojsha
Godrej Foundation and the Soonabai Pirojsha Godrej Foundation have
provided a significant donation for the Centre and, in addition,
USAID granted $1.2 million funds for conducting Green-related activities
in India over a period of two years. The response received was most
Jamshyd Godrej and Karan Grover browse through SPAN magazine,
which carried an article on the GBC. Seen on the extreme left is
Air Cmde. S.C. Kumar and (centre) C.R. Narayan Rao, Commissioning
Clockwise: Pheroza Godrej presents a memento to Sangram Sinh and Karan
depended, however, on getting the right men to execute this noble
idea. Karan Grover, an architect who had already made a name for
himself with his gold medal-winning thesis on Pedestrian Precincts
and his Masters on housing for the urban poor in London, offered
his professional services to the Green Business Centre.
back to his roots has been the source of inspiration for much of
Grover’s work. A recent article in The Indian Express credits
him with achieving World Monument Status for the medieval site of
Champaner at Pavagadh. About the GBC, too, he is quoted in The Indian
Express as saying, “It’s not the first time for India. We have
been doing it since ancient times. The jaali work in the
Taj Mahal provides what is called the Venturi effect in modern buildings,
it helps pre-cool air. Similarly, the Bettum Cherla stone used for
the GBC was local, as were the workers employed in construction.
Also, the root zone water treatment system we have used in the GBC
is very common in Mughal Gardens.”
Kurshed Daruwala, Vice President, Sterling and Wilson, and (right)
a representative of D.S. Gupta, plumbing contractor, receive mementos
from Pheroza Godrej.
About the CII-Sohrabji Godrej GBC, Grover remarks: “From wind towers
that pre-cool the air by 10 degrees to photocells that help generate
20 per cent of the building’s annual energy requirements, the Green
Business Centre is an energy-efficient marvel.” Additional outstanding
features are the two 45-feet wind towers and screen walls, to provide
pre-cooled air to the ACs, photovoltaic panels to generate solar
energy and root zone treatment for all the waste water generated
The staff of the CII-Sohrabji Godrej
Green Business Centre with Jamshyd Godrej (centre) proudly holding the Platinum plaque awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council. Pheroza Godrej is seated beside him.
Green Centre is a great monument in itself and has clearly defined
aims to foster excellence in energy efficiency, environment and
recycling, renewable energy and water management, which are all
issues facing Indian industry today. The Centre is facilitating
with a mission of having at least 10 Green Buildings in India by
REACHING OUT TO BUILD THE BRAND IN THE CORPORATE SECTOR
Ch. The Platinum Rating for the
Centre of Excellence in Hyderabad is a high point in Godrej
achievements as Corporate Citizen. What is interesting is that
you planned and achieved this rating from the very start, unlike
the other two similarly rated centres. What inspired you to go a
step further than these two?
JNG. The Green Business Centre was
planned from inception to demonstrate Green technologies and as
such the achievement of the Platinum Rating was essential for
this purpose. We were fortunate in being the first building in
the world approved for Platinum under LEED 2.0.
Ch. The Andhra Pradesh
Government gave you full support. But there must have been
several hurdles to cross. What were these, and how did you
JNG. The only hurdles were routine
ones. In fact the Andhra Pradesh Government went out of its way
to facilitate the building of the Centre. Land required by us
was made available in a high-tech area. Several CII members,
too, supported the venture in the belief that it would offer
long-term returns both to the industry and the country.
Ch. According to a recent
article in SPAN magazine, the total construction cost was Rs. 80
million of which you generously contributed Rs. 50 million. Is
JNG. The total cost, which is
correct, includes not only the actual building but the cost of
equipping it. The Pirojsha Godrej Foundation and the Soonabai
Pirojsha Godrej Foundation generously contributed Rs. 50
Ch. Have you any plans for more
such ratings? What about the Centre of Excellence being built by
Godrej at Pirojshanagar?
JNG. Yes, indeed. We are planning
the CII-Naoroji Godrej Centre of Excellence to be a Platinum- or
Ch. The Green Business Centre,
according to SPAN, plans to reach out to 2,500 business houses
in order to build the brand in the corporate sector. Is it true
that you plan to promote five such Green Building ventures by
JNG. The major objective is to
reach out to as many business houses as possible to promote
Green Business processes in the corporate sector. The North
Delhi Power Company of the Tata Group, the proposed ITC
headquarters in Gurgaon and Dr. Reddy Laboratories in Hyderabad
have shown interest. Indications are that we will exceed the
target of five such Green Buildings by 2005.
Ch. Is it your goal to make
India a global leader in Green Businesses so that savings will
accrue in energy and water and lead to bigger savings to society
JNG. To make India a global leader
in Green Businesses is certainly a major goal. We are convinced
that this makes sound business and economic sense. Huge savings
can accrue to society in energy and water-related costs.
Ch. Is it a fact that the
initial cost outlay for Green Building construction is only 10
per cent more than the cost of conventional buildings and that
this extra cost can easily be made up from savings in energy and
JNG. My expectation is that the
additional cost of a Green Building over a conventional building
would be approximately 10 to 15 per cent of the total cost.
However, due to significant savings in energy and water
conservation and other Green features, the payback for the
additional cost will be within three years.
Ch. Will you please
elaborate on the stated objectives of the Green Business Centre
- providing a platform for demonstrating Green products and
technologies; a networking centre for entrepreneurs and
businesses going Green; bringing out a Green Business directory
covering the latest trends and practices; a permanent technology
centre to showcase available technologies in Green-related
JNG. No doubt these are our
objectives, but you’ve missed out one activity, which deserves
top priority. This is water conservation and management. Water
shortage in the not-too-distant future threatens not only India
but the entire world. We plan to do all in our power to persuade
architects and builders to incorporate Green principles in
whatever they build. We intend to bring pressure on the
Government too to do the needful. We need to learn from America.
There is a strong Green movement in America. To give just one
example, California is a pioneer in controlling car pollution,
having made a law to this effect.
Ch. Would you agree that the
very fact that such ratings are being given by a world-recognised
body will prove to be an impetus towards building, in due
course, a Green Economy that will create enormous wealth, not
only in material goods, but more generally in ecological
regeneration and human well-being?
JNG. The whole idea of Green
technology grew from the sad fact that today one-third of
humanity consumes a disproportionate amount of goods. Now, if
the other two-thirds, which are today deprived, were to consume
the same amount, the resources would just not be available. This
is why we have to have development in a sustained manner,
otherwise the cost could be exorbitant for future generations.
Ch. A lead article in the
Times recently quotes the Indian activist Stan Thekaekara
saying, in his Alternative Mansion House speech, that the
success of an economy is to be reckoned “not just by the profits
generated, but how equitably this profit has been distributed”.
What are your views on this?
JNG. An economy is successful when
there is significant growth, employment opportunities, and an
equitable distribution of income. Generating profits by the
corporate sector is essentially for reinvestment in capital
goods and human resources. The competitiveness of countries and
the companies within their borders are determined by many
factors. A high level of competitiveness is essential for high
performing economies. Companies all over the world and
especially in developing countries believe in the importance of
equitable distribution of profits in such a manner that local
communities and international communities benefit from
contributions of money and human resources.
Ch. The Times article
also speaks of the “globalisation of markets” becoming over a
period of time “a globalisation of values” (meaning gains in
terms of human welfare, environmental balance, besides money)
and an “economy of hope”. Do you think this is just a dream or
that it is achievable?
JNG. One of the fundamental
reasons for globalisation is to create jobs and opportunities in
developing countries. The record of globalisation so far
indicates that on balance globalisation has been successful in
creating more jobs and opportunities throughout the world. There
are, of course, many issues touched upon such as equity, human
rights and environmental balance. It is a difficult balance to
maintain when development needs of developing countries are so
huge and often the rate of development is disappointing.
Market-led mechanisms have been found over time to be the most
efficient option as opposed to directed growth. Keeping this in
mind, one can hope that the needs of globalisation and
development will give due respect to issues such as human rights
and environment balance. The role of NGOs (non-governmental
organisations) and of a free press in furthering this balance to
the maximum possible extent cannot be underestimated.
Transparency and open debates are essential to achieve this
USHERING IN A GREEN ECONOMY,
LEADING TO HUMAN WELL-BEING
Ch. You have been associated
with the CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre in Hyderabad
from its inception. How do you feel now that the Centre is
complete and has a Platinum Rating to its name?
SCK. Personally, the award of the
Platinum Rating to the CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre
building has given me a great sense of satisfaction, recognition
and abiding fulfilment. I consider myself singularly fortunate
to be associated with this prestigious project.
Ch. Could you acquaint us with
the exact nature of your responsibilities in maintaining and
running this Centre? What are the business activities that will
be carried on at the Centre? Will they be environment-oriented
SCK. I was appointed as a Project
Coordinator with a full mandate to act as the client and ensure
the achievement of the goals set out for the project. Now that
the project is over, the responsibility for the day-to-day
running of the Centre has been entrusted to a team headed by me.
This includes the upkeep and operations of all the special
features associated with the building, which makes it a unique
activity. All the business activities of the Centre will be
related to the environment through specific areas such as water
management, energy efficiency, renewable energy, recycling waste
management and Green Buildings.
Ch. In an interview in The
Indian Express recently, architect Karan Grover stated, “We
have hundreds of years of legacy in such constructions and the
Centre only revives our traditional methods (like jaali work in
the Taj Mahal and the water regeneration system in Mughal
Gardens). But aren’t the 45-feet wind towers, photovoltaic
panels to generate solar energy, the waste treatment, etc., a
dramatic departure from our traditional methods to more modern
concepts appropriate to our time? What are your views on this?
SCK. I entirely agree with you.
The features incorporated in the building are the most modern
and are appropriate to the present times. However, some of the
features of the buildings such as the open courtyard and
jaali walls, etc. are inspired by traditional Indian
Ch. India is the first country
outside the U.S. to win this Platinum Rating. A news item in
The Economic Times (28 November, 2003) speaks of “Robert
Redford posing a challenge to India’s Green title”. Your
SCK. The Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design (LEED) rating system allows even the Robert
Redford building to achieve the Platinum Rating.
The Platinum award given to the
GBC is a recognition by LEED as to the capacity of the building
for energy savings and environmental protection incorporated in
Ch. I repeat a question that I
put also to Jamshyd Godrej. Do you visualise such Green centres
in India and the world as providing an impetus towards building,
in due course, a Green Economy that will create enormous wealth,
not only in material goods, but more generally in ecological
regeneration and human well-being?
SCK. Without doubt there is a
great scope for the “Green Buildings” concept to make a big
impact in the Indian construction industry, especially in
respect of corporate building. The Green Building movement has
received great support from the U.S. Federal as well as State
Governments. Similar support from the Central and State
Governments in India would facilitate a Green Building
revolution in the coming years. Once the concept takes off, the
Green Building movement would usher in a Green Economy, leading
to human well-being in its broadest sense.
Ch. Any other comments you
would like to make?
SCK. The CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green
Business Centre has initiated the Green Building movement in the
country and is now poised to play the role of a catalyst leading
to market transformation in India.
B.G. Deshmukh (centre)
inaugurated the 45th Annual Vegetable, Fruit and Flower Show. On
his left are Pheroza Godrej, President, National Society of the
Friends of the Trees, N.N. Naik, Chairman of the Show and Vice
President, Friends of the Trees, and A.D. Sawant, President,
Mumbai Rose Society and Jt. Hon. Secretary, Friends of the
Trees. On his right is V.A. Rode, Chief Judge of the Show.
An artistic arrangement of cut
A Show of Green
45th Annual Vegetable, Fruit and Flower Show organised by the
National Society of the Friends of the Trees was held on 7 and 8
February, 2004 at the Victoria Jubilee Technical Institute, Mumbai.
B.G. Deshmukh, who retired from the I.A.S. in 1991 as Principal
Secretary to the Prime Minister, and who heads a long list of
non-governmental and social organisations, inaugurated the Show.
The Show is considered the equivalent
of the National Horticultural Festival in Western India and is a
much-awaited event, drawing large crowds, including professional and
amateur garden enthusiasts, children and senior citizens alike. A
new development at this year’s Flower Show was the coming together
of the Mumbai Rose Society, the Indo-Japanese Bonsai Group and the
participation of the Aurobindo Ashram. The Mumbai Rose Society set
up a rose pavilion; the Indo-Japanese Bonsai Group displayed a
bonsai pavilion; and the centre manned by the Aurobindo Ashram
demonstrated the spiritual relationship between flowers, plants and
Pheroza J. Godrej, President, National
Society of the Friends of the Trees, in her welcome speech, recalled
our late Chairman Sohrab P. Godrej “whose fervent wish was that
like-minded organisations work together. He was closely associated
with the World Wide Fund for Nature - India, the Bombay Natural
History Society and Friends of the Trees. Much in advance of
important environment days drawing near, he took the trouble to find
out how each of these three organisations planned to observe these
respective days and whether a joint function could be organised,
just as our three organisations did recently on 14 June to celebrate
V.K. Ogle, Organising Secretary of the Show, Pheroza Godrej and
V.A. Rode admire a red pumpkin on display.
| A "Black Pine" bonsai on show.
An aerial view of the ground display
of flowers and foliage.
The colourful and attractive displays
of flowers, foliage, flowering plants, cacti, succulents, medicinal
plants, annuals, orchids, hanging baskets, on-the-spot landscapes,
decorative arrangements of fruit, vegetables and flowers were a
treat to the eye - a soothing break from the environs of the
concrete jungle that Mumbai has become. Besides, this year’s
continuing winter, which was colder than the past few years, had
kept this season’s blooms more luxuriant and fresh. About 6,000
varieties were on display in 34 different categories.
Children of various age groups
participated in the competition, which was organised along with the
Show. Winners of the Garden Competition were given their prizes on 7
February. Several other prizes were awarded on 8 February in a prize
distribution ceremony at which Bhalachandra Mungekar,
Vice-Chancellor, University of Mumbai, was the Chief Guest. V.A.
Rode, former Head of the Landscape and Cosmetic Maintenance Section
at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, was the Chief Judge. Special
prizes were offered to children for identification of plants on
site. In all, 78 rolling trophies and 450 first, second and third
prizes were distributed on both days.
Arrangements were also made for about
60 to 70 stalls to sell plants, agro-horticultural products and
other gardening materials.
“Solitary time in
nature is a
Ah! So rude this
Ruthless to the core.
For every selfish deed he can,
My humble heart he tore.
For his selfish needs,
man did everything,
And he remained a successful being.
And God’s praises he did sing.
But to me, pollution he did bring.
In every nook and
Man set his foot
And nature’s beauty,
He diminished in clouds of soot.
He wrecked this place
And dirt he has cluttered.
Your doom is near,
Your own days are numbered.
O Creator of
Bow down before the creator Almighty
Make this a better place to live in.
This, a plea from Mother Earth.
Strange are your ways.
And even more harmful,
Are its results.
But, it’s not too late yet.
It’s not too late.
To change to blissfulness,
From this misery and fate.
What is this Earth
If full of wastes?
Our planet hastes.
There is pollution in
On mind, body and environment,
Its effects are seen.
So, let us take appropriate steps
To curb this pollution.
And establish ourselves,
As environment-friendly citizens.
Persis Sabawala, Ex-student
Udayachal High School (Standard XEB)
Godrej’s appointment book must vouch for her time management
skills. Wife of industrialist Jamshyd Godrej, the lady runs
Cymroza Art Gallery, oversees activities at the Bombay Natural
History Society, is the trustee of Dr. Bhaudaji Lad Museum Trust
and honorary secretary of the Museum Society of Bombay. Her pet
interest is the environment and much of her work and leisure is
centred around conservation. She has been heading the National
Society of the Friends of the Trees since 2000 and encourages
afforestation by organising the Vanamahotsav every monsoon,
where lots of school children participate. Here is what she has
to say about her love for nature.
Her upbringing amidst nature:
“I was fortunate to have been born when I was and to live where
I did. My school placed great emphasis on the outdoors and our
vacations were spent at hill stations, wildlife parks and
sanctuaries. In fact, even after marriage, I lived in the same
locality. That was a different Mumbai though, where bungalows
and cottages lined the streets. One actually saw grass and weeds
along the roads. Of course, the Malabar Hill and Doongarwadi
areas retain a forest-like ecosystem to this day. Mumbai is
blessed to have city forests in Doongarwadi, the Mahim Nature
Park and the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, and pockets of
mangrove forests like the one at Vikhroli. In fact, the Soonabai
Pirojsha Godrej Foundation has developed and is maintaining this
as an Ecological Marine Park”.
The family’s love for the
outdoors: “It is nature that holds us enthralled. That is
how the family prefers to spend its leisure time. I believe
nature provides the purest inspiration. It makes the best
companion, and time spent in solitude amidst nature is almost a
spiritual experience. No wonder saints are known to isolate
themselves and meditate in forests. Of course one needs family
and friends, but that is different. Nature is always there for
you; it never lets you down. The problem with us city dwellers
is that consumerism and materialism have numbed us. We find time
for everything else but to listen to birdsongs, smell fresh
blooms, feel a newborn pup or kitten, taste a wild berry or
watch a sunrise or sunset. Even when my schedules become hectic
and I am unable to make myself scarce for a short spell, a few
hours in our garden at home revives my spirits and I feel whole
Sailing with the family:
“On weekends we go sailing and this sport offers the chance of
complete communion with nature. Only I despair at the way we
have polluted our seas, and this is especially true of the area
near Mumbai Harbour.”
On giving her children the same
advantage: “Our children Raika and Navroze enthusiastically
share our concern for nature. We have a great advantage in
Pirojshanagar, our industrial garden township, which is ideal
for children to grow up in — the diversity of trees, shrubs,
insects and birds is incredible!”
Courtesy: The Financial