While we pursue our goals of delivering growth through higher volumes, optimising costs and leveraging of technology & innovation for operational excellence, we are focused on achieving these with robust safety, health and environmental performance.
We have taken sustained action to reduce impact on environment. Our vision of 'Zero-harm' and 'Zero-discharge' saw us spend nearly US$ 100 million on environmental management and improvement activities.
OUR WASTE TO WEALTH PHILOSOPHY HAS SEEN US RECYCLE 82% OF OUR HIGH-VOLUME, LOW-IMPACT WASTES SUCH AS FLY ASH, SLAG, GYPSUM AND RED MUD.
We remain committed to minimise our carbon footprint and are well ahead in our plan to reduce our GHG emissions intensity by 16% by 2020 compared to a 2012 baseline. As of 31st March 2018, we have already reduced our GHG emissions intensity by 14%.
We seek to implement international best practices in tailings-dam management and have appointed a global expert to provide long-term monitoring and advice on the design, construction, and operation of each dam.
We have a workforce of over 78,000 people, and our overriding goal is that every one of them goes home safe every single day. Our 'zero harm' policy puts health and safety firmly at the forefront of our operations
We have been working relentlessly to enhance the safety culture of the organisation. No injury, much less a loss of life, is ever acceptable and we continue to invest in training and skill enhancement to prevent accidents before they can happen. The need for improvement, and our determination to achieve zero harm, means that this priority is receiving the direct attention of the Executive Committee. Due to our continued intense focus on safety, our Lost Time Injuries Frequency Rate has improved by nearly 37% over the last five years and we strive to get better.
OUR EFFORTS HAVE BEEN RECOGNISED BY ORGANISATIONS SUCH AS THE BRITISH SAFETY COUNCIL WHO AWARDED OUR STERLITE COPPER BUSINESS THE PRESTIGIOUS 'SWORD OF HONOUR' AND THE UPSTREAM AND MIDSTREAM OPERATIONS OF CAIRN OIL & GAS A '5-STAR RATING'.
To introduce new ideas that drive an improved safety culture, we have reinforced our HSE organisation by recruiting 10 HSE experts with global experience. New safety standards (in addition to the existing six standards) on Machine Guarding, Cranes and Lifting, Molten Metals, and Pit, Dump & Stockpile Safety have been introduced and we continue to provide training to both employees and contractors. Last year, they underwent around 921,550 hours in safety training. Our effort is to eliminate fatalities by instilling an intense safety discipline among our workforce through continuous education, motivation and rigorous implementation of safety procedures.
I am however deeply saddened by the loss of nine lives during the course of the year and offer my condolences to their families. We have conducted a thorough root-cause analysis and formulated definitive steps to strengthen visible felt leadership, especially in high-risk areas. We would not like to repeat these unfortunate incidents in the future.
Connecting with Communities
I strongly believe that our social license to operate hinges on good relations with the communities who live around our operating sites. Last year, we spent US$ 39 million on community development programmes and positively impacted 3.3 million people. Our programmes seek to improve the lives of these communities through multi-pronged interventions including development of community infrastructure, empowering women entrepreneurs, providing safe drinking water, teaching youth vocational skills, improving agricultural yield and many others. Our flagship programme - Nandghar - is a reimagined anganwadi addressing nutritional and educational needs of young children and empowering women. We built the 154th Nandghar this year and our goal is to build 4,000 across 11 Indian states. We also established a 170-bed cancer hospital - The BALCO Medical Center - in Naya Raipur, thereby bringing much-needed modern oncology care to the state of Chattisgarh and central India
While we have one of the largest CSR programmes in India, we have more work to do in engaging with the community and seeking their feedback. The incidents in Tuticorin are a reminder of the need for strong community relations. This year we began the process of improving our social performance standards and we hope to see significant changes in the manner in which the company engages with its communities over the next few years. That is the next phase of our growth as a sustainable company.
Vedanta's robust performance led by significant increases in our revenues and expansion in our production volumes has created a clear pathway for sustainable growth. Vedanta's Sustainability Framework will play a central role as we ramp-up Zinc India's operations, commission the Gamsberg project, grow our Oil & Gas business and integrate Electrosteel into our business structure. Each project and activity needs to meet our high standards of sustainability performance.
We have made a commitment to deploy new technologies such as autonomous equipment to improve operational efficiencies and on-site safety.
Digitisation of our systems and process will also go a long way in improving the overall performance of our businesses. The programme on business excellence will help achieve the full potential of our assets. Leadership development, energising and facilitating teams, and driving high impact projects at each of our businesses are all aspects of this growth journey, and I look forward to the results.
Each year we enjoy presenting our sustainability performance to our stakeholders and we look forward to your feedback and comments. You can write to us at email@example.com.
At Vedanta, we believe that progress and development should not just improve the economic status of communities but should enhance their dignity. We will continue to operate our business with this underlying philosophy, and I look forward to a sustainable growth journey ahead!
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER