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Interview with Mr. Abhijit Barthur, Director of International Business at Scogen, India

Scogen ~ Powering the Future with Sustainable Energy

 

Are you looking for real-life inspirational stories of companies who have embraced Sustainability and continually impacting lives? If so, you are in the right place. We started the Sustainable Workplaces Blog with one aim in mind ~ inspire people to take action towards making our planet greener and liveable. In this blog, we speak to Abhijit Barthur, Director of International Business at Scogen, India – which is carving a unique path in the realm of Sustainability.

 

 

About Scogen

 

Scogen is a family run professional technology-intensive company concentrating in the wastewater, waste management, alternative fuels and the energy fields. With patents and high technology products, Scogen’s vision to continuously innovate with the times adheres with its high-quality mindset.

 

 

What is your take on Sustainability? How does it help reduce costs at Scogen?

 

Sustainable workplaces and costs are two ends of a rainbow. If you want to lower the cost, then a sustainable workplace is not meant for you. The goal is to be environmentally friendly and take everyone along, including your employees.

 

This concept gradually gets imbibed in everyone who walks the talk. Being environmentally conscious naturally leads to a sense of hygiene about our employees and close contacts.

 

We want our workplace to be in line with EHS guidelines. Our team should be an epitome of good etiquette.

 

Now when you are after a greater goal, the cost is something you don’t look at. However, you may have to optimise somewhere. Sustainable workplaces are our top philosophy, and you will find that more than 30% of our factory is green. Coming to our factory gives the employees and customers – a glimpse of hygiene, greenery, and well being. We have imbibed a sense of these values in professional and personal lives. When we walk the talk – it is easy to influence our contacts, vendors, and clients to join the cause and adopt sustainable practices.

 

 

[Q2] How has Sustainability benefitted the company?

 

As a company registered under MSME, we are limited to a small number of sustainable practices, unlike large businesses. However, we have just started implementing sustainable practices in some areas. As we go along, these practices are bound to increase obviously.

 

 

Stress-Busting Greenery: As mentioned earlier, one of the things we have implemented is greenery inside the factory. Taking a walk inside our premises can serve as a relief and stress buster.

 

 

Solar Panels: We have installed rooftop solar panels that cover 90% of our energy needs.

 

Waste Water Treatment: We also have a sewage treatment plant where the water is recycled and made available for gardening and irrigation.

 

No Paper: We are moving towards a paperless facility. Printouts are taken only for statutory purposes.

 

Reduced Consumption: We use only laptops in our premises since they consume lesser power than desktops.

 

Rainwater Harvesting: We also have an in-house rainwater harvesting facility.

 

Planting Trees: The Street in front of our factory is studded with trees. It is due to the constant care taken for the past 15 years. Trees don’t cost much, but their impact is tremendous.

 

No Smoking/Littering: The entire premises are a no-smoking/littering zone.

 

Sustainability Work Friendly Atmosphere: This is in no way related to Sustainability; however, we believe that a work-friendly atmosphere is conducive to Sustainability. We follow the policy of ‘efficient work’. It means there is no fixed schedule; you can even work remotely when convenient. The number of leaves is not limited either. However, when there is work, you do it. If you want to take a holiday, you can take it – it is more of a give and take. We are thus doing our bit by empowering our employees, and stakeholders to become environmentally aware and join hands in building a greener planet and a better future.

 

Waste to Fuel: We also have our waste-to-fuel plant where plastic and other waste convert into usable fuel.

 

 

[3Q] What are the two key learnings that you would like to share with others who want to turn their organisations into Sustainable Work Places (SWP).

 

The 1st one would be to train the people. As mentioned earlier, we train our entire workforce to become aware and aligned towards our common goal, i.e., SWP. Why?

 

Together, we can achieve not only achieve Sustainability – but also and take the company to greater heights.

 

The 2nd key learning is to use innovative technology wherever applicable and limit the consumption of fossil fuels.

 

 

 [4Q] How important is a sustainable workplace, and what key challenges you faced made you think (of going green) in this direction.

.

More than a challenge, I feel it was the desire to contribute towards a greener planet and a better future for humanity. It was more of ‘How Scogen can impact the society and world at large’ – rather than aiming for profits.

 

I feel that every business should employ strategies that are aligned to their growth strategy, mission, and vision. I don’t recommend using sustainable practices to get a green tag. For the limited sustainable work practices we utilise at Scogen, we were all aligned about the necessary investment.

The major problem for implementing sustainable work practices is capital. Like I mentioned earlier, ‘Cost and sustainable practices are two ends of a rainbow’. They never meet. However, while SWP adds to the capital cost, it doesn’t incur a running charge. In our case, we channeled profits earned over the years to implement sustainable work practices.

 

 

[5Q] What’s the most defining moment in your career?

 

The most defining moment was the influence my dad had on my career. I had always wanted to do things my way while dad was running his business. I got a job and went to work abroad. On my return, I stumbled upon working at Scogen for a little while. Again I left India to work in another country while dad developed the business further. When I finally joined him in 2011, I was felt even more inspired. The influence he has had on me – is the most defining moment of my career. Apart from dad, my mom has also had a significant impact on my life. It is ultimately a family business, and both of them are here every day. Their way of thinking has influenced my way of doing business. That has been the most defining moment of my career.

 

 

[6Q] What do you feel about the future of sustainable living after the Covid-19 outbreak that has altered our lives?

 

 

Answering the second part of the question – has the Covid-19 altered our lives? I would say ‘No’. Our practices have not changed in any way. I used to wear a mask before; now everyone in the company does it.

 

The personal hygiene part was very much in place before the Corona pandemic. Washing hands and the use of sanitisers are part of the standard operating procedure at Scogen.

 

A feeling of belongingness to the company and responsibility to society was there even before the Corona outbreak. The precautions and healthy practices that have become normal since Covid-19 – have already been imbibed in our work culture.

 

About the first part of your question, and how it affects our future:

 

  • We will not travel as much as we used to, and our meetings will mostly be online.
  • We will also prefer a remote working environment and conduct webinars where necessary. We will take all safety measures until a Corona vaccine is found. It is only when we take precautions that we can influence our clients/contacts to emulate us.
  • It is also crucial for everybody to move towards Sustainability.
  • Fossil fuels have never been the solution, and the post-Covid-19 period has shown the necessity to change with times.
  • We have also learned to become more productive even while been locked down – thanks to technology.
  • So we must gear up to the next level in terms of using environmentally friendly technologies and moving away from fossil fuels.
  • We must invest in future technologies and not move back into the pre-covid era.

 

 

[8Q] What message do you want to give out by implementing SWP?

 

  1. Achieving zero discharge should be the number one priority for any company.
  2. Train your employees and colleagues so that they implement those practices in their personal lives and in-turn influence family circles.
  3. Inculcating healthy practices at the industry level and propagating into multiple employee households, can work wonders if everyone adopts this philosophy.
  4. These practices, including water reuse, proper disposal of waste, waste-to-fuel, among others – when adopted by society and the nation at large can have a significant impact on our lives and the environment at large.

 

 

[9Q]What prompted you to move towards Sustainability? What motivates you on your journey towards Sustainability?

 

Rather than anything prompting us, I would say that achieving Sustainability brings us a different kind of satisfaction. The immediate benefits you get are a welcome ambience. The workplace looks so beautiful that you will start aspiring to have a similar home for yourself.

 

So that’s what inspires Scogen towards making consistent strides towards Sustainability. What steps do you ~ as individuals ~ think should be taken to make this world a greener place? Do let us know in the comments below.

 

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