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Green revolution

By focussing on environment-friendly solutions, Thermax India has two Ps in the bag-Planet and Profit.

Anusha Subramanian | Print Edition: May 2, 2010

People and planet are the two additional Ps that keep CFOs busy, along with the third P of profit, and Gopal Mahadevan, CFO, Thermax India, would ideally like to be applauded for his efforts on the financial front. But then, the Pune-headquartered energy and environment solutions provider has been doing some stellar work on the social and environmental fronts, with promoters Anu Aga and daughter Meher Pudumjee showing the way.

"Our social initiatives have been under way for three years now, and we take them very seriously," avers Mahadevan. Perhaps its green initiatives are what's most relevant about Thermax's CSR activities, given that the company is in an industry that is perceived to be polluting-Thermax makes boilers, and equipment for industries like refineries and energy.

Today, Thermax is positioning itself as a leader in energy and environment solutions. For instance, the company has commissioned a captive power plant for a cement unit in Rajasthan in which five boilers harness the cement plant's waste heat to generate 15 MW of power.

Thermax is also executing its largest-ever water recycling project for a steel major in eastern India. The steel plant's effluent will be treated and the water reused for its processes. The best part of these initiatives is that these are a part of the core of Thermax's businesses and don't come under the conventional CSR (or not-for-profit) initiatives. So Mahadevan can have his cake and eat it too-he can focus on profitability without taking his eye off the green agenda.

That, however, doesn't mean that Thermax has put its social responsibility on the backburner. "Education is the key driver of our social initiatives, and our aim is to make people self-reliant by helping them build skill-sets," says Mahadevan. Such efforts are taken forward through the Thermax Social Initiatives Foundation (TSIF).

TSIF has signed a 30-year memorandum with Pune Municipal Corporation to run two schools for economicallyweaker sections and provide education free. One school already has a strength of 294 students and TSIF recently invested Rs 2 crore to construct a school building.

It helps when the company is able to generate dollops of cash. The company sets aside one per cent of profit before tax for TSIF. In 2008-09, those pre-tax profits stood at Rs 419 crore. Thermax shareholders won't be the only ones smiling if Thermax is able to raise its bottom line-the students in the TSIF-supported schools would be beaming, too.

Commitment to CSR
GOPAL MAHADEVAN, CFO/ Thermax India

  • Winning move in 2008-09: Ploughed more funds into social initiatives on a chunky profit.
  • Challenge ahead: To bag more projects in energy and environmental solutions.
  • Most likely to be heard saying: "CSR encompasses all stakeholders: Customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders and the government."

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