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Project Hariyali wins CSR award

Project Hariyali’s recent award reaffirms Mahindra’s commitment to providing nature-based solutions to address issues related to climate change.

Project Hariyali, Mahindra’s green initiative, has been adjudged India’s Best CSR Project in the Environment and Sustainability Category at the Indo French Chamber of Commerce and Industries (IFCCI) CSR conclave, organized on November 6. The honour recognises the project’s contribution and commitment to providing nature-based solutions to address the issues related to climate change.

The initiative, designed to improve India’s green cover and protect the country’s biodiversity, was launched in 2007. The project is committed to adding 1 million trees annually. Besides addressing the climate change issues, it also supports livelihood opportunities and encouraging better socio-economic benefits.

Close to 18 million trees have been planted so far which has also earned the project an entry in the Limca Book of World Records for ‘most trees planted’. The numbers are impressive but what is more encouraging is that the scientific and modern tree plantation practices adopted by the project has ensured around 96% survival rate of the trees planted. UNIQUE Forestry and Land Use GmBH, a leading consulting firm in the land use sector, audited the plantations in 2019.

Grassroots Transformation

The project rests on three pillars – people, planet and profit. While planet tops the agenda, the project aims to bring about change at scale through its people and profit objectives. For instance, in Araku Valley, 10.78 million trees have been planted transforming the landscape and altering the life of the local Adivasi community. Araku Coffee – one of the products under Project Hariyali – has made a mark in the coffee world, even debuting in Paris.

As for profit, take the example of Suribabu, one of the project beneficiaries who grows coffee and pepper. Before the project, he was barely making ends meet. The family barely earned INR 3,500. Today, he sells Araku Coffee to the Small and Marginal Tribal Farmers Mutually Aided Cooperative Society at the premium price of Rs5,000 per kg and earns a further Rs90,000 per annum from the trees planted under the project. Suribabu is just one beneficiary, Project Hariyali has benefited over 25,000 people in Araku alone.

Timely effective action

Globally, Project Hariyali has contributed to climate change resilience. The project has aided in the sequestration of more than 390,000 tonnes of carbon since its inception. In fact, the project’s work at Araku, registered with the Ministry of Environment, Government of India, qualifies as a carbon sequestration project compliant with UNFCCC’s Kyoto Protocol guidelines. Under a memorandum of understanding signed between Mahindra and Nandi, its implementation partner, Paris-based Global Livelihoods Fund – a Carbon Offset Fund led by Danone, has used carbon credits from Phase 1 of Project Hariyali in the European ETS programme.