Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Helping the destitute

About five years ago, I don’t exactly recall when, I was out on a nice evening stroll with my wife in Chennai. As we were walking, we were curious to see why there was a lot of commotion in one of the houses. I thought some kid was probably celebrating his/her birthday. On coming closer, we realized that there were around thirty kids screaming and playing, and at the entrance was a board that read “Sarvodaya Vidyalaya” (I hope I got the name right) – a home for orphans and destitute children. I was blessed with a son just a few months ago, and my heart stopped for a moment looking at these kids. We walked in to check how we could help these kids. They were running low on their stock of rice. On the way back home, we made sure that the home got a few bags of rice and that is how things started. I soon moved to Delhi but I made a point to support this cause in whatever manner I could. I make it a point to do something for those children at least once or twice a year. On the first few occasions, it was more and more bags of rice. About a year back, I asked them what they would like to have and the conversation really opened my eyes. I realized that these were kids and had all kinds of wants and needs like my own, from toys to crackers to stationery to school uniforms. On that instance, I ended up giving them cloth for uniforms to be stitched for about 30 kids. I try doing my bit personally whenever I can. I also try to see how my association with Pearson can bring in some assistance. For example, I have tried discussing the possibility of donating some children’s books to these kids for free in some internal meetings and forums. It’s not much, but I am hoping that if I win the prize, the money can contribute more for the cause. I would love the laughter and joy of these children when they get new shoes or toys or books or clothes or maybe a field trip to the Chennai museum and beach.




Monday, August 2, 2010


I know you must have come across this already – but I feel these folks are onto a very good initiative:




Friday, July 30, 2010

Welcome to the latest issue of the Green Committee newsletter, Green Shoots and Leaves. Starting from this issue, we have introduced a new column, Personal Notes, in which people write about their experience/suggestions about the Green Committee and we start with Vivek Govil’s jottings. We also bring you the highlights of the Green Day along with the photos of the event. And finally, we describe our partnership with a local school to plant trees.

Green Day
The Green Committee, along with 3C, organized a Green Day on July 9th, 2010. As part of the drive to support environmental Non-government organizations and raise awareness, several stalls were set up in the lobby of our building. Organizations like Empowerment of Youth for Environment Conservation (EYEC), Navdanya, Goonj, Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan, and the Kutumb Foundation, among others, participated in the event. EYEC’s products included oxygen-rich plants and jute products. They had also sponsored a group called TooSid that sold personalized T-shirts. Similarly, Navdanya’s organic spices and pickles were a huge hit among the office folks. People in our office were seen carrying new bags and cellphone pouches the very next day, thanks to these products being sold at the stalls of Goonj, Happy Hands, Setu
Foundation…in fact, there seemed to be a competition going on to decide who bought the maximum number of bags! On a serious note, the event was an eye-opener since it showcased the ingenuity and innovation of these groups. For instance, Swechha sold purses and wallets made of recycled Mother Dairy packets, while Annu Grover, the MD of EYEC, talked about gifting plants instead of flowers to colleagues. Similarly, Parichay, Divya Jyoti, and the Kutumb Foundation volunteers talked about working with the underprivileged. It was heartening to see that people from other offices also walked around and bought the recycled products, and we
hope to organize more such events.

Personal Notes

Green Business Is Good Business by Vivek Govil

Pearson is a company that truly believes in its responsibility to the environment, and I have had to learn a lot about what it means to be green since I joined. Fortunately there are a lot of committed people within the company from whom I could learn. Having a relationship with TERI, and being a member of their Green Publishers' Guild has also helped. The formation of the Green Committee has been a big step forward in this process – it really is an honour to work with committed and enthusiastic people. My main role in the committee is that of a banker – if any of the projects need a little bit of financing, I get to say “Yes”.

The greatest learning for me has been that 9 times out of 10, when we look at how to reduce our carbon footprint, it boils down to how we can cut out waste. And cutting out waste - whether in paper, fuel, travel or utilities - eventually results in savings. And that is usually good business. I could probably give you 50 examples of things we’ve done over the last two years, but Jonaki has given me a word limit, so here are a few:

• We looked at how to reduce our paper consumption in our books. And we discovered more efficient book sizes and more efficient paper sizes, both of which saved paper (and cost).

• We looked at using printers who follow good environmental practices, and because that made us consolidate our business, we saved money (while improving quality)

• We looked at reducing freight, and found that it was more economical to set up a second warehouse in Chennai.

• When choosing a new office, we chose Knowledge Boulevard, and our expenses on utilities are down dramatically.

• We looked at how to reduce pulping of books (could there be anything more wasteful?) and we have achieved that through better inventory planning, and digital printing. That means lower inventory and better working capital management.

The list goes on, but I guess you've got the point.

The same logic applies when at home. While it’s good to replace your lights with CFL's, the best thing you can do is to turn off the light when you leave the room and switch off appliances rather than leave them in stand by mode. You don't always have to invest in order to save.

So my personal lesson has been that green business is good business, whether at work or at home. Is that noble and uplifting? Possibly not. But each of those steps probably has a greater environmental impact than some of the token measures I've seen in some other companies.

You can, of course, go beyond by doing things which help save the environment without having a commercial benefit. And each of us do that in our own way. In office and at home. If you were to ask my wife, she would say that the main thing I do to save energy is to lie on the sofa and do nothing!

Planting Season

On 24th July, Pearson sponsored the planting of 100 saplings at Ryan International, Greater Noida. The planting was carried out in collaboration with OISCA, an NGO, and was also a part of Pearson’s long-service award policy. Ryan International and OISCA organized a brief cultural program along with the plantation drive. Ten of our colleagues got to plant saplings and participate in the event.

They are:

1) Nikhil Bhargava – Manager –Promotions
2) Suresh Gupta – Sr. Finance Manager
3) Rajnish Mathur – Regional Manager – Sales School & ELT
4) Naveen Rajlani – Vice President – School Division
5) Dipankar Bose – Sr. Vice President , PISO
6) J Saravanan – General Manager – Marketing HE & PTG
7) Rambir Singh – Office Assistant
8) Vinod Kumar – Operations Assistant.
9) Rajpal Singh – Office Assistant
10) Sukhveer – Operations Assistant

Congratulations to all of you!


Save Energy to Save Money by Rahul Sharma (based on his Internet research)

  • Set your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and a few degrees higher in the summer to save on heating and cooling costs.
  • Install compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) when your older incandescent bulbs burn out.
  • Unplug appliances when you're not using them. Or, use a "smart" power strip that senses when appliances are switched off and cuts "phantom" or "vampire" energy use.
  • Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. As much as 85 percent of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes toward heating the water.
  • Use a drying rack or clothesline to save the energy, which is otherwise used during machine drying.

Get Involved

We hope that you have similar stories or suggestions and we would like to hear them. Do send your comments, ideas, experiences, and suggestions to

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Yamuna Project

Sent by Pooja Mehta:

Dear All,


BE A PART OF HISTORIC CITIZENS INITIATIVE …  by being present at the LAUNCH of MERI DILLI MERI YAMUNA project, supported by stakeholders and leaders from various sections of Society





After all …..IT’S OUR HOME!!

This launch will be followed by:

GHATS CLEANING starting from 17th till 24th March

There are 7 Ghats of Yamuna in Delhi and NCR


Below is the schedule  for Ghat cleaning:


17th March- ITO

18th March- Wazirabad

19th March- Nizamuddin

20th March- Kalindi Kunj

21st March-  Qudasia Ghat

22nd March- Okhla Bird Sanctury

23rd March- Yamuna Bazaar

24th March-  Okhla Dhobi Ghat






Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Welcome to the second issue of the quarterly Green Committee newsletter, Green Shoots and Leaves. It’s been a while since the first issue, but we have lots to report! In this edition, we describe the latest initiatives as well as the results we have achieved over the past few months.

Fighting Paper
We tried to control the usage of paper on several fronts. While two-sided printing and the use of scanners has gone up, the use of banner sheets has decreased. There is still a large amount of paper that can be reused. A couple of storage containers have been, therefore, set up next to the editorial printers. One is for one-sided paper and the other for used paper, and the collected paper is spiral-bound and reused as scrap paper.
A pilot project has been initiated to pulp returns at source. Finally, all school publishing has been moved to environment friendly paper and plans are afoot to do the same for higher education books next year.
Result: Paper consumption is down by 15 percent.

“Power”full Group
As you all know, we moved to the new office in May 2009. The awareness drive about the use of monitors and the lights in the office coupled with the building being LEED-certified* has led to a sharp decrease in power usage.
Result: The May–August power consumption was calculated to be down by 55 per cent!
*The leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED) rating system is an internationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.

Planting Season
After several rounds of discussion and design, our office is going to have indoor plants very soon.
Wheeling and dealing
The shuttle service has been expanded. The bus now starts from Mayur Vihar Phase I at 8:15 am. The other pick-up points are Hasanpur Depo as well as Anand Vihar ISBT, Dabur Chowk and Vaishali Sector 5.

Future Notes
We are exploring possible options for recycling e-waste. Additionally, there are plans to collaborate with an NGO to plant trees in schools in the NCR area.

Get involved
At the end of the day, what we are trying to achieve is contribute toward a greener and better environment and your feedback is valuable to us to achieve this purpose.
Here are some suggestions sent by Rajit Anand:
1) Make sure that we always buy printers that have duplex (both sides) printing options and set the default for all print jobs to duplex printing. This can reduce the paper used by 30-40% very quickly if it is not already being done.
2) Have enough scanners around the office and encourage people who send paper-based documents by mail to send digital documents instead where possible. This not only reduces the paper footprint but reduces the time to receive, which is an operational efficiency, as well as reduces courier charges and the carbon emissions related to all the vehicles that would be involved in getting the package to its destination. We can achieve this by having a few heavy duty scanners in the office or by buying multifunction printers that have scanners scattered around the office that can make scanning and sending a very convenient option for all.
3) Ensure that we buy recycled paper as much as possible. This is paper that has been created from used paper and rags rather than by cutting down new trees. We can achieve this by sticking to buying from certain brands of paper manufacturers.
4) Have motion sensor based lighting in all conference and meeting rooms and cabins.
5) Stop the practice of providing plastic or Styrofoam cups for tea, coffee. Have people use porcelain cups or mugs that they wash afterwards and reuse.
6) Encourage people to have a pet potted plant per desk.

We hope that you have similar stories or suggestions and we would like to hear them. Do send your comments, ideas, experiences, and suggestions to