Zero waste lifestyle

Zero Waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles. The aims to reduce what we trash in landfills and incinerators to zero – and to rebuild our local economies in support of community health, sustainability, and justice. The workshop was organised at Organo and the speaker was Ms.Sahar Mansoor from Bangalore

Introduction to Perma Culture

Permaculture integrates land, resources, people and the environment through mutually beneficial synergies – imitating the no waste, closed loop systems seen in nature. Permaculture studies and applies holistic solutions that are applicable in rural and urban contexts at any scale to create resilient and sustainable systems. It is a multidisciplinary toolbox including agriculture, water harvesting, renewable energy, natural building, agroforestry, waste management, animal systems, appropriate technology, economics and community development.
The session was conducted at Organo by renown permaculturist Sri.Narsanna Koppula

Kitchen Gardening

Nowadays, as the population demographic has shifted from primarily rural to urban, planning a garden seems more of a distant fantasy than a reality for some as the space available in the city or metropolitan areas is rather limited. One can start to feel very disconnected from nature after spending too much time in the surroundings of smog clouds and cell phone tower ‘trees’. To get the feel of some greenery in the city, some urban residents have potted plants on their respective balconies or rooftops.

Terrace Gardening may be a simple, central, all-season landscape or a little more. It can be a source of herbs, vegetables, and fruits for your family and is often a structured garden space. Kitchen gardening can be a tad bit tactical and everyone can master it.
Organo Farmscape expert Ms.Lakshmi Battula had taken an extensive workshop at Organo.

People as partners

At Organo, partnerships have been the best way to inculcate best practices and create Brand Ambassadors who in turn propagate and put the Organo way of life into practice. There are certain practices at Organo by the residents, also known as Naandians, as a community, which are hugely beneficial to the people around. How we make that profitable is another aspect of conducting business at Organo. Our approach is to make people as stakeholders in the venture. One such business model which has set a trend is the Farm Store. As a part of the Organo outreach program aimed at involving communities, we go into the villages and teach them organic practices.

Early into the program, we’ve motivated 93 people to become organic farmers with the involvement of one of our resident experts Bhiksham Gujja and his colleague Vinod Vemula Goud, both social agriculturists, to motivate people to convert their lands into organic farms. This endeavour has met with success and most farmers have now shifted to organic farming. We have a dedicated staff member on board, who goes into the villages and conducts regular workshops to sensitize people to turn their lands into organic farms.

Farm Store & FPOs

As of today, we have two FPOs (Farm produce organisations) which are formed and run by the villagers in Bakaram and Yenkapally. These farmers grow organic food, sell at our Farm Store and get paid on the spot without the hassles of marketing and middle men. We’ve successfully eliminated the marketing chain with this practice.
Within the Naandi community, there are home owners who use it as a weekend home. We engage them to spread the word. In the case of residents, we engage their network to promote the Farm Store through word-of-mouth.

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Organo Residents – Ms. Kajal Maheswari ( left) and Ms. Anu Dhubey( right) initiated themselves to be the brand assambadors for Organo’s farm to table mission, organic farming endeavours and Rurban impact at their primary living community –NCC Urban

At another level, there are farmers who are interested in turning to organic methods. We conduct workshops for them to familiarize them with the best practices. Farmers have no idea where the food he’s producing is going; he doesn’t know the end user. If he did, he may probably approach the methods he employs in farming more responsibly. There is a huge disconnect between the farmer and the consumer. In order to establish that connection, we escort the farmers into the communities and introduce them to urban consumers.

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Farmers of Organo were active part of Organo Farm Stores events at NCC Urban community

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Community members of L&T Serene County interacts with Farmers of Organo at Meet the Farmer Drive by Organo Farm Stores

In the process of bridging the gap, we also make a reasonable profit by being the interface. At the same time, we invite the end-users to the farms. After all, seeing is believing. We enable the customers to see where their food is coming from and how safe it is. By connecting the farmer to the consumer, we’re building trust between the two and at the same time creating the farm to fork concept. This has a better overall impact because the farmers have the marketplace at their disposal with assured income and the consumers are assured of food safety. It’s a win-win situation.

Symbiotic neighbourhoods

Another important aspect is to effectively sensitizing the neighbouring farms. Organic living is possible only when we change the whole concept of farm the way it exists today. Regardless of our best practices, we will reach a plateau if the farmers in the surrounding villages use harmful pesticides and manures. The air and water contamination will have an adverse impact whether we like it or not. It is not possible to achieve any progress in isolation. Our approach has to be inclusive and holistic by changing the way people approach farming. This is the sole reason why we have expanded our horizons and pushed our boundaries constantly. Just by living in the community and following the organic way of life, Naandians have become catalysts in the process.

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Naandians actively involved in Waste Management Drive in Yenkapally village

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Organo Residents distributed bins for waste segregation. An easy-to-understand know how waste segregation literature has been installed across the village.

Loyalty Program

Now that we’ve converted the farmers to follow organic practices, how do we ensure they stay committed to the process? We had to give them some incentive, some value addition. So we came up with the idea of giving the. Indian native Gir cows on interest free loans. When half the investment is made by them, the ownership and the responsibility towards making the business profitable is bound to be higher. The farmers have the prerogative to choose the cow they wish to own after ascertaining the health and fitness of the cow. In order to make it lighter for them, we recover the loan through the sale of milk. The FPOs decide the price of the milk they want to sell it to Organo at. We buy back at half the price and adjust the other half towards the loan.
Our next step is Agritainment.

Everything you need to know about Triple Bottom Line

At Organo, one of the country’s leading sustainable projects and the only net zero community in India, the driving principle in all aspects is the Triple Bottom Line (TBL). Every aspect is aligned towards accomplishing this mission. For the promoters – Vijaya, Nagesh and Rajendra – TBL is topmost in the list of their priorities. Years of painstaking research and consistent work have led to the outcome of creating a business model that is in line with Organo’s mission of aligning with the TBL philosophy.

So what exactly is Triple Bottom line?

TBL is a concept, a philosophy, a vision of creating a financial bottom line by including social and environmental responsibilities. Simply put, TBL measures a company’s degree of social responsibility, its financial value and the impact the business has on the environment.

The phrase was coined in 1994 by John Elkington, an authority on environment and sustainability and used by him in his book “Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st century.” A key challenge with the TBL, according to Elkington, is the difficulty of measuring the social and environmental bottom lines, which necessitates the three separate accounts being evaluated on their own merits. Having studied the TBL concept in-depth, the promoters of Organo have left no stone unturned, quite literally, to ensure that their business model does not lose sight of synchronising all three aspects at every stage of development.

Now, let’s break down the Triple Bottom Line

Let’s tackle the aspect of profit first. A company’s bottom line essentially means its net income, its profits. The addition of social and environmental responsibilities can have a positive effect on a company’s financial bottom line. A Nielsen report released in October 2015 found 73% of millennials, which represents the largest consumer demographic in the US history, were willing to pay more for sustainable goods, an increase of 46% from 2014. The study found 56% of consumers were willing to pay more for products offered by companies committed to social values.

In addition to growing revenues, companies are integrating social and environmental standards with corporate governance policies, which can reduce the chances of brand-damaging events and missteps. In addition to governance benefits, the transformation to a triple bottom line is increasingly seen as a vital factor in building corporate brands and goodwill, which represent 30% of the value of public companies, on an average.

Where does Organo stand? (Organo impact) (Box item)

  • Organo’s triple bottom line is intended to advance the goal of sustainability in business practices, in which the focus is extended beyond profits to include social and environmental issues to measure the total cost of doing business.
  • Organo’s principal policy is to consider the social and environmental areas in addition to the financial bottom line while making positive investments (Link to the full length blog) and business decisions.
  • Organo is a proof of the TBL concept that it is possible to run an organization in a way that not only earns financial profits but also betters people’s lives and helps the planet. The driving conviction is in giving back to the nature more than taking from it.

Equation

It can be challenging to maximize financial returns while also doing the greatest good for the people and the environment. Consider a Pharmaceutical manufacturer whose best way to maximize profits might be to hire the least expensive labour possible and to dispose off the chemical waste in the cheapest way possible. The result might be highest possible profits for the company but miserable working and living conditions for labourers, and damage to the natural environment and the people who live in that environment. In the past, such practices were more socially acceptable, but today, many consumers are willing to pay more for products if it means that workers are paid fair wages and the environment is being respected in the production process.

Where does Organo stand?

  • Adding the ‘people’ element of social responsibility to its bottom line, as well as enacting favourable practices in the communities where they work is Organo’s hallmark.
  • Organo has made farmers as stakeholders in the project. From creating awareness, developing skills, imparting organic farming methods and providing the necessary organic raw material to buying back the produce at fixed rates regardless of the market fluctuations thereby eliminating the middle men, Organo has formed symbiotic partnerships with the farmers in the neighbouring communities.

The bottom line referred to as the `planet’ represents the implementation of sustainable practices and establishing a net zero community. These measures range in scope from green initiatives such as recycling programs within corporations to companies dedicated to manufacturing products using only sustainable materials.

Biodiversity

An organic farm is like reforestation. They are thriving with diverse habitats for various animal, bird and insect groups. Indigenous animals and birds find them a safe haven while beneficial insects allow for greater balance. Thus, a healthy combination of inhabitant groups ensures constant connection with the buzz of the nature.

Food safety

Food is a ‘language’ spoken in every culture. Making this language organic allows for an important cultural revolution whereby diversity and biodiversity are embraced and chemical toxins and environmental harm are radically reduced. The simple act of saving one seed from extinction could be an act of biological and cultural conservation.

Measuring the TBL

The Triple Bottom Line can be difficult to measure because while the issue of profitability is black and white, what constitutes social and environmental responsibility is somewhat subjective. How do you put a value on an oil spill — or on the prevention of one? How do you measure the cost of child labour? Does it benefit children and their families by allowing them to rise out of poverty, or does it perpetuate poverty by denying children sufficient time to get educated and deprive them of a carefree childhood?
The upside of this lack of standardized measurement is that metrics can be adopted that make the most sense for each organization, project or location. And that’s what Organo does.

Organo way of business

  • Organo believes strongly in job creation, ethical employment, energy generation and conservation, waste management, workplace benefits for employees while making the project profitable.
  • Organo carefully considers while investing money and human resources in the project, if they can contribute to the three goals or focus solely on profit at the cost of the other two because they are conscious of the life threatening consequences that arise when your focus is mainly profit.
  • There are definite metrics at Organo to measure the impact at various levels – ecological, social, financial and individual.