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Interview with Sanjay Sharma, Carrier: Creating a more prosperous and resilient future for all

Gurugram, India -

In an era shaped by environmental sustainability, Carrier stands at the forefront as a global leader in intelligent climate and energy solutions. One of their flagship programs rooted in Carrier India's unwavering commitment to sustainability is the 'United for Air' initiative. Designed to unite Gurugram's communities in the pursuit of cleaner outdoor air, the CSR initiative has left an indelible mark on Gurugram, not only by improving air quality but also by fostering a stronger sense of community well-being. The initiative also aligns seamlessly with the company's 2030 Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) objectives. We also touch upon Carrier’s global ESG goals including the ambitious target to reduce its customers' carbon footprint by more than 1 gigaton by 2030.

In this exclusive interview with TheCSRUniverse, Mr. Sanjay Sharma, Marketing Director, India, Carrier offers insights into the program's origins and its fundamental components, emphasizing its tripartite approach focused on education, strategic partnerships, and community resilience. He also discusses Carrier India’s Green Your School Program as well as their holistic CSR approach targeting water neutrality, zero waste to landfills, and a 10% reduction in energy intensity.

Read along to learn more about Carrier’s approach to environmental stewardship and sustainability in India:

Q. Please provide an overview of Carrier India’s 'United for Air' initiative- when was it started by the company and what are the basic components of the program?

A. Carrier India continues to expand United for Air, a corporate social responsibility initiative designed to educate and bring the communities of Gurugram together to work for cleaner outdoor air. The initiative was started by the company as part of its commitment to sustainability. Carrier is a part of Carrier Global Corporation, global leader in intelligent climate and energy solutions, is committed to creating solutions that matter for people and our planet for generations to come.

Through this initiative, Carrier is driving communities to take action and raise awareness about the harmful impact of particulate matter (PM) levels, particularly PM2.5 and PM10, on air pollution in Gurugram. The main goal is to provide the public with meaningful information about the effects of high PM levels on human health.

By combining education, partnerships and resilience programs, United for Air aims to make a positive and lasting difference in the pursuit of cleaner outdoor air.

Sustainability is at Carrier’s core and we continue to educate and invest in the community through initiatives like United for Air. With United for Air, we are helping to create a healthier and more sustainable future for Gurugram.

Q. What are the key objectives for this program and how do they align with the company’s 2030 ESG goals?

A. The United for Air program supports Carrier's 2030 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals of positively impacting communities through initiatives that promote sustainability through education, partnerships and climate resiliency programs. The goal is to provide meaningful information to the public about the effects of high PM levels on human health. Carrier works with its NGO partner, United Way Delhi, organizing events for schools, corporations and resident welfare associations (RWAs) to increase awareness and drive change.

By installing additional air monitors and LED display boards that provide the public with real-time air quality information about pollution levels. Data is also available through a mobile app. The campaign provides tips on reducing pollution and organizes hands-on activities to educate and engage communities on actions they can take for cleaner outdoor air.

Q. Could you share some details about the specific actions and investments made by Carrier to promote sustainability through education, partnerships, and climate resiliency programs in the context of the 'United for Air' initiative?

A. Carrier's United for Air initiative focuses on promoting sustainability through education, partnerships and climate resiliency programs. In collaboration with Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority, Carrier has installed air quality monitors and LED display boards across 14 different locations in Gurugram.The air quality monitors connect with LED boards that display real-time PM2.5 and PM10 levels, along with recommendations such as “Go for an evening walk” and “Do yoga outdoors” when conditions are good, and “Wear masks” and “Avoid strenuous activities” when pollution levels are high. To ensure accuracy, Carrier regularly calibrates the monitors. This year, Carrier plans to expand their installation for broader accessibility.

Carrier developed a free mobile apps for Android and iOS devices that provide real-time PM2.5 and PM10 levels, along with the temperature and relative humidity. The apps are a single source for weather and air quality information.

Carrier works with United Way Delhi, which partners with other non-governmental organizations to organize events for schools, corporations and resident welfare associations (RWAs) to increase awareness and facilitate change. United for Air has engaged more than 60 RWAs and 20,000 students in Gurugram, through fun activities like waste segregation and plantation drives. These initiatives contribute to a cleaner environment and pave the way for a sustainable and healthier future.

Q. How responsive has the community been to this initiative so far? Would you like to highlight any notable achievements or impact that the 'United for Air' initiative has had on improving air quality and community well-being in Gurugram?

A. The United for Air initiative has received a highly positive and encouraging response from the community in Gurugram. It has garnered significant support and participation from residents, schools, colleges corporations and resident welfare associations. The initiative's impact on improving air quality and community well-being includes increased awareness through events like street plays, musical mobs and cyclothons. At these events, garbage boxes for waste segregation are provided and trees are planted. This has led to positive behavioral changes among residents, encouraging eco-conscious practices.

Q. Moving on to the Green Your School Program, what were the core ideas behind this collaboration and how has it grown over the last 16 years in terms of scale and impact?

A. It's incredible to witness the evolution of the Green Your School program over the last 16 years. The program encourages schools and students to actively contribute to environmental sustainability and adopt greener practices. The initial participation of 40 schools in 2007 laid the foundation for what has become a remarkable movement.

Over the years, the program which is driven by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), has grown significantly in both scale and impact with more than 5,500 schools participating. It's evident that there has been widespread recognition of the importance of sustainability and the need to engage our youth in this crucial endeavor. The growing number of participants showcases the increasing awareness and reflects the commitment of schools, students and educators toward creating a more sustainable environment.

Q. Could you share some examples of innovative ideas and projects that students have implemented as part of the Green Your School Program with Carrier's support?

A. The Green Your School Program has resulted in countless innovative ideas and student-led projects. What sets this initiative apart is the remarkable diversity of participating schools, extending beyond metropolitan areas to include tier two, tier three cities and remote villages.

Embodying the role of environmental stewards, the students participating in this contest actively pave the way for a greener and more environmentally-responsible future. The list of projects and initiatives undertaken by these young minds is truly inspiring. Some of these innovative ideas include the installation of solar panels, setting up biogas plants, crafting flower beds from waste materials, installing air extract or sand ingeniously crafting new chairs from waste tires. These projects exemplify the resourcefulness and innovative spirit that the students in pursuit of sustainable solutions.

The Green Your School Program in collaboration with Carrier has undeniably proven to be an exceptional platform for nurturing the next generation of environmental leaders. Beyond fostering environmental awareness, it infuses schools with immense happiness and pride as they actively contribute to building a sustainable and greener future for their communities.

Q. Are there any success stories or case studies of schools that have transformed into sustainable spaces with the help of Carrier and the 'Green Your School Program' that you would like to share with us?

A. With Carrier’s support, the Green Your School Program has led to numerous success stories and case studies of schools transforming into sustainable spaces. Collaborating with IGBC, the program has witnessed remarkable growth and increased participation. Students enthusiastically apply their scientific knowledge to devise innovative ideas for making their schools more sustainable.

One such successful project involves creating flower beds from waste materials. Through their creativity and resourcefulness, students repurpose waste materials, turning them into beautiful flower beds that enhance the school environment while reducing waste.

Students have successfully introduced portable compost pits, facilitating effective waste degradation and converting organic waste into nutrient-rich compost. This approach significantly contributes to a more sustainable waste management strategy within school premises.

The impact of the program extends beyond environmental benefits, bringing smiles to the faces of students and the entire school community. They take immense pride in their contributions towards a greener and more sustainable future.

Q. Carrier has set a global goal to reduce its customers' carbon footprint by more than 1 gigaton by 2030. Are there any specific targets set for India and what strategies or measures are being employed to meet these targets?

A.Carrier is innovating for a sustainable future through intelligent climate and energy solutions. As we expand our portfolio of intelligent climate and energy solutions, Carrier is accelerating the shift toward electrification, more connected technologies and environmentally responsible refrigerants. We are helping customers reduce their carbon footprint and meet their sustainability goals by improving energy efficiency in buildings, in homes and across the cold chain.

In India, Carrier provides a full line of light commercial systems including variable water volume, variable refrigerant flow, duct-free split and ducted split, which are all efficient ways to heat and cool buildings and homes. We deploy commercial HVAC solutions that align tightly with our customers’ sustainability goals, energy needs, cost pressures, changing business requirements, comfort needs and health concerns. We are there over the entire HVAC system lifecycle with digitally-enabled solutions that make it easy to track and analyze operational data to optimize outcomes.

Carrier’s Gurugram factory recently earned the Green Factory Building Platinum Certification from the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). The certification highlights Carrier's commitment to sustainable building standards. The Platinum certification is an example of how we are investing in our factories and operations, optimizing existing methods and innovating new digitally enabled solutions to drive down energy consumption.

The Gurugram factory has implemented sustainability measures including use of renewable energy with solar power, adding a high-solar reflective coating on the factory roof, partial use of cleaner fuel in captive generation, rainwater harvesting for recharging the groundwater table, reuse of treated water and planting of drought-tolerant greenery.

The commitment has resulted in a 37% reduction in water usage, a 36% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2015 to 2022 and managing over 97% of recycled waste.

Q. Environment clearly appears to be the primary focus of Carrier’s CSR initiatives in India. Are there any other areas/domains that Carrier HVAC prioritizes with respect to CSR?

A. Sustainability is at Carrier’s core, and we continue to drive decarbonization. We are targeting net zero GHG emissions across our value chain by 2050complementing our existing goal of helping customers reduce their GHG emissions by more than 1 gigaton by 2030. Water neutrality, zero waste to landfills and reducing energy intensity by 10% in operations are some of our other ESG goals. We also intend to invest over $2 billion to develop healthy, safe, sustainable and intelligent building and cold chain solutions that incorporate sustainable design principles and reduce lifecycle impacts.

We are taking a holistic, three-pillar approach to sustainability and ESG:
Sustainable Solutions: Carrier develops innovative products and digitally enabled services that help customers reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve their sustainability goals.
Sustainable Investments: We invest in intelligent climate and energy solutions through our own research and development and external investments by Carrier Ventures.
ESG in Practice: Our 2030 ESG goals commit us to pursuing decarbonized solutions and operations, an inclusive and diverse workforce and vibrant communities. Since 2020, our high efficiency and lower global warming potential refrigerant products have enabled customers to avoid more than 212 million metric tons of GHG emissions globally.

Q. Could you provide insights into some of the major projects implemented by Carrier in India as part of its CSR initiatives in the recent past (2-3 years), and who are the key implementation partners?

A. Carrier has been actively involved in implementing significant CSR initiatives in India, with a strong emphasis on environmental sustainability. One of the key initiatives is the United for Air project, which focuses on combating air pollution and promoting cleaner air in urban areas. Through this project, Carrier has collaborated with various government agencies, environmental experts and local community organizations to implement effective solutions for reducing air pollution and creating awareness about its detrimental effects.

Another initiative is the Green Your School Program that Carrier has been supporting for the last 16 years with the Indian Green Building Council. This initiative involves the establishment of green spaces, the adoption of energy-efficient practices, and the promotion of environmental education among students and teachers.

In southern India, Carrier’s support of a school adoption program has helped children from impoverished villages gain access to a safe and quality education by focusing on three major pillars – infrastructure development, academic development and holistic development. Carrier has teamed up with the Nirmaan Organization to transform schools in the region.

Carrier's CSR initiatives in India demonstrate a strong commitment to environmental protection and social welfare. The company's strategic partnerships have been instrumental in achieving meaningful and sustainable results in various communities across the country.

Q. Looking ahead, what are Carrier's future plans for CSR and sustainability in India, and how does the company envision expanding its impact in the coming years?

A.We strive to be a catalyst for positive and sustainable change as we innovate, empower our people and operate with integrity. That is The Carrier Way.

Looking ahead, Carrier plans to invest in innovative technologies and solutions that promote energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and contribute to India's ambitious climate goals. We continue to collaborate with local communities, NGOs, and governmental agencies to address pressing social issues, such as education and skill development.

By leveraging its expertise in building sustainable solutions, the company seeks to expand its positive influence across India, inspiring industry-wide changes and setting new benchmarks for responsible business practices. Carrier believes that through a shared commitment to sustainability, it can make a meaningful difference in the lives of people and the planet and create a more prosperous and resilient future for all.