The Indian economy owes a major part of its growth to the 48 million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) that provide employment to 111.4 million people. There are around 5,500 foundry enterprises in India, clustered in 47 urban locations, 90% of them being micro and small enterprises (MSEs).
The sector faces a number of sustainability challenges, including energy consumption, and environmental and Occupational Health and Safety impacts. The use of new technologies and improved indigenous technology can lead to an estimated saving of 150,000 metric tons of coke per year from the foundry sector alone. This will enable the enterprises to supply responsible products to the growing engineering sector in general, and to the automotive and machine tool sector in particular.
The “Scaling Up Sustainable Development of MSME Clusters In India” project was led by the Foundation for MSME Clusters and funded by SWITCH Asia, a European Union program to support Asian companies in their sustainability performance. It supported around 500 Indian micro and small companies in the foundry sector in the states of Punjab, Rajasthan and West Bengal.
The project aim was to enhance the competitiveness of these companies and improve their environmental and social impacts within three and a half years. GRI is one of five partners in this project, the others being the Foundation for MSME Clusters’ (FMC), the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
GRI’s role was to to train a selection of up to 100 clustered MSMEs on the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards and Reporting Process. To implement this, the project involved the development of a voluntary Aggregate Reporting (AR) methodology. This methodology enabled the clustered MSMEs to measure and manage their sustainability impacts, disclose them to stakeholders, and improve their access to potential business opportunities and public support schemes.
Two clusters, Ajmer and Punjab, received training and coaching support to develop and implement the AR methodology. The final deliverable was their first Aggregate sustainability reports. The reporting process helped them to adopt clean production methods, reduce their carbon footprint, and support their workers with better Occupational Health and Safety systems and improved workplace conditions. The aggregate sustainability reports were finalized in 2015.
The Aggregate Sustainability Report for Ajmer can be found on GRI’s Sustainability Disclosure Database, here.
The Aggregate Sustainability Report for Punjab, can also be found, here.
The learning document for the project Scaling Up Sustainable Development of MSME Clusters In India can be found here.
The executive summary of the learning document, in Chinese, can be found here.