Official launch of the GreenCo E-waste Recycler rating system

Access the GreenCo Rating

Chennai, June 28, 2018: India currently produces roughly 2.5 million tons or 5% of the global e-waste every year. With growth rates of almost 30%, Indian e-waste quantities double every 2.5-3 years. Channelizing these waste streams and setting up adequate treatment infrastructure is a national priority, which both policy makers and industry have been keen to tackle.

On 28 June 2018, Padma Bhushan Dr T Ramasami, Former Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology, has launched the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) GreenCo rating for e-waste recyclers at the CII Green Co Summit in Chennai. The release of the rating systems marks an important step in the industries’ commitment to catalyse the transition towards more sustainable e-waste recycling in India, benefitting workers, society and the industry. The rating system covers aspects related to monitoring systems, elimination of hazardous materials, and inclusion of the informal sector in suitable activities. It aims to stimulate continuous improvement and to support entities in implementing and eventually surpassing the strong existing legal framework.

Launch of the GreenCo E-waste recycler rating. Left to right: S Raghupathy (CII), Pradeep Bhargava (Chairman, GreenCo Summit), Jamshyd N Godrej (Chairman & MD, Godrej & Boyce Mfg company & Past President CII), Michael Gasser (Empa), Padma Bhushan Dr T Ramasavi (former Secretary DST), S Krishnan (Principal Secretary, Govt of Tamil Nadu), V Narasimhan (Executive Director, Brakes India), Seema Arora (CII).

The GreenCo rating for E-Waste Recyclers was developed by the CII – Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre. The development was supported by the SRI-project, led by the World Resources Forum and Empa and funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco). Sofies India contributed key technical expertise. The rating system was developed through a one-year participatory process involving policy-makers, civil society organisations, scientists and various industry sectors (compliance providers, recyclers and collectors).

The criteria of the rating system can apply to a variety of stakeholders. Recyclers, manufacturers and other interested parties are invited to adopt and use the rating system according to their needs, in order to strengthen the platform for sustainable e-waste recycling in India.

Objectives and key aspects of the rating system

  • The rating system was designed according to the following objectives:
  • To have a single performance monitoring system suited to Indian conditions in accordance with international requirements;
  • To minimize and gradually eliminate hazardous material from e-waste being handled uncontrollably by the informal sector;
  • To create a transparent assurance system of recyclers;
  • To identify the best dismantlers and recyclers and create a platform supporting their cooperation to form world class recycling chains;
  • To support recyclers in the continuous improvement of their internal processes;
  • To enable the recycling industry to stay ahead of compliance and be prepared for future market opportunities.

Based on these objectives and the Indian conditions, four core aspects were identified, form- ing the basis of the rating system. The illustration below shows these aspects and some key topics in each aspect:

About GreenCo and the CII Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre

GreenCo is short for “Green Companies” and is a nationally well-known voluntary rating system for companies in every business sector. Already more than 200 companies are rated under the system. The rated companies have collectively reduced or mitigated more than 1.1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions and improved their materials usage considerably. In total, they reused 250’000 tons of waste and decreased the need for virgin materials. GreenCo follow a sector-independent general structure which is then adapted according to specific sectors needs and most relevant impacts. The GreenCo ratings are awarded by the independent GreenCo assessor panel – a group of senior Indian leaders in sustainability. Typically, a company can obtain up to 500 points and reach several levels in the rating system (certified, bronze, silver, gold and platinum). The platinum rating corresponds to international best practices and only the best-performing companies receive this level. The GreenCo rating for e- waste recyclers is the first GreenCo rating addressing the waste management industry in particular and thus represents a very important step for including the waste management industry in multi-sectorial sustainability initiatives.

CII – Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre, Hyderabad is CII’s centre of excellence in energy and environment, that aims to offer world class advisory services in the areas of energy management, green buildings, green companies, renewable energy, GHG inventorization, green product certification, waste management and cleaner production process. CII – Godrej GBC is the initiator of the GreenCo (for companies) and the GreenPro (for products) rating systems which contribute to the establishment of more sustainable business practices in In- dia. With the growing need for enhanced electronic waste management in the country, CII – Godrej GBC recognized the need to encourage environmentally responsible recycling of e- waste which it facilitates through the GreenCo rating system for e-waste recyclers.

The development process and stakeholder participation

The voluntary rating system was developed over a period of one year. Based on a detailed analysis of existing guidelines and standards on e-waste treatment in other jurisdictions, the aspects considered under GreenCo rating systems as well as local regulations and guide- lines, the project team prepared a draft scope, objectives and focus areas. A core committee for the development was formed based on the expression of interest of various stakeholders which had been vocal proponents of the need for such a rating system.

In an initial stakeholder meeting in Bangalore in July 2017, the vision and overall structure of the rating was discussed. The focus laid on ensuring a complete coverage of the issues and understanding the importance of various aspects to individual stakeholders. While the gen- eral vision and scope was considered to be adequate, the emphasis of certain aspects was adapted according to stakeholder feedback. Subsequently, a first draft of the rating system was prepared.

The first draft was presented to a wider audience of stakeholders during the CII Waste Management Summit 2017 in Bangalore in November. A second consultation held during the same event focused on fine-tuning the requirements and determining the appropriate documentation required, resulting in a second draft of the rating system.

Bilateral discussions with key stakeholders such as core committee members and policy makers in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) ensured a proper alignment with national policy throughout the development of the rating. These discussions resulted in a third draft and pilot version, which was tested during a visit to the recycling facility of E-Parisaraa Pvt. Ltd in Bangalore and officially launched on June 28th in Chennai.

Way forward

The criteria of the rating system are open to all interested parties. Having completed the development of rating system’s pilot version, CII invites recyclers, manufacturers and other interested parties to provide further comments and adopt the rating system. With the further support of the key stakeholders the rating system can become a key pillar of a transparent, innovative and world-class Indian e-waste recycling industry.