Case Study Of A Corporate Paper–Sugar Complex
A case study on Industrial Ecology, India
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Industrial Ecology also offers the possibility of an alternate corporate planning model. This is illustrated by the case of a paper company, Seshasayee Paper and Boards Ltd (SPB), in Tamil Nadu. SPB started a paper mill, which went into commercial production in 1962. In order to ensure regular supply of raw material, a sugar mill was set up. The waste from the sugar mill (called bagasse) was used as a raw material for paper-making. Another waste from the sugar mill, molasses, was used in a distillery nearby for the production of ethyl alcohol. In order to ensure regular supply of sugarcane for the sugar mill, the company took interest in the cultivation of sugarcane by organizing the farmers in the region. The company struck long-term agreements with the farmers to buy back their produce and, in turn, took the responsibility of supplying them with water. Much of the water supplied for cultivation was the treated wastewater from the paper manufacturing operations. The company also used bagasse pith (a waste after the paper making) and other combustible agricultural wastes in the region, as an energy source in their captive power plant. Focus This case study highlights an alternate corporate planning model, which is compatible with the concepts of Industrial Ecology. Usually, a company plans its growth within a product-market matrix. It tries to define its business as specifically as possible such that its energies in acquisition of capabilities and skills are clearly focused. Many organizations would be reluctant to enter into areas unfamiliar to them. Environmental issues are often seen as secondary to the main goals of the company. A model where a company sets up not one, but a complex of diverse industries, where one industry uses the wastes of another, is a viable option for sustainable industrial growth in developing countries. The case of SPB also shows that there is a high potential for Industrial Ecology in rural areas, where integrated agro-industrial complexes can benefit the local community through efficient use of resources.
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