Creating Value from Waste: Lessons from Mahindra and Mahindra
(6 pages of text)
In 2017, the general manager and head of business conglomerate Mahindra and Mahindra Limited (M&M)’s largest factory in Igatpuri, Maharashtra, faced several challenges related to the company’s goal of achieving zero-waste-to-landfill certification from an environmental agency. Since the Mahindra Group’s chief executive officer had decided to focus on sustainability as a key to long-term growth, M&M had to find practical ways to manage waste in the Igatpuri factory. Reducing the waste produced in the factory would require the company to deal with both production-related hazardous waste such as toxic camshaft-grinding waste and other waste such as the cotton gloves iemployees had previously discarded after every shift. The general manager knew that diverting a high percentage of waste from the landfill could produce material savings and cost reductions and boost M&M’s image as a sustainability-focused global brand. He wondered how best to embed waste management policies into the factory’s processes.
The case is suitable for postgraduate level management courses in sustainability, business and environment, business and society, strategic management, responsible innovation, ord circular economy. It can also be used in undergraduate level courses in sustainability management or environmental management. It focuses on sustainability and waste management practices at a large Indian manufacturer and discusses the ways that an initiative like dramatically reducing waste supports a company’s overall goals and sustainability. Through discussion of the case and assignment questions, students will be able to do the following:
- Describe the complexities of waste management in a factory setting, and explain the relationship between zero waste and a circular economy.
- Explain the role of certifications like zero-waste-to-landfill in helping a corporation achieve sustainability goals.
- Explain why zero waste requires systemic changes to an organization, including innovation with regard to products and services; changes to the organizational culture; and collaborations among multiple stakeholders.
India, Large, 2019
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