Print Summit 2020: ITC's WOW programme benefits 7.7 million citizens

KI Viswanathan, EVP Marketing and Commercial of ITC-PSPD spoke about the fifth P in the ITC business during BMPA's Print Summit 2020 at the Tata Theatre, NCPA. He shared information about high quality saplings by R&D, which has caused a productivity improvement by five times. This translated into coverage of 321,000 hectares and 250,000 farmers plus carbon dioxide sequestration which is more than twice ITC's emissions. The company has scaled up its a-forestation programme over the years which currently covers 7,30,000-acres and has generated over 135-million person-days of employment.

23 Jan 2020 | By Charmiane Alexander

KI Viswanathan, EVP Marketing and Commercial of ITC-PSPD

Viswanathan also spoke about ITC being water positive. This translates to rainwater harvesting that calculated into 35.35-million KL and net consumption of 10.34-million KL.

For water conservation, ITC follows global standards developed by the alliance for water stewardship. This standard looks at aspects such as water dependencies and impacts, mitigating operation supply chain water risks, ensuring responsible water procedures are in place, and building relationships with local water stakeholders.

He shared how ITC's WOW programme contributes towards a Swachh and Swasth India. WOW is ITC's flagship initiative Wellbeing Out of Waste (WOW). Through the WOW initiative ITC creates scalable solutions for spreading awareness about recycling, encouraging people to segregate and dispose waste.  As children seem to latch on to waste management concepts faster, the program especially focuses on schools to reach out and educate kids.

WOW also enables larger value recovery from waste, hence creating sustainable livelihoods for waste collectors and 14,500 rag-pickers.

Further he said, “Today, ITC has a total of 3.2 lac hectares of sustainable plantations which are regrown every 4 years creating livelihood for 25,000 farmers. ITC also invests in education for these farmers on intercropping based on soil types thereby creating value for them.”

These models operate on a public-private partnership basis with active involvement of urban local bodies, civil society and the informal segment of waste collectors. Today, the benefits of this programme extend to over 7.7-million citizens and 3.3-million students in the country.

Vishwanathan spoke about how the industry can work towards a circular economy through initiative in solid waste management. He mentioned how ITC has been solid waste recycling positive for the last 12 years.

ITC's Paperboards and Specialty Papers Business has established the country's first Elemental Chlorine Free fibre line with ozone bleaching technology and is fully compliant with world-class environmental standards. It is also the first paper business in the country to be invited to be a member of the Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN) of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Committed to developing a sustainable raw material base, ITC's pulpwood is being progressively sourced from renewable plantations under its Social and Farm Forestry programmes, which provide sustainable livelihood opportunities to tribals and marginal farmers.

During the year, ITC's capacity augmentation in the VAP segment at its Bhadrachalam mill was commissioned. Plus, ITC entered the art board market with the launch of ‘Safire Graphik Duo'. Furthermore, traction was gained in packaging boards based on renewable and recyclable material. The business sustained its leadership position in the sale of eco-labelled products.

KI Viswanathan: The Vishy of the packaging industry

  • When you hear the word Vishy in paper and paperboard circles you know exactly who is being referred to. KI Viswanathan joined the erstwhile Bhadrachalam Paperboards as a management trainee in 1982.
  • He has handled many roles. Today he is the functional head of sales & marketing and a member of the divisional management committee in 2002. Since then the portfolio of his responsibilities has expanded and presently covers plantations, raw materials, procurement and sales & marketing.
  • His contributions over the years has been significant in making PSPD the largest and most admired in the Indian paper and paperboard industry. He has spoken about how ITC aims to go beyond the requirements of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 to ensure that, over the next decade, 100% of packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable.


ITC also undertakes product stewardship as customers have started asking questions on carbon emissions. “There are tracking mechanisms in place that can track how much carbon emissions have happened on account of paper consumed by a certain brand and how much plantation have happened to sequester those emissions.

Through R&D over the years we have been able to continuously improve bulk and stiffness for our boards for the same grammage resulting in reduction of overall paper consumption by weight,”