July 2018

The green thumb multiplier effect

Tata Projects transforms its tree-planting initiative into a unique digital campaign that has mobilised unprecedented support and participation from the online community

Tata Projects is one of the fastest-growing infrastructure companies in India, with expertise in executing large and complex industrial and urban infrastructure projects. Sustainable business practices and environment conservation are core values of the company, which is why it has consistently tried to reduce the impact of its operations on the environment. A significant initiative that has achieved this objective is the Green Thumb tree-planting campaign.

Tata Projects has planted a substantial number of saplings at its sites. Teams across 138 company sites in India and overseas work hard to ensure that the green cover at the project sites is preserved and enhanced.

  • Vinayak Deshpande, managing director, Tata Projects, pledges support to Green Thumb.
  • The Green Thumb initiative gets a new follower in Sowmyan Ramakrishnan, chairman, Tata Projects.
  • Banmali Agrawala, president, infrastructure and defence and aerospace, Tata Sons, clicks to have a tree planted on his behalf under the Green Thumb initiative.
  • Gutta Jwala, Indian badminton player, expresses support for the Green Thumb initiative.
  • Mithali Raj, captain of the Indian women's cricket team, participates in the Green Thumb tree-planting initiative.
  • L-R: Brigadier Gajendra Nigam, consultant, Tata Projects; Colin Batchelor, project director, Dravyavati Project, Tata Projects; Anoop Dobriyal, RCM, Dravyavati Project, Tata Projects; and Naresh Sharma, head, marketing communication, Tata Projects, get ready to plant saplings under the Green Thumb initiative.
  • BD Sharma, additional chief engineer, Jaipur Development Authority, and team plant a sapling to support the Green Thumb initiative.

On World Environment Day 2016, the company decided to take its tree-planting agenda to the next level. It decided to transform its tree-planting activity into a unique campaign that aligns to Tata Projects' brand image of an environment-friendly company. And thus was born the Green Thumb initiative on June 5, 2016, with the goal to inspire employee participation, ownership and pride in the company’s tree-planting activities.

Green Thumb was launched across multiple platforms including the company website, intranet and social media properties LinkedIn and Facebook, and as a Google banner campaign and a microsite. The online community was invited to be a part of it, with the promise "For every 'like' on our post, we plant a tree on your behalf". The initiative targeted the armchair environmentalist by appealing to their conscience, assuring them that they can do their bit for the environment from the comfort of their home. FM radio stations in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi and Jaipur, and extensive media coverage were used to drive traffic towards the online campaign.

The publicity and participation that the initiative secured through various traditional and digital mediums has been overwhelming. The tree-planting target for the first year was 25,000 trees, but with enthusiastic participation from employees and the online community the number soared to 42,000 trees. It was bettered in the second year, which saw the planting of 48,000 trees.

Trees have been planted in more than 150 locations in India, from Rajauri (Jammu & Kashmir) in the North to Kochi (Kerala) in the south, and from Ahmedabad (Gujarat) in the West to Pasighat (Assam) in the East. The targeted goal for this year is 65,000 trees, and over 7 lakh people have clicked to pledge support. Celebrities such as Mithali Raj, captain of the Indian women's cricket team that won the World Cup, and Jwala Gutta, India badminton doubles player, have also pledged support to the campaign.

Tata Projects plans to scale up the initiative over the next few years. In addition to planting more trees, it will have ground events wherein participants will be educated and sensitised about the environment. The company plans to initiate regular communication with participants to involve them in future projects and inform them about the initiative's progress. A lucky draw is also planned to reward them.

The Green Thumb initiative has become a differentiator that has set apart Tata Projects from competitors. The company is now recognised for not only constructing world-class projects, but doing so in a way which supports the environment. It is just the beginning for a new sustainable business practice and a unique initiative that has already reached out to more than 20 million people and seen the planting of 90,000 trees.