Responsible Business Rankings

India’s Top Companies for
Sustainability and CSR 2021

Water (SDG 6)

Water is a renewable resource but the fact that only a small percentage of it is usable for our needs makes it essential that we manage and consume it thoughtfully. Almost all manufacturing companies reported water management programs in their operations. Service companies such as banks and NBFCs still do not perceive the need to manage water consumed in their functions as they believe they are not heavy consumers.

Companies undertake various initiatives to effectively manage water used in their operations. The most deployed measures are water recycling/reuse and effluent water treatment. Recycled or treated water is used either in process or for ancillary purposes such as dust suppression, green belt development, washrooms, etc. These initiatives not only help reduce fresh water consumption, but also reduce wastewater from getting released in the environment - 42% companies reported that their facilities (some or all) have attained zero wastewater discharge.

We studied a breadth of 10 measures for water management in operations. Almost all manufacturing companies deploy at least one water management initiative and 70% of these have adopted four or more measures. In the services sector, all IT companies have programs and 90% of these have 4 or more water related programs.

While the breadth of the programs deployed is wide, the disclosure on depth is limited. Based on the disclosure, it appears that companies are in general more focused on executing water programs than on their overall water related vision. For instance, less than 30 companies undertake water mapping and risk assessment, only 43 companies recharge ground water, only 21 companies disclosed that they educate their staff to consume water responsibly, around 25 companies are either water positive or aspire to be, and less than 20 are members of water specific partnerships/alliances.

Water specific InitiativeParticipating Companies
CEO Water MandateNTPC, APSEZ, Hindustan Zinc, Tata Steel, Infosys, Tech Mahindra, Hindustan Construction Company
CDP Water Disclosure ProjectAdani Power, Hindustan Zinc, Ambuja Cements, Tata Chemicals, Cisco Systems, Jubilant Lifesciences, JK Tyre & Industries, Marico, Godrej Industries
Alliance for Water StewardshipHindustan Construction Company
WASHHindustan Construction Company, ABFRL
Water Resources GroupJain Irrigation System Ltd.
Global Water Partnership and ASABEJain Irrigation System Ltd.
Water Footprint NetworkJain Irrigation System Ltd.
Water Quality AssociationHavells India

Water management measures

Responsible product/service offering

Water responsibility is being built in new products/services by few companies – both during production and use. For instance, ACC, Dalmia Bharat and Tata Chemicals have introduced new varieties of cement that have water repellent and fast strength gaining qualities thereby lowering water required for curing post construction. ACC’s permacrete is a pervious concrete which allows easy percolation of water through it into the soil below, hence recharging ground water and avoiding wastage through storm water runoffs. Exide industries developed an advanced Valve-Regulated Lead-Acid technology for Telecom that reduces water loss/ does not require water top-up by the consumer. Welspun India introduced reversible bed sheets which can be used longer before every wash. Grasim’s dope-dyed product saves up to 90% water consumption in consumer processes compared to fabric dyeing process. UPL’s Zeba technology recorded water savings of 11-20% per tonne of potato grown for PepsiCo. And the SBI Green Fund will be utilized for undertaking various activities including water conservation efforts.

Supply chain

Responsible use of water amongst the supply chain partners is still at a nascent stage for most companies studied. The most widely disclosed extension of responsibility is a written policy or a Supplier Code of Conduct. Some companies have effective and efficient water management as a criterion for on-boarding new suppliers. These seem to be only a policy level intervention as the disclosure on its implementation was minimal. JSW Steel aims to promote waste water prevention, effective treatment and responsible disposal across all its suppliers and business partners.

Some companies conduct training on various environment parameters, including water, to build their supply chain capability. Automakers such as Maruti Suzuki, TKM and Tata Motors encourage their suppliers to set up effluent treatment facility, implement rainwater harvesting and train them on dry wash system. Cement companies (ACC and Ambuja Cements) conduct training for their vendors on sustainability aspects such as rainwater harvesting. Consumer staples and textile companies undertake sustainable farming programs including drip irrigation, rainwater harvesting, wide row planting etc. for their farmers.

  • Nestle India: We are raising awareness and providing technical support to coffee farmers on water conservation in irrigation, soil management, waste water treatment and recycling, and water use optimisation. We have also undertaken capacity building on integrated farming techniques

While trainings may be one-off, need-based and in-frequent, some companies like Tata Chemicals and Hero MotoCorp have formal vendor development programs around water called Mission Jal and Green Vendor Development, respectively.

  • Cisco Systems: We conducted a survey to identify the water consumption levels of different commodity types within our supply chain. Leveraging World Resources Institute’s; Aqueduct tools and the data we collected from suppliers, we were able to identify high water consumption supplier sites operating in water-stressed areas. As a result, we have prioritized suppliers to engage in capability-building in partnership with the Alliance for Water Stewardship.
  • ABFRL plans to achieve water-neutrality across the supply chain by 2025


Companies contribute to various water related projects for communities - drinking water, integrated water management, rainwater harvesting, restoring existing water structures (river/pond/lake rejuvenation), check dam construction, etc. 22% companies contributed to rainwater harvesting projects and 49% have drinking water related programs for communities.

  • Adani Power’s initiatives resulted in deepening of 350 ponds and building of 20 check dams, thereby increasing the water storage capacity to 78,17,468 CUM.
  • NTPC: Installation of 62 water-harvesting units in 13 villages near NTPC Sipat. Installation of more than 500 hand pumps, 70 tube wells/bore wells, 30 RO plants/Water ATMs and supply of water through water tankers to inhabitants at various locations near NTPC operations.
  • L&T Infotech: 60 students were trained in the water-testing technology, and their assessment benefited over 350 people in Kendur. The school has now become a water-testing center for the local community, which is much more aware of the issues surrounding water potability.
  • Siemens: In partnership with Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran and IIT Bombay, we started the work at Ozar-Sakora in 2019 with the electrification and automation of the existing piped water supply system. The project will ensure equitable distribution of water to all the end beneficiary by detecting 90% of the leakages as well as reducing on the Operation & Maintenance cost of the system and simplify the administration of the scheme.

Water management programs (breadth of Initiatives)

1 or more programs4 or more (out of 10 studied)
Capital Goods92%85%
Consumer Discretionary96%72%
Consumer Staples100%92%
Other Financials50%15%
Information Technology100%89%
Other Industries60%40%

% reduction in water consumption

Capital GoodsNANA
Jindal Saw: 5%
Consumer Staples2.5%-8%2%-10%
EID Parry (Ramdrug): 18%
DRL: 59% reduction in specific water consumption from our baseline (FY 2009-2010)
Cipla: 3%
Information Technology2%-8%2%-9.5%
Tata Steel: 11%
Other FinancialsNAEdelweiss Financial Services: 4%
Other IndustriesNA
Cummins India: 10%
TVS Motors: c20% as compared FY 2014-15
M&M Ltd: 2.3%
>Oil India: 10%
BPCL (Mumbai Refinery): 8.5%
BPCL (Kochi): 20.4%
Godrej Industries: 45% lower than FY 2011
ITC Bhadrachalam: 16% since 2014-15

Water positive companies

IndustryWater-positive companies
Capital GoodsL&T, Hindustan Construction Company, Havells
DiversifiedITC, Dalmia Bharat Group, Godrej Industries
MaterialsHindustan Zinc, UltraTech Cement, Ambuja Cements
Consumer DiscretionaryAshok Leyland, Eicher Motors, Asian Paints
Other IndustrialsCummins

Aspiring to be water positive

Company NameWater Positive/Neutral Goal
Tata ChemicalsBe water neutral by 2030
DRLAchieve 100% water neutrality by 2025
JK Tyre & Industries Ltd.Water positive in all plants by 2022
Toyota Kirloskar Motor IndiaObjective of achieving water neutrality
EID Parry (India) Ltd.Vision to be water positive
HPCLExploring ‘water neutrality’ opportunities at marketing locations
Godrej Consumer ProductsBecome water positive by 2020
MaricoBecome water positive by 2022
Hindustan ZincBecome 5x positive water company by 2025
Aditya Birla Fashion & RetailPlan to achieve water-neutrality in our own facilities by 2020 and across the supply chain by 2025
Grasim IndustriesWater positive by 2030
Dalmia BharatBecome 20x water positive by 2025
Godrej IndustriesBecome waster positive

Water mapping

  • UltraTech Cement: Our Group has developed a proprietary tool GeoSust which provides a comprehensive analysis on future scenarios for Climate and Water. Assessments have been carried out for all our manufacturing locations using this tool and the output provides variables that are fed into the scenario analysis.
  • Ambuja Cements: Our water sustainability risk assessment framework, developed in association with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) takes into account business/company risks as well as the basin risk, covering various risk aspects and identifying units with water stress. This assessment also uses the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Global Water Tool. Scenario analysis that identifies the potential impact on operations were also conducted.

Supply chain

Sustainable farming for supply chain

  • EID Parry: Extensive training to farmers on drip irrigation system and wider row planting to optimize and conserve water
  • HUL: Continue to guide farmers with the Unilever Sustainable Agriculture Code to enable them to reduce water usage in agriculture. In tomato and chicory cultivation, trials are underway to use mulching to significantly reduce water usage.

Some companies conduct trainings to build capabilities of suppliers.

  • ACC: Suppliers shall systematically manage their environmental impacts with respect to energy, water... an online training for 200 vendors on the Avetta tool was conducted to build their capacity on sustainability aspects
  • Ambuja Cements: Contractors are helped to upgrade their technical as well as project management skills through a skill upgradation platform called ‘Neev Abhiyaan’... and the most recent, applicator module for rain water harvesting, launched in 2016.
  • Hero MotoCorp: Water management is part of their Green Vendor Development program.
  • Maruti Suzuki: Use of dry-wash technology to clean cars at the workshop saved 1,248 million litres of water. The Company promotes usage of Effluent Treatment Plants among direct and indirect suppliers to increase water reuse following effective treatment
  • Tata Motors: Through the Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative, the Company also encourages its suppliers to implement rain-water harvesting and install renewable energy at their facilities. 34 suppliers have reduced freshwater consumption
  • Toyota Kirloskar Motors: TKM strongly recommends all its dealers to set up an ETP to spread awareness about the proper use of water. The rainwater is collected in a small pond. The water collected is then used to wash the cars at most of our Toyota dealerships. Additionally, rainwater is used to recharge the borewells.