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Good-for-earth farming

Our farmers use organic farming techniques for cultivating herbs. Hundreds of acres of farmland are protected from pests by natural, organic fertilizers like Neem oil. Routine application of farmyard manures and vermicompost keeps the soil rich in nutrients.

As part of the process to restore the Earth’s natural nutrients and control weeds, we expose the soil to the sun, a process known as soil solarization. Soil that has been solarized allows plants to draw on nutrients, especially nitrogen and calcium. Seeds germinate more quickly, plants grow faster and mature earlier, giving higher yields to our farmers.

A greener planet

Through our partnership with the us-based international Tree-planting organization, trees for the future, We have planted 150,000 trees in the southern indian state of Andhra pradesh and 181,000 trees in india’s biodiversity-rich Western ghats.

A mix of fruit, fodder and nitrogen-fixing trees have been planted with the involvement of local communities, creating a sense of project ownership. The trees provide the communities with food and fodder for cattle. They also help revitalize soil health. Each tree on an average offsets 50 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.

Journey to good health together

Himalaya has partnered Aarohi, a non-profit organization, working in the remote, rural areas of Uttarakhand in North India, to promote community health. The partnership aims at improving maternal and child health in local villages. The Aarohi- Himalaya Health Initiative, as it is known, seeks to address issues and complications arising from poor maternal health by providing prenatal and post natal care and by improving access to quality clinical services for the rural population. Additionally, the medical team is also engaged in health education and raising awareness for nutrition in government schools, located in the interior Kumaon region. The school intervention programme takes the form of ‘health camps’ providing basic healthcare including general health checks, monitoring height and weight, dental screening and deworming.

Supported by this partnership, Aarohi’s team of dedicated doctors conduct regular health camps and perform different surgeries, free of cost, for the poor people inhabiting this region. Patients are also referred to Aarohi’s Cottage Hospital (Aarohi Arogya Kendra) for treatment and medications. Himalaya provides free medicines to the hospital.

We are hopeful this partnership will grow to see a healthy Kumaon a few years down the line.

Breastfeeding key to healthy baby

Breastfeeding marks the beginning of a mother’s journey in taking care of her child.

Himalaya’s initiative, Aashayein, is an educational campaign that communicates the benefits of breastfeeding to community health workers. The campaign reaches out to accredited social health activists (ASHAs), auxiliary nurse midwives (ANM) and anganwadis who serve as key communicators between the healthcare system and rural communities. These health workers are recognized as health advocates and advisors in Indian society. Himalaya organizes educational programs for them, which highlight the health benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby.

Helping diagnose osteoporosis

Himalaya runs free diagnostic medical camps to test for osteoporosis and provide appropriate medical alternatives. The Bone Mineral Density (BMD) test camps can diagnose osteoporosis in its initial stages, when patients do not display any overt symptoms.

Over the years, Himalaya has conducted over 1,500 camps across India. Trained Himalaya personnel including doctors, technicians and field staff travel to remote areas with specialized diagnostic equipment to ensure an accurate diagnosis.

This ongoing initiative has helped many patients in ‘high-risk’ categories. Early detection has prevented their condition from deteriorating and developing into full-blown osteoporosis at a later stage.

Raising awareness for diabetes

Often referred to as ‘the silent epidemic’, diabetes has become a major health concern across the world. Since 2008, Himalaya has been conducting Diabetes Detection Camps across India. Doctors from Himalaya carry out random blood sugar tests and refer patients for treatment if abnormal sugar levels are detected.

Information in the local language is disseminated at health clinics to educate the general public on the disease and healthy lifestyle alternatives. Since the start of this initiative, Himalaya has reached out to over 300,000 people across India.

Helping diagnose osteoporosis

Women are society’s primary caregivers. Traditional and modern societies alike continue to depend on women to look after the health of the family. Often, women end up neglecting their own health, in their role as caregivers.

Jagriti, Himalaya’s initiative to raise awareness for women’s health, aims to educate women on common health problems and the available solutions. Under this program, leading gynecologists address groups of women on various health issues such as osteoporosis, breast cancer, irregular menstruation, menopause-related health concerns, nutrition and lifestyle disorders. The women are encouraged to interact with the doctors and are given a free consultation. The objective of the program is to motivate women to take charge of their own health. Himalaya conducts close to 500 programs each year, reaching 50,000 women across India.

Practicing what we preach

Himalaya has received the ISO 14001:2004 certification, the most recognized global standard for excellence in environmental management.

By setting up a water treatment plant and sourcing water with low total dissolved solid (TDS) levels, we have reduced water consumption by as much as 17,000 liters a day.

The energy-efficient design of our warehouse allows for maximum natural light and saves approximately 120,000 units of energy per year.

By switching to compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) and lightemitting diode (LED) lights at our facility in Bangalore, we now save over 91.69 kilowatts per hour of energy each year.

These simple but crucial energy saving initiatives have helped us reduce our carbon emissions by 128,366 kilograms thus far.

Harvesting a good rain

Since the year 2000, himalaya has been harvesting Rainwater at our bangalore campus to conserve water.

A well-designed network of eight waterwells and 59 recharge pits ensures that rainwater is collected effectively. The network of percolation pits and well operates at 90 percent efficiency and has a combined storage capacity of 90,000 liters. Presently, our entire water requirement is met by two waterwells with an average generation capacity of 250,000 liters per day.

Rainwater harvesting has helped increase the water table of the surrounding area, reduced the scarcity of water during the summer months and decreased the TDS content in the groundwater. High TDS levels leave water unfit for human consumption and damage crops. The TDS levels in the area surrounding our campus in Bangalore have reduced from approximately 4,000 parts per million (ppm) in 2008 to 2,150 ppm in 2012.

Greening our stores

Himalaya has over 116 exclusive retail outlets across India. We are on a mission to convert our outlets to ‘eco-stores’ by using environment friendly materials and reducing our carbon footprint.

Every little step helps our planet

As part of our ‘Greening the Store’ initiative, we are consciously choosing materials which are better for the environment.

  • We have installed energy-efficient CFL lights that consume 75 percent less energy and last up to ten times longer than incandescent bulbs.
  • The zero volatile organic compound (VOC) paints used in our stores are non-toxic and do not deplete the ozone layer. The paint is sourced locally, which means less transportation and a reduced carbon footprint.
  • Our carry bags are made from 75 percent recycled paper.
  • Display units within the stores are made from medium density fiberboard (MDF), which is produced from wood waste and wood chippings.

Packing a greener punch

To make greener products, Himalaya has reduced the amount of packaging materials used so less waste is generated. In addition, we have transitioned to greener packing materials.

We have redesigned our tertiary packaging, significantly reducing paper and plastic film. A simple tweak in design resulting in more efficient use of space has meant a 15 percent reduction in packing materials.

Our hair oils come in bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a 100 percent recyclable material. For our toothpaste and soap cartons, we make use of board procured from renewable sources. This paper comes from trees planted as part of social forestry projects. We also use non-toxic soy ink for printing on our soap sleeves.

No waste in our backyard

In the past ten years, we have improved our waste management process. All types of waste generated at our facility in Bangalore are properly segregated and systematically handled. Today, we are recycling 90 percent of our solid waste, 100 percent of our liquid waste and scientifically disposing of our hazardous waste.

The paper, plastic and other recyclable waste is handed over to certified recyclers. We have set up an effluent treatment plant that processes liquid waste. The treated effluent is used for gardening and irrigation of our 10 acre ‘green belt’ on campus in Bangalore, where we have planted 600 coconut trees and 3,500 golden bamboo, napier and lemongrass trees. We are a certified ‘zero discharge’ facility.

From lab to field

Today, more than ever, we need to step up our efforts to preserve our rich biodiversity.

Himalaya has set up a tissue culture laboratory for the cultivation of seedlings and plantlets of endangered species. Efforts to propagate Ratna purush, a nearly extinct herb found mainly in the forests of the Western Ghats in India, have yielded success after two years of research. We have grown this species through micropropagation and have progressed to the farm trial stage for its cultivation.

We have also initiated farm trials of Saussurea lappa, an endangered herb found in high altitudes. As part of a collaborative effort to expand farming of this herb, the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore supplied Himalaya Saussurea lappa plantlets. In our farm trials, over 60 percent of these plantlets survived, and we are now moving to full-fledged cultivation of the herb. This is a great achievement since we will be growing an herb found in high altitudes in Bangalore’s sub-tropical climate.

Project Abhiyaan

Himalaya’s single largest community development Initiative, which also lies at the core of our business Responsibility, is ‘project abhiyaan’ – our pan-india Adopted farmers program.

Abhiyaan, which means movement or cause in hindi, is a program that focuses on economic empowerment of poor farmers across India.

Himalaya has engaged over 4,000 small and marginal farmers across India to grow medicinal herbs. Majority of these farmers have small tracts of land, about three to four acres, and need support to diversify their crops and generate additional income. Through the program, they cultivate herbs like Alfalfa, Ashwagandha, Tulasi, Ginger, Turmeric, Shatavari, Vetiver, Mucuna and Kalmegh.

Working mostly with women farmers who are socially the most disadvantaged, Himalaya provides technical assistance and training in good agricultural practices, sustainable herb collection and organic farming.

Farmers are trained through field trials and demonstrations by a team of expert agricultural scientists. By providing seeds, packing materials and transportation, we ease the farmers’ burden and reduce their cultivation costs.

Most importantly, farmers who participate in this program do not have to depend on intermediaries to sell their produce. Himalaya buys the herbs directly from them and pays them a mutually agreed price, usually 10-15% higher than the market rate.

Giving prison inmates a second chance

Himalaya is working with the local prison authorities in the states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in India, to rehabilitate inmates. The prisoners cultivate herbs for Himalaya, earn an income and acquire essential skills. We also provide seeds, technical assistance and training to the prisoners.

For Himalaya, this program is about giving prisoners a second chance to rebuild their lives. Most of the inmates own small plots of farmland back in their villages. By participating in this project, they can reconnect with farming. The aim of the project is to ease the inmates’ reintegration into society by teaching them skills and helping build their self-esteem.

The story of siddalingamma

Siddalingamma grows Alfalfa for Himalaya. She is an old-timer, having been a part of Himalaya’s farming program for more than nine years.

Before joining Project Abhiyaan, Siddalingamma cultivated paddy, sunflower and vegetables on her small plot of land. She travelled long distances to the local mandi (market) to sell her produce to middlemen. With no access to storage facilities, she would have to sell the harvested crop at whatever price was offered to her. Mostly, this would mean selling her produce at a very low price.

Siddalingamma heard about Himalaya’s farming program through a friend and signed up immediately. She hasn’t looked back. With a warm and hearty smile, she comments, “The day I joined Himalaya’s farming program, life became so much easier! Since the herb Alfalfa is harvested monthly, I earn a regular income. This helps me plan my finances better, and I am able to save a little money at the end of each month!”