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Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF) set to mark International Mountain Day with a new initiative to provide biodegradable sanitary pads to its female participants

Jamshedpur, December 10, 2021

~ TSAF becomes first outdoor organisation in India to introduce biodegradable sanitary pads to promote sustainable mountain tourism ~

Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF) has become the first outdoor organisation in India to launch a novel eco-friendly initiative to provide biodegradable sanitary pads to all female participants in its outdoor courses and expeditions. TSAF aims to achieve zero waste camps and minimise its impact on trails. This new initiative by TSAF resonates with the theme of International Mountains Day 2021 - to promote ‘sustainable mountain tourism’. All the camps and activities at TSAF follows zero waste principle, where all the waste generated during the course is either reduced, reused, or recycled.

On the occasion, Bachendri Pal, Mentor, Tata Steel Adventure Foundation, said: “TSAF’s new initiative of introducing biodegradable sanitary pads is a welcome step towards sustainable mountain tourism and women hygiene. Our aim is to protect and conserve one of the most beautiful mountaineering destinations in the world. Sanitary napkins during expeditions are often thrown into ponds, rivers, and lakes, thus contaminating the water bodies or thrown in the open which in return pollute the soil and endangers the wildlife around. The introduction of biodegradable sanitary pads will help encourage TSAF’s female participants to achieve zero waste camps during group trails and expeditions.”

Every year, Himalayas attract approximately seven lakh tourists from across the globe. The increase in tourism has led to a growing concern of mixed waste management, of which, plastic is the main constituent, that not only scars the picturesque mountain landscapes, but can lead to land degradation, air pollution, and destabilised mountain slopes, among others. TSAF, through its various programmes, engages over 5000 participants from B-schools, corporations and individual tourists who participate in expeditions, with 15 to 20 percent of them being women. The foundation aims to curb the damage caused to the environment due to sanitary pads wastage, by providing free organic biodegradable sanitary pads.  

Until now, TSAF has conducted multiple cleaning drives to segregate the waste collected during the expeditions and send them to various facilities in Delhi or Dehradun for further recycling. However, the major challenge faced by the teams are the used sanitary pads which are either burnt or buried in landfills, which in turn endangers the wildlife or contributes to CO2 emissions. To solve the problem, TSAF decided to introduce organic biodegradable sanitary pads which will decompose naturally when buried under the ground. Moreover, it will lead to environmental conservation, protect the wildlife, and will help bring about a behavioural change in participants.

In the past, TSAF has organised various sustainability initiatives such as Mission Gange, a month-long expedition where a team of 40 self-believing individuals traversed along the river with the help of rafts and visited 7 different cities on the way. The aim of the expedition was to spread awareness among the locals through cleaning river, river fronts and educating people about waste management. TSAF also makes Eco-bricks from discarded plastic bottles filled with wrappers and polybags which are further utilised to make walls or furniture at camps.

Going forward, TSAF will inspire other organisations to use organic sanitary pads and to follow suit. This campaign will also encourage women to come out and explore the outdoors without having to worry about their periods.

About TSAF

Founded by legendary mountaineer Bachendri Pal, first Indian woman to climb Mt Everest on May 23, 1984 Tata Steel Adventure Foundation is an outbound leadership institute which through its wide range of activities aims at developing able leaders for the future through identification of their limits of mental and physical endurance. It allows people from all walks of life and all ages to choose their own metaphor for self-discovery. True to its philosophy of experiential learning, TSAF believes that no classroom is better than nature and no teacher is better than your own will.

Tata Steel Adventure Foundation recognises the different leadership styles and the changing needs across different levels of management, so it does not practice a one fits all model. The courses are custom tailored as per the needs of the participating organisation. The outbound programs consist of a series of experiential games, outdoor team activities and coordinated group tasks simulated in a natural environment that are instrumental in imparting valuable team-building lessons to the participants. Thus, there is a perfect blend of physical exertion, team building, coordination, group tasks, and lastly loads of fun.

About Tata Steel

Tata Steel group is among the top global steel companies with an annual crude steel capacity of 33 million tonnes per annum. It is one of the world's most geographically diversified steel producers, with operations and commercial presence across the world. The group recorded a consolidated turnover of US $21.06 billion in the financial year ending March 31, 2021.

A Great Place to Work-CertifiedTM organisation, Tata Steel Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, associates, and joint ventures, is spread across five continents with an employee base of over 65,000.

Tata Steel has been a part of the DJSI Emerging Markets Index since 2012 and has been consistently ranked amongst top 5 steel companies in the DJSI Corporate Sustainability Assessment since 2016. Besides being a member of ResponsibleSteelTM and worldsteel’s Climate Action Programme, Tata Steel has won several awards and recognitions including the World Economic Forum’s Global Lighthouse recognition for its Jamshedpur, Kalinganagar and IJmuiden Plants, and Prime Minister’s Trophy for the best performing integrated steel plant for 2016-17. The Company, ranked as India’s most valuable Metals & Mining brand by Brand Finance, featured amongst CII Top 25 innovative Indian Companies in 2020, received rating of ‘A-‘ (leadership band) from CDP for its Climate Change disclosure and Supply Chain disclosure, Steel Sustainability Champion 2020 recognition from worldsteel, ‘Most Ethical Company’ award 2021 from Ethisphere Institute, Best Risk Management Framework & Systems Award (2020) from CNBC TV-18, and Award for Excellence in Financial Reporting FY20 from ICAI, among several others.

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