In what is arguably the first environment-focused programme of this scale in India, an army of Green Corps is being prepared by Hero MotoCorp under its corporate social responsibility (CSR) project titled Ankur. The Green Corps is comprised of students from a select 100 schools (100 students per school). These students, who are being motivated and trained to become the true guardians of the environment, will not only engage in conservation activities but also encourage their parents, peers including classmates and the public in general.

Launching the project, Vijay Sethi, CIO and Head CSR, Hero MotoCorp, said, ‘Our simple vision, that “we must give back to the society from whose resources we generate our wealth”, makes us one of the most sustainable companies in the country. True to this, caring for our planet remains at the centre of everything we do. Project Ankur is a further extension of our Happy Earth programme, which is focused at environment conservation. The thought underlining the project is to establish a strong, symbiotic bond between young children and nature. The team will constantly engage school children in various environment-centric activities so as to nurture this bond, and inspire a deep-seated respect for the planet. Attitudes developed at a young age shape our actions and decisions throughout our lives. I am sure that students who are engaging with Project Ankur will go on to be the true custodians of the environment.’

Managed by CauseBecause, the programme aims to bring about essential environmental consciousness at an early age. The programme will encourage children to participate in practical activities focused on environment conservation, optimum utilisation of natural resources, management of waste, and reduction of air, water and all other types of pollution. They will also be encouraged to become ambassadors of the planet spreading the message to build up awareness amongst the masses. For direct engagement with schools, CauseBecause has engaged its partner We Plant, an environment-focused non-profit organisation that has been doing commendable work with schools through its Seed Banks initiative.

‘Project Ankur is the beginning of a movement that has the potential to reach out to the collective consciousness of the people because it is being spearheaded by young children who are determined to change the environment for good,’ said Ranjan Rayna, director & chief strategist, CauseBecause.

Talking about the participating schools, Santosh George, founder trustee of We Plant, recounted, ‘We were overwhelmed by the response of the schools when we started establishing the Seed Banks. While we were expecting a few hundred seeds from schools, the children seemed to have saved the seed of almost every fruit that was eaten at home and helped us collected over three lakh seeds.’

In the first phase of the project, the Green Corps collected seeds of the various seasonal fruits (mostly mango, jamun and tamarind) that they had in their summer vacations, and submitted these to the Seed Banks that were established in their schools. The seeds chosen from the lot were germinated at a nursery, which too was created by the children. In the second phase, children are planting the saplings that they had nurtured and have taken up the responsibility to take care of these. Some children have even named their trees and recorded their date of birth; some say that they will celebrate their tree’s birthday by planting more trees.