Is banning single-use plastic sufficient to claim that one is plastic-free?

Team CauseBecause (CB) is confused by a vague press release sent by the said company and the lack of any response whatsoever to CB’s questions seeking clarity.

As per the press release, starting August 1, Tech Mahindra has banned single-use plastic across its campuses globally. The organisation is apparently giving biodegradable bags in exchange of the plastic bags to associates across locations. Additionally, all the plastic containers being earlier used in Tech Mahindra cafeterias have been replaced.

The two paragraphs on this ‘development’ that the company has shared are rather abrupt, squeezing in as it does the phrase ‘individual social responsibility’ as well. CB’s queries were shared with the company’s management and corporate communication official as well as the public relations agency.

Here are the questions sent to Tech Mahindra:

  1. How do you plan to monitor enforcement of the ‘ban’?
  2. Will the biodegradable bags be given on per-need basis in the future?
  3. What other initiatives have been taken by Tech Mahindra to align with its sustainability goals?
  4. How have you convinced all your employees and associates to align with such sustainability measures?
  5. What does the company do to encourage individual social responsibility? Any insights that you can share?

As such, whether it’s a genuine development or merely a public relations-focused exercise (commonly practised by several corporate and foundations and even NGOs) is open to interpretation. Not to take away from an initiative that may yet have its value, but the least one can expect in return for reading through a press release is acknowledgement of the questions, whether or not one has the answers.