Godrej shapes Vikhroli through sustainability

Community is all important at Godrej. None of the innovation that one associates with Godrej would have been possible without the passion of the people working tirelessly towards it. In a bid to create a space that is conducive to work and employee well-being, Godrej has consolidated various group our-companies into a single space. Godrej One, the iconic glass fronted commercial building – and our new headquarters – combines attractive design aesthetics with Godrej values of transparency, trust and sustainability.

From the moment you walk into the lobby, you get a sense of space and the feeling that you're not inside a building at all. The atrium has a full-height, clear designed glazing wall, the first of its kind in India, allowing plenty of light to stream in. There are elements of greenery everywhere, literally bringing the outside in.

The wide atrium in the centre is topped with light scoops letting in more light. The building has several terrace gardens and a rooftop garden, with grass turfs and flowering frangipani trees planted in situ. These gardens are used for company events and get-togethers. Most of the car parking is underground, leaving the space around the building uncluttered.

At Godrej, every team member's quality of life matters and this has been catered to in many ways at Godrej One. The glass 'walls' ensure that no employee sits more than 25 feet away from a window, giving them access to sunlight and views of greenery (rather than concrete) throughout the day. This see-through structure is not only conducive to creating a convivial atmosphere and synergy at Godrej, but also reflects the company's core value of transparency. The design is energy efficient and sustainability is high on the agenda.

This relationship with sustainability goes back in time. When Godrej began its conservation of the mangroves on the western bank of Thane creek in the 1940s, environmental awareness and conservation were not part of the daily lexicon. This commitment to sustainability is most obviously reflected in the manner in which the company has continued to protect this swathe of land, which is the largest mangrove belt in Mumbai.

The importance of this biodiverse region also lies in its role as the city's climate regulator and second-largest carbon sink. It also provides livelihoods to local fishing communities by nurturing fish, prawns, and crabs during their breeding season. The remarkable foresight that Godrej has shown in preserving the forest has had a vital impact on the ecological balance of Mumbai, and specifically Vikhroli, by limiting flooding of the area during the monsoons. Today, the forest is home to 16 varieties of mangroves. Apart from the flora, the forest has extensive fauna as well—206 bird species, 82 types of butterflies, several aquatic creatures, and small mammals such as jackal, mongoose, and wild boar.

The Godrej mangroves are the only ISO 14001 certified privately owned mangrove forest in India. As part of its awareness initiative, the SP Godrej Marine Ecology Centre, a trust set up by the Group, offers several nature trails and activities inside the forest, with special trails for photographers, birdwatchers, and butterfly enthusiasts. The centre also carries out research and analysis in the forest, and has been the very first to successfully experiment with replanting mangroves—a pioneering technique that has now become standard practice.

Moving forward, it is clear that at Godrej, a design-led approach is the way of the future. This approach has an important and unique role to play in creating distinct products and experiences for its customers and the community.

Adapted from Nat Geo Traveller, as written by Prachi Joshi

Photographs by Anurag Banerjee

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