This article was published in partnership with Godrej & Boyce.
Through the years, The Better India has shared several accounts of sustainable initiatives from all over the country. These stories champion the experiences of individuals, teams, and organisations who have prioritised sustainable living with devoted efforts — through innovation, infrastructure enhancement, policy development, personal development, and more.
And as an effort to acknowledge housing societies in India that have established a high standard for prosperity and sustainability, and for being an all-encompassing community, The Better India and Godrej & Boyce announced the ‘Best Housing Society Awards’ in January 2023.
The aim was to commend societies that have made noteworthy contributions to sustainability, inclusivity, cleanliness initiatives, compassion, innovation, cultural integration, community development, and promotion of entrepreneurship.
“We are very proud as G&B to support this initiative which encourages people and housing societies to really nurture inclusive communities where everyone can thrive. We believe that an engaged and dynamic society is one where the community shares certain core values, because values are finally what grounds us and keeps us action-oriented,” shares Nyrika Holkar, executive director, Godrej & Boyce.
“At The Better India, we have always shed light on initiatives that champion sustainability, inclusivity and social responsibility. But, this time went a step further to not only shine the spotlight but also recognise and reward those taking significant measures to make our homes a thriving safe space, in turn making society a better place,” says Dhimant Parekh, CEO, The Better India.
After receiving a great response with a number of entries applying for the awards, a rigorous evaluation process was conducted. We shortlisted the top three housing societies that excelled in each of the eight categories.
Then, our esteemed jury panel — which comprised Vimlendu Jha, Malaksingh Gill, Chinu Kwatra, and Pankhti Pandey — evaluated the entries based on various parameters, such as green initiatives, energy efficiency, community engagement, and innovation among others. The final winners in each category were then selected based on the jury’s scores.
Here are the winners of the Best Housing Society Awards across eight categories:
1. Sustainability category winner
Park View City 2, Gurugram (represented by Anju Singla), houses approximately 425 families. Their cleanliness and eco-friendly initiatives comprise rainwater harvesting pits, frequent plantation drives, and a sophisticated waste management system aimed at achieving zero waste. They have accomplished the diversion of more than 300 kg of soft plastic and 350 kg of e-waste from landfills.
2. Swachh Initiatives category winner
Runwal Garden City, Thane (represented by Aarti Bannerjee), worked with NGOs like Urjaa Foundation, Anti Plastic Brigade Charitable Trust, and Bisleri – Bottles for Change to recycle over 25,996 kg of plastic waste. Every Sunday, their volunteers conduct plogging sessions and promote environmental preservation and cleanliness through initiatives like plantation drives and post-festival cleanups.
3. Promoting Entrepreneurship & Home Enterprise category winner
Aashiana Apartments, Chennai (represented by Bhuvana Panchanath), has set up The Peepal Tree (TPT) — a venture to encourage entrepreneurial spirit. This venture retails delectable food, stylish clothing, and distinctive merchandise, with items being showcased on a WhatsApp group along with their respective prices. Moreover, food festivals and festive events are organised annually, providing opportunities for residents to showcase their skills.
4. Promoting India’s Cultural Heritage category winner
Milroc Kadamba Housing Society, Goa (represented by Rajan Raikar), ensures that every festivity is observed in a remarkable fashion and provides opportunities for spiritual and motivational programmes to enrich the mind and soul. They also arrange special outings such as picnics and trekking trips twice annually.
5. Empathy category winner
Shatdal CHSL, Mumbai (represented by Dr Rupa Divatia/ Shrikant Parab), considers their staff like family and prioritises their welfare. They are provided with clean facilities — including three separate toilets and cooking amenities. They also receive interest-free loans and an entire bonus salary during Diwali. The society even took in five stray dogs, providing them with food, vaccinations, and medical care.
6. Inclusivity category winner
Godrej Woodsman Estate, Bengaluru (represented by Tejaswi Uthappa), caters to the needs of everyone — with features like senior citizen parks, activity corners, ramps for people with disabilities, and exclusive play areas for young children, as well as green playgrounds. They organise a staff sports meet, provide staff happy meals cooked and served by residents, hold pre-loved clothes fairs for staff, and distribute groceries to their community.
7. Innovation category winner
Anand Society, Kores Towers, Thane (represented by Lata Ghanshamnani), collects expired, damaged, and unwanted medicines in a separate bin for safe disposal through NGO Nisarg Foundation, preventing harmful chemicals from entering their water supply. Residents are encouraged and educated to switch to reusable menstrual products and their safe disposal. Multi-layered packaging is collected separately and given to NGO Safai Bank for recycling to reduce waste and prevent environmental pollution. They also have a bio-composting system on the rooftop that processes wet waste sustainably and produces compost suitable for gardening.
8. Community Building category winner
Sarva Priya Vihar, New Delhi (represented by Fabian Panthanki), holds outreach programmes to distribute cloth bags and educate MCD schools about waste segregation, encouraging a sustainable future. As a Model Green Colony, they guide and assist other communities in South Delhi. The society has accomplished 100% household waste segregation in three colonies and helped four with their community composting projects.
‘Godrej Good and Green Award’ Final Winner
Aashiana Apartments, Chennai, (represented by Mrs Anita Hegde/ Mrs Bhuvana Panchanath), won this award for having demonstrated exceptional leadership and commitment to creating a sustainable, inclusive, empathetic and safe community. Furthermore, they won prizes worth up to Rs 1 lakh from Godrej & Boyce.
The Best Housing Society Awards have not only shone a spotlight on the work of many residential buildings, but also inspired many looking for steps to implement in their places of residence.
Edited by Divya Sethu