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The ESG Trailblazer Vedanta is on a transformative journey to emerge as an industry leader in ESG, with focused action plans on decarbonization, water positivity, workplace safety, community welfare and workforce diversity, says, Priya Agarwal Hebbar, chairperson, Hindustan Zinc and non-executive director at Vedanta

By Shrabona Ghosh

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Facing one's fears boldly and emerging as a champion is a force to be reckoned with. "Whatever life throws at you, be fearless and humble," said Anil Agarwal to his daughter in her formative years. These words are still etched in Priya Agarwal Hebbar's mind, who now is the chairperson of Hindustan Zinc and non-executive director at Vedanta. The story of Vedanta Resources revolves around toil, labor, love and the zeal of Anil Agarwal, who founded the company in 1965. "My father always told me that life isn't gonna be easy. He has struggled a lot and advised me to put 25 per cent more effort into whatever I do. This advice changed my life as I started putting in extra efforts which yielded better results," said Priya, who is passionate about nature conservation, animal welfare, child nutrition and gender parity which has driven her to lead a variety of CSR initiatives.

Seeing the family business getting listed on London Stock Exchange, was one of the most euphoric moments for her. "I think the most defining moment in the family business was getting listed in the London Stock Exchange. He raised a huge amount of money, more than he expected at that time. That was an inspiration!" After graduating from University, Priya started an animal welfare organization, YODA (youth organization in defence of animals) in 2010. Overnight, the social media page for the organization garnered over 70K followers. Spotting a problem and coming up with a solution, is an entrepreneurial instinct. Priya's entrepreneurial journey began with YODA. "The social media page for YODA received huge popularity because at that point in time, there was not much animal welfare going around in Mumbai. It turned out to be my first entrepreneurial venture."

Fast forward, she still remembers her first day at Cairn India's board meet. She was nervous but excited. "That was my first board meeting! There were so many head honchos in the boardroom and they were very excited to meet the chairman's daughter. They were looking forward to my ideas at a time when I was a novice," she said. The journey from her first board meet to being elevated as the chairperson of Hindustan Zinc, is full of learnings. "Having a progressive father who believed in equal opportunities was the first step towards my career advancement."

Today, under Priya's leadership, Vedanta is on a transformative journey to emerge as an industry leader in ESG, with focused action plans on decarbonization, water positivity, workplace safety, community welfare and workforce diversity. The company's gender diversity has increased from 11 per cent to 14 per cent in one year and "We are well on our way to meet the target of 20 per cent by 2030," she explained, adding that women in STEM roles have also increased. "Our subsidiary HZL boasts of India's first female underground mining engineers. Besides, HZL is the first in the country to introduce battery operated EVs in underground mining."

Vedanta is committed to becoming a net zero carbon business by 2050 or sooner and targets to achieve net water positivity by 2030.

Shrabona Ghosh


A journalist with a cosmopolitan mindset. I lead a project called 'Corporate Innovations' wherein I cover corporates across verticals and try to tell stories on innovations. Apart from this, I write industry pieces on FMCGs, auto, aviation, 5G and defense. 
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