Healthy People and a Healthy Planet: How We’re Investing in Our Future

Earth Day comes once each year, but the work of the United Way of Bengaluru will reap positive results each day, year over year, for decades.

A percolation pit that was installed by Zebra employees in India as part of the One Billion Drops initiative with the United Way
by Sabitha Balakrishna
April 21, 2022

When it comes to the climate, we are experiencing a crisis. Though some efforts are being made to protect and preserve our resources, we’re at risk of coming up a day late and a dollar short. That’s why the theme of Earth Day 2022 is “Invest in Our Planet,” which compels us to build a prosperous and equitable future through healthy cities, countries and economies – while there is still time.

As a responsible corporate citizen, Zebra is committed to environmental initiatives that benefit all stakeholders. Our resource conservation initiatives include waste reduction, award-winning circular economy product innovation with certified refurbished devices, eco-packaging, sustainable product design and more. We’re focused on improving the environmental impact of our operations, products, and solutions, and investing in the communities where we live and work.

Yet, we acknowledge we must do more. Aside from simply being the right thing to do, sustainability is now viewed as a business best practice and integral to Zebra’s culture. Seventy-seven percent of consumers are motivated to purchase from companies committed to making the world a better place, while 73% of investors state that efforts to improve the environment and society contribute to their investment decisions.

How do we ensure our businesses sustain investment and our planet sustains our livelihood? We act more sustainably and invest in our planet.

Celebrating Earth Day with a Water Reclamation Project Milestone

Zebra has worked with the United Way of Bengaluru (UWBe) since 2016. UWBe, part of United Way Worldwide, is a non-profit organization working toward conservation of environmental resources, rural development, community health and education. The chapter catalyzes unified efforts from businesses, civic bodies, and citizen associations to bring about visible change. 

A sign showing Zebra`s involvement with the One Billion Drops initiative

In 2020, UWBe embarked on a project called “One Billion Drops” to enhance the depleting groundwater levels in and around Bangalore, India. The objectives of the project include capturing and conserving rainwater, enhancing the groundwater table through percolation methodology and ultimately contributing to water security to help ensure sustainable cities and communities. With support from businesses across India, UWBe intends to construct 10,000 recharge wells across parks and campuses in the city of Bengaluru with the potential to collect one billion liters of rainwater annually.

Percolation wells are pit holes that are dug into the ground. Through the hydrological cycle, rainwater trickles downward from the surface and recharges the underground aquifers. The benefits of recharge wells are multifold. They increase the groundwater level, reduce the velocity of the flow of water, help to hold moisture in soil amid dry seasons and fuel the growth of natural vegetation.

We’re proud to share that, to date, Zebra’s support of the One Billion Drops project has funded the build and completion of 208 percolation pits across the campuses of the National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) and the Kidwai Cancer Hospital in Bangalore. 

A water reclamation percolation pit created by Zebra employees as part of the One Billion Drops project
A water reclamation percolation pit created by Zebra employees as part of the One Billion Drops project

In addition to the percolation pits, we supported the construction of an artificial pond called Kalyani that can hold roughly 1.2 million liters of water at the National Dairy Research Institute in Bangalore. This pond also helps to replenish groundwater.

Coincidentally, the United Nations made groundwater the focus of 2022 World Water Day, which just passed on March 22, 2022. There was a strong call to action to “make the invisible visible,” which is exactly what we have been doing. We are glad to have preempted this thought process; it’s a reflection of our commitment to the environment.

As our work on the One Billion Drops project continues, so does our support for UWBe’s community health and education initiatives.

A sign showing Zebra`s involvement with the One Billion Drops initiative

Healthy People for a Healthy Planet

Investing in our planet means investing in our people, too. When people have limited resources, they can be forced to make decisions based on survival, not sustainability.

UWBe’s vision is a world where all individuals and families achieve their human potential through education, income stability and healthy lives.

In alignment with this vision, we provided support for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic by distributing hand sanitizer in seven government schools, oxygen concentrators to Portea Health Services, installing a quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) scanning machine that has benefitted nearly 9,000 children at Shankara Cancer Hospital, financing hospital infrastructure in the region and more. We also provided scholarships to cover academic fees for visually impaired students from Deepa Academy.

If we have learned anything, it’s that every individual’s actions can improve the lives of many – and together, we can move mountains (or at least move our planet and the people in our communities toward a healthier state of being). I invite you to amplify the good work being done around the world under the leadership of the United Way of Bengaluru to help preserve and protect our precious resources and ensure all people have the opportunity to truly live their lives – versus worrying about how they will survive.

Get Involved

The United Way of Bengaluru relies on support from businesses and individuals to improve the lives of the communities it works with and the environment it works for. Visit the UWBe website to learn more.

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Sabitha Balakrishna
Sabitha Balakrishnan is currently the Administrative Lead for Zebra Technologies India. With her 19 years of experience in the corporate world, she has implemented various programs to ensure maximum productivity. Among her many duties, she is responsible for office administration, managing large events and Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.