Industry and business,
big and small, align themselves with the climate goals the government has set
and do take all efforts to move towards the target.
India Inc, according to a recent report by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) India, is aligning with the climate goals that the
government has set under the Paris Agreement. Its India Climate Change Report
2017 is based on responses from 51 companies, including 43 from the BSE Top
200. Infosys, Tata Motors, Dalmia Cements, Wipro and Indian Oil Corporation
were among the respondents.
Together, these 51 across sectors such as energy, consumer goods, technology
and auto account for 275.92 million tCO2e of greenhouse gas emission.
Like the big names like Infosys, Mahindra, Tata Consultancy Services,
nearly 500 units across eight energy-intensive sectors have reduced the amount
of carbon dioxide produced by 31 million tonnes over three years from 2012 to
2015 through a market based mechanism — the Perform, Trade, and Achieve (PAT) scheme
of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency. These units are in sectors such as
aluminium, cement, chlor-alkali, fertiliser, iron & steel, paper and pulp,
textiles and thermal power.
Either by actual reduction in the amount of carbon dioxide pollution or
by the effect of the use of renewable energy, the companies indeed have come a
long way. However, Singh warns that it
is not time to be complacent. . As an emerging economy, India’s greenhouse gas
emissions are set to rise by as much 85%. As the third largest emitter in the
world, India accounts for 6.65% of global emissions. Indian industries and
businesses need to step up their efforts.
But Singh explains that the major factors driving the adoption of
emission or renewable energy targets by top Indian companies is driven by
“Half of these companies are supplying to Wal-Mart, the tech companies
are part of Microsoft and Dell supply chain, so the impetus for change comes
from there,” said Singh. Another factor driving the shift is the push from
investors. Big investors like Blackrock and Vanguard are pushing companies to
disclose climate risk. Finally, for the Indian companies that want to access
global consumers and markets, taking steps to address climate change is
Experts express the view
that the government must be aggressive in designing policies so that the
industry and companies may be urged to do more to slow down the global warming.
“The government needs to start communicating the national climate plans
to India Inc and initiate discussions on mechanisms to allocate and track
emission reduction goals across the economy,” said Masood Mallick, managing
director, ERM in India that partnered with CDP India for the 2017 report Policy
signals are important to ensure industry remains aligned to national goals.
“Government’s role is irreplaceable in creating markets for climate action. The
PAT schemes, solar and wind energy upscale, EV 2030 target, and the recent
announcement to replace all government vehicles with EVs in the next three to
five years generate the necessary demand for low carbon solutions at huge
scales in a short time,” said CII director-general Chandrajit Banerji.
The government must also
focus on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) which form the industrial
backbone of the country. Rita Roy Choudhury, assistant secretary-general,
Ficci, said the government must design policy solutions that would help MSMEs
access finance and technology and build capacity to address climate risk.
Another aspect of the
government being aggressive in its approach towards achieving the target is it
should not wait for the market forces to take its course.
One area the government
should step in is enabling faster adoption of renewable energy. Rather than
waiting for the market to take its course, the government should smoothen
policies across states and remove the obstacles being raised by incumbent
companies so that corporations can make the switch to renewable energy and help
India achieve its nationally determined contributions,” said Anirban Ghosh,
vice president, sustainability, Mahindra & Mahindra.
According to Roy Choudhury, who is FICCI's point person on environment and
sustainability, the government must design policies “ that will scale up
innovations that are already taking place and facilitate market creation for
climate mitigation business models.”
Another idea is to make
available climate-friendly technology in particular.Industry representatives
said in order to scale up efforts to address climate change efforts, challenges
such as the availability of climate-friendly technology, finance and capacity
building need to addressed. This would include innovative financial mechanisms
such as green bonds and deployment and commercialisation of technologies in
renewables as well as conventional sources.
Another issue that Banerji said is a challenge and requires government
intervention is “the availability of low-emission technology free of
intellectual property rights, which is an essential requirement for industries
to reduce greenhouse gases”. When it comes to regulations, industry advises
caution, stressing that timing is the key to success. “Government intervention
through regulation is most effective when the solution or alternative is a
no-brainer or on the cusp of becoming a no-brainer,” said Ghosh.
Elucidating, the Mahindra sustainability chief said a policy or regulation that
makes LEDs the only option would be successful because buyers can only benefit
by buying LED bulbs. “In making a regulation, the government needs to ensure
that viable alternatives exist. This will ensure successful implementation,”
said Ghosh. Most critically, industry leaders said policy consistency over the
long term is important for a healthy transition to a low carbon future.