Start-up founders including Zerodha’s Nithin Kamath, Zomato’s Deepinder Goyal, and Ola’s Bhavish Aggarwal have backed the Green Startup Pledge started by ACT For Environment and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

The pledge is a global public commitment by startups to build and grow both economically and ecologically by integrating or transitioning to sustainable business operations, with the goal of attaining net-zero emissions by 2050.

It will be initiated with Indian startups and aims to scale globally with startups from around the world. The pledge is backed by leading venture capital funds, including Sequoia Capital, Matrix Partners and Aavishkaar Capital, among others. ACT is a non-profit philanthropy platform that started in 2020 during the first wave of Covid.

The pledge is to be launched at UNFCCC COP27 at Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt, on November 12, as well as at the Bangalore Tech Summit on November 19.

The pledge framework has been designed to be responsive to the dynamic nature of startup growth and the importance of building for the new economy. With the ability to integrate into regular business operations, the pledge is neither a distraction from their core business nor should it demand extra expenditure.

Startups committing to GSP will benefit from frameworks that are flexible, streamlined and aligned with their business operations. Reporting will be streamlined and stage-relevant. A resource platform of tools, resources and reputable vendors will be made available to support implementation, with the aim of building better from the beginning or transitioning economically.  

“We are confident that the Indian startup ecosystem will lead the transition towards a more sustainable economy, by building businesses of the future, which integrate sustainability into their core business principles. The Green Startup Pledge will drive this transition, support startups in scaling with sustainable practices, and providing resources so that India can deliver on its climate promises,” said Prashanth Prakash, Co-founder - Accel India, and a member of the board at ACT. 

“There is a strong economic argument and environmental justification for creating a climate pledge with a sustainability framework that’s tailored to the development cycles and realities of start-up operations. We believe such an initiative is fundamental to sustainable innovation as it aims to create a common platform for innovators to collaborate and leverage resources tailored to their needs,” said Anirban Mukherjee, Partner and Managing Director at BCG.

“Climate may not be top-of-mind when building a high-growth business, but it is increasingly important. Sustainability can have significant business benefits – with customers, employees, investors, on the bottom line and for the planet. Zomato has already taken pioneering steps in this direction, and we are excited about the GSP because it helps startups incorporate sustainability into core business operations in a way that builds better and delivers business results,” said Deepinder Goyal, Founder - Zomato.

“Climate change is a reality that we have to make room for. Shifting our operations to be sustainable has created value for Zerodha and the planet. We believe that the Green Startup Pledge will help other startups yield similar benefits, and in aggregate demonstrate how businesses can play a part for a more sustainable economy. The resource platform can also be a catalyst to drive the adoption of new but viable climate technologies, which is a double win,” said Nithin Kamath, Founder - Zerodha.

The Green Startup Pledge aligns with ‘net zero by 2050’ goals and related scientific measurement, feeds into the Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR), while offering streamlined reporting and a focus on sound business as the core.