India Inc tightens its carbon belt

Vishwanath Kulkarni | Updated on: Jun 04, 2011

What is common to ONGC, Asian Paints, Wipro, L&T, ACC, Sterlite and Tata Steel? They are among the large Indian firms at the forefront of monitoring their carbon footprint and taking initiatives to reduce it.

As the realities of climate change become imminent, there is a growing awareness on the need to check rising temperatures and curb emissions of greenhouse gases. Definitely, India Inc's decibel level on commitment to environment is up. Indian companies are seen proactively working on greener initiatives and becoming more vocal about their sustainability practices.

From being a regulatory or a compliance issue, sustainability has become a core business aspect. By driving energy efficiency, companies are not only looking to reduce their operational costs, but indirectly contributing to reduced emissions. Besides managing their carbon footprint, companies are also looking at water-related issues and greener habitats.

Though companies in manufacturing, mining and chemical sectors are ahead of others in adopting sustainable practices, the services sector, especially IT, has started catching up.

Sustainability initiatives help companies build trust with stakeholders, such as investors, the government, customers, employees, regulators, and the community. As Indian companies go global, overseas investors and customers are keen to know what sustainable and green practices their vendors follow.

New framework

However, there is need for a new framework to recognise the sustainability initiatives and put a market value to them. The Government's strategy to incentivise the industry through market-driven initiatives, such as emissions trading and the Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) scheme, would hasten industry's energy-efficiency drive. For India, on a rapid growth path, sustainability is a big challenge. The projected economic growth of 8-9 per cent is expected to result inenergy security gaining importance. The Expert Group on Low Carbon Growth Strategies for Inclusive Growth in a recent interim report revealed that India could reduce emissions growth by 35 per cent by 2020 over the 2005 levels, provided it gets international finance and technology. India has announced its intent to reduce emissions intensity of its GDP by 20-25 per cent between 2005 and 2020.

Further from 2015, the Government plans to consider the loss of biodiversity due to development while calculating the economic growth. An expert panel will evaluate the impact of economic growth on environment.

Published on June 04, 2011
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