Green Crop for Corps to Reap

The Economic Times - - Breaking Ideas - Mukund Govind Ra­jan

The 21st Con­fer­ence of Par­ties (COP21), un­der the United Na­tions Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change, de­liv­ered an in­ter­na­tional agree­ment at Paris to limit fu­ture global warm­ing to un­der 2° C above pre-in­dus­trial lev­els. The Paris agree­ment was, in many ways, sym­bolic of the abil­ity of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to come to­gether in the face of a com­mon threat. With its for­mal adop­tion on Fri­day, April 22, the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity makes a sig­nif­i­cant ad­vance in its ef­forts to mount a united de­fence against global warm­ing.

As part of its In­tended Na­tion­ally De­ter­mined Con­tri­bu­tion (INDC), In­dia has an­nounced its de­ter­mi­na­tion to re­duce the emis­sions in­ten­sity of its GDP by 33-35% by 2030 from 2005 lev­els. This, and other com­mit­ments to tackle cli­mate change, need to be seen in the con­text of In­dia’s pro­por­tion­ately small con­tri­bu­tion to global green­house gas emis­sions.

De­spite hav­ing close to 20% of the world’s pop­u­la­tion, In­dia only ac­counts for 3% of his­tor­i­cal global emis­sions. And ris­ing eco­nomic growth and cre­at­ing at least 12 mil­lion jobs ev­ery year for the vast num­bers of young In­di­ans en­ter­ing the work­force will re­quire ac­cess to green­house gas-pro­duc­ing en­ergy sources.

In­dian cor­po­rates are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing first-hand the im­pact on their oper­a­tions of cli­mate change-driven nat­u­ral calami­ties, and the in­evitable emo­tional stress for their work­force. In only the last cou­ple of years, we have seen un­prece­dented calami­ties like flash floods in Ut­tarak­hand, Sri­na­gar, and most re­cently Chen- nai, with the at­ten­dant im­pacts on cor­po­rates and their abil­ity to suc­cess­fully trans­act busi­ness. At the same time, cor­po­rates also clearly see busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties in iden­ti­fy­ing spa­ces such as re­new­able en­ergy and elec­tric ve­hi­cles, where they can in­no­vate and de­velop so­lu­tions to deal with cli­mate change.

In this en­deav­our, in­dus­try col­lab­o­ra­tion on in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies, lever­ag­ing of scale, and reg­u­la­tory frame­works that sup­port in­dus­tries in their green ini­tia­tives will help to col­lec­tively catal­yse the achieve­ment of In­dia’s am­bi­tious goals.

Recog­nis­ing the value of col­lab­o­ra­tion, In­dian cor­po­rates are com­ing to­gether in in­ter­est­ing ways. A case in point is the man­ner in which ma­jor In­dian auto mak­ers such as Tata Mo­tors, Mahin­dra and Maruti Suzuki have come to­gether to in­vest in and de­velop com­po­nents and sys­tems for elec­tric and hy­brid ve­hi­cles. They will en­sure com­mon stan­dards and help drive down costs. This is ex­pected to even­tu­ally lead to lower cost of own­er­ship of th­ese ve­hi­cles.

In­dian cor­po­rates are also likely to be sig­nif­i­cantly in­flu­enced by the need to com­ply with the new cor­por- ate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity (CSR) leg­is­la­tion in the amended In­dian Com­pa­nies Act. This Act, unique in the world, re­quires cor­po­rates that meet a size and scale test to spend 2% of their net prof­its on CSR. The new CSR re­quire­ments are likely to stim­u­late col­lab­o­ra­tion in the form of pool­ing of funds by cor­po­rates, and the spend­ing of some part of th­ese on joint ini­tia­tives to ad­dress cli­mate change.

At Paris, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and French Pres­i­dent François Hol­lande un­veiled plans for the In­ter­na­tional So­lar Al­liance, con­ceived as a coali­tion of 121 so­lar re­source-rich coun­tries lying be­tween the Tropic of Can­cer and the Tropic of Capricorn. In­dia has also an­nounced its in­ten­tion of de­vel­op­ing 100 GW of so­lar ca­pac­ity by 2022, which would make it the largest so­lar power pro­ducer in the world.

More such ini­tia­tives, ag­gre­gat­ing de­mand, are likely in In­dia, in­clud­ing in ar­eas like wind and nu­clear power, and smart cities with rapid ur­ban mass tran­sit based on clean fuel.

The recog­ni­tion that ad­dress­ing chal­lenges on scale can yield sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits has also in­formed solu- tions in ar­eas like Ujala, the do­mes­tic ef­fi­cient light­ing pro­gramme. In­au­gu­rated in early 2015, the main ob­jec­tive be­hind this pro­gramme is to pro­mote en­ergy-ef­fi­cient LED light­ing for do­mes­tic con­sump­tion and bring down the cost of LED bulbs through de­mand ag­gre­ga­tion. Ujala is likely to touch the 100 mil­lion bulb­s­mark by the end of April.

For­ward-look­ing govern­ment poli­cies that en­able in­dus­tries to re­duce their en­ergy con­sump­tion are yield­ing re­sults, for in­stance, the PAT (Per­form, Achieve and Trade) and ZED (Zero Ef­fect, Zero De­fect) schemes. PAT is a mar­ket-based en­ergy ef­fi­ciency trad­ing mech­a­nism. The scheme is be­ing widened and deep­ened to in­clude more sec­tors like rail­ways, elec­tric­ity dis­tri­bu­tion and re­finer­ies in the next cy­cle, and will cover more than half the com­mer­cial en­ergy con­sumed in In­dia.

ZED, along with ‘Make in In­dia’, is an ini­tia­tive to rate small and medium in­dus­tries on pa­ram­e­ters such as qual­ity con­trol and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, pol­lu­tion con­trol and waste man­age­ment with the ZED Ma­tu­rity As­sess­ment Model.

In­dia’s mi­gra­tion to a low-car­bon growth path­way would re­quire sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial re­sources. De­liv­er­ing the com­mit­ments out­lined in the cur­rent INDC is it­self ex­pected to cost In­dia $2.5 tril­lion be­tween now and 2030. The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity will need to closely mon­i­tor the Paris Agree­ment com­mit­ments made by the de­vel­oped coun­tries and en­sure they step up their fund­ing to sup­port a faster mi­gra­tion of de­vel­op­ing coun­tries to low­car­bon growth path­ways.

Govern­ments and cor­po­rates recog­nise and ac­knowl­edge the re­al­ity of the chal­lenges they col­lec­tively face. They will need to come to­gether and de­liver on their com­mit­ments. The real work be­gins now.

The writer is brand cus­to­dian, Tata Sons

Mowgli, that’s not a power-con­sum­ing red flower, it’s a jun­gle-friendly LED bulb

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.