India Inc rises to take on green challenge
Even as the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC – COP27) is underway in Egypt, India is well committed to embrace sustainability across industries, with a number of targets to making environmental sustainability and net-zero emissions achievable.
“Business is not only an indispensable partner in achieving sustainable growth, it is the primary engine to get there — both through behaviour change and with resources far exceeding government budgets. The private sector is central to driving ambitious national climate targets. The UN prioritises partnership with businesses of all sizes and in all sectors across India to achieve the national climate agenda,” said Shombi Sharp, UN resident coordinator in India.
Mintel’s Global Consumer Trends for 2023 suggest consumer behavior around intentional spending is influenced by factors like flexibility, durability and sustainability. It adds that 48% of Indian consumers agree that companies can do more than governments to change the world. And the corporate world is well aligned to achieve their targets as businesses start moving from pledges and promises to action and disclosures.
Ernst & Young’s expected outcomes from COP27 include an action plan on visibility of deployment of $100 billion per year, provide a distinct roadmap for additional finance for ‘loss & damage’ and rejuvenating the carbon market with a result-oriented work plan. “Diversity, equity and inclusion will help apply innovative thinking,” said Chaitanya Kalia, partner & national leader, climate change & sustainability services, EY India.
Global financial institutions like JP Morgan’s strategy include financing and investment solutions to help accelerate transition to a low-carbon, sustainable economy. JPMorgan Chase has set a target to finance and facilitate more than $2.5 trillion by the end of 2030 to advance long-term solutions that address climate change.
“In 2021, JPMorgan Chase facilitated more than $100 billion for green activities like renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable transportation, doubled our green investment banking activity and was the largest underwriter of green bonds. We help mobilise capital to reduce carbon intensity in oil and gas, electric power and auto manufacturing portfolios by 2030. We helped Indian issuers raise over $7.2 billion across green, social, sustainable and sustainability-linked bonds (SLB) issuances in 2021. We led India’s first SLB with a $400-million note for Ultratech Cement in 2021. This year, we have led three transactions in 2022 YTD, including Shriram Transport’s $475-million social bond, India clean energy’s $400-million green bond and Greenko Energy’s $750-million green bond,” said Kaustubh Kulkarni, senior country officer – India and vice-chairman, Asia Pacific, JP Morgan.
As part of managing indirect climate risks, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance launched an ESG-focused fund named ‘ICICI Prudential Sustainable Equity Fund’ last year. “As the first Indian insurance company to become a signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI), our commitment and ESG considerations is now an integral part of the investment framework. We saved 6,748 tonne of carbon footprint from FY2020 to FY2022 through initiatives directed at reducing energy consumption, water conservation and waste management,” said Judhajit Das, chief human resources officer, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance.
The construction sector in India accounts for over 22% of yearly CO2 emissions from the overall Indian economy. Construction-related emissions can be reduced with the use of prefabricated components, and recyclable/reusable building materials. “Prefabrication has transformed the global construction sector to build structures and facilitated its evolution. India has a target of accomplishing net-z