Recognising the need to adapt and adopt to the changing socio-economic and political scenarios and policy developments, the India GHG Program hosted a summit on ‘The Business Case of Doing Inventories’ on January 10, 2014. The summit witnessed participation from about 98 participants from 43 businesses including – YES Bank, ACC Limited, Godrej and Boyce Manufacturing Co. Ltd., Jet Airways, Jain Irrigation, Ambuja Cement, NTPC and Mahindra. The Summit was co-hosted by CII, TERI and WRI India.
With the objective to capture the relevance and urgency for businesses to adopt a sustainable growth model, key discussions focussed around the implications of GHG management in improving business and operational efficiencies, harmonization and reporting of GHG inventories and implications of national and international policies. The key note by Mr. Jamshyd Godrej, Chairman, India GHG Program, encouraged businesses to recognize the critical issue of sustainability and adopt practices enhancing focus on GHG measurement and management. Mr. Godrej also launched the program website, an interactive platform for companies to understand finer nuances of GHG management. www.indiaghgp.org
Critical discussions and peer-to-peer learning, a hallmark of the program was evident from the industry sharing insightful experiences in capacity building and the need for standardised tools and benchmarking. The discussions involved approaches used by ACC to reduce CO2/tonne of clinker and challenges faced by Yes Bank in undertaking GHG accounting. Mr. S Raju from ACC and Mr Srinath Komarina, YES Bank, highlighted that investing and promoting in-house R&D has been the most significant factor behind their ability to reduce their footprint and also reaffirming that most of the goals set by corporates can be achieved without substantial cost implications. Mr. Manish Goswami, Jet Airways, quoting the CSR regulation in the New Companies Bill of 2013, stated that any business house’s decision to invest 2% of its earned profit in sustainability will be a strategically significant investment opportunity.
‘Harmonization and Reporting’ and ‘Policy Interventions’ formed a critical part of the interaction. Damandeep Singh, Director, CDP India, stressed on the scope of harmonization and the business case of GHG accounting stating that while CDP’s templates are widely used by other reporting initiatives, the India GHG programme can help in mobilizing corporates to report, thus providing essential learning to improvise the existing reporting template. An exemplary fact shared by Mr. Singh was of companies having reported substantial savings by adopting the practice of accounting GHG emissions and undertaking measures to reduce these through energy efficiency.
A dialogue on interactive policy engagements, moderated by Mr. Shailesh Sreedharan, had panellists – Ms Beroz Gazdar, Mahindra and Mahindra, Mr GS Gill, TERI and Ms Seema Arora, CII express their thoughts on the broad level policy drivers that would ensure an optimal growth in profitability and competitiveness of corporates and is in sync with their environmental responsibility. Panellists stressed that acknowledgement of innovation and reward for proactive corporates is important and there is a need to emphasise the importance of classic policy drivers of regulation and incentives. Public policy is driven usually by need, perception and domestic and international context of the issue at hand. While need creates a strong argument for governmental action, public perception and pressure building, both nationally and internationally, are the also major determinants for action on issues concerning public goods like the environment.
The Summit closed on an exciting note wherein, the industry acknowledged the implications and opportunities for the Indian industry on managing of GHG emissions and the program offering newer channels for corporate engagement in national response to GHG mitigation.
(Ritika Tewari, Research Associate, Centre for Global Environmental Research, Earth Sciences and Climate Change Division, TERI, made significant contributions to this blog)