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India: A Sustainability Superpower

By | INDIA, News | No Comments

The Government of Prime Minister Modi certainly can’t be criticized for a lack of ambition; indeed, when it comes to international policy-making and geopolitical influence, India is now up there with the best. Take last month for example, when Swedish and Indian Corporates together with leading Banks and a raft of high-powered non-governmental agencies met in Stockholm to review steps for future implementation of the Paris Climate Change Accords. India has taken its place at the top table, with an increasingly influential voice on the global stage.

It has become, in short, a Sustainability Superpower.

The Swedish talks took place against the backdrop of Nobel Memorial Week where, for obvious reasons, the future of climate change policies was high on the agenda; and there was a general  acceptance that the best place to see these policies in action is India given, in particular, that the subcontinent’s economy grew by 7.8% last year (making it the fastest growing large economy in the world). It also has one of the world’s largest populations (soon, indeed, to be the largest); and its major cities are growing at an unprecedented rate as the historically poor and impoverished population becomes increasingly urbanised and wealthy.

So the key question being asked in Stockholm last month was what cost will all of this growth bring in terms of future sustainability.

That’s not a question without its own particular difficulties in the context of the Indian economy.

For a start there is air pollution: the biggest current environmental challenge being faced on the subcontinent, with airborne particulate levels in the most densely populated of its cities frequently running twice as high as China’s worst megacities, with the root of the problem being largely attributed to historic and continuing dependence on coal-fired power generation.

This key concern was the subject of a wide-ranging discussion and debate at last month’s Conference in Sweden, which concluded (with a degree of obvious satisfaction) that whatever its historic problems might have been, India is now moving inexorably towards the full adoption of much more stringent energy efficiency policies, with renewable energy generation at their forefront.

The subcontinent is blessed with some of the highest sustained levels of sunshine on earth, perfect for solar power generation. So it should come as no surprise that it is now the world leader in solar and wind power generation technology. And getting all this power out to consumers has been high on the Government’s agenda too given that  at least 300 million people in India currently have no access to the national grid: so there is also a powerful and pressing need for the Government to make funding available so as to ensure these new resources are accessible to its population as a whole. That challenge has resulted in new funding commitments from Prime Minister Modi’s Government that would make most western governments shy away in terror.

In keeping with the scale and ambition of the Government’s hugely ambitious programme for new infrastructure investment, substantial spending plans are now being put on foot to support energy delivery, including key support for companies investing in construction projects through the new “Green Buildings” and “Smart City” initiatives.

All of which makes India a world leader in sustainability. Something the delegates in Stockholm were at pains to note.

Red Ribbon CEO, Suchit Punnose said:

Climate Change Policies were high up on the agenda in Stockholm last month during Nobel Memorial Week when top-level Indian and Swedish Governmental Officials met with Leading Companies and International Agencies to review the future of the Paris Climate Change Accords.
There was a general acceptance in Stockholm that the best place to see these policies in action is India.

The subcontinent’s economy grew by 7.8% last year (making it the fastest growing large economy in the world) and it also has one of the world’s largest populations (soon, indeed, to be the largest), with its major cities growing at an unprecedented rate as its historically rural and impoverished population becomes increasingly urbanised and wealthy. SEB, a key delegate at the conference, characterised India as a “Sustainability Superpower” In this week’s newswire, we take a look at what all that means for future sustainability on the subcontinent.

Read about Paris Climate Change Accords here

Read about Nobel Memorial Week here

Read about Smart City here

 

Power plant using renewable solar energy with sunset over the Gap in the Himalayan Mountain, Kashmir, India

Embracing the Future: Indian Business Makes Sustainability Matter

By | INDIA, News | No Comments

In August this year, former President Barak Obama fiercely criticised his successor’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords: he predicted that the decision would inevitably consign the United States to “a small handful of nations that reject the future”. But happily, as in Nature itself, Global Geopolitics abhors a vacuum too and since President Trump announced his decision in August, other nations have been stepping up to the plate by embracing a more sustainable future. And foremost amongst them is India.

This isn’t just a reflection of new environmental policies from Prime Minister Modi’s Government, although there have been plenty of those as well.

According to the Carbon Disclosure Project (a not-for-profit charity that reports on global disclosure protocols for investors looking to manage their environmental impact), Indian businesses are already focusing much more on setting emission reduction strategies and renewable energy targets so as to bring them into line with the Paris Accords. The CDP published its report on 21 October and it shows that out of the 51 Indian companies sampled (43 of which are BSE top 200 companies), no less than 80% have responded to the India Climate Change programme by implementing one or more types of emissions reduction targets and initiatives during 2017.

And that’s not all: 40% of this same sample of leading Indian companies were already implementing strategic commitments to move to renewable energy sources and reduce consumption targets; with three of them (Infosys, Tata Motors and Dalmia Cement) committing to a move to 100% renewable supplies before 2022.

The CDP Report also identifies internal carbon pricing as a significant factor in this seemingly autonomous move within Indian Industry towards Paris compliant targets. Companies on the subcontinent are part of a wholesale trend in adopting internal pricing of carbon as a tool for managing climate risk and they have increased in number from just two in 2015 to eight in 2016 and up to fourteen this year. That is a startling increase of 700% over a three-year period. These companies include some of India’s brightest and best, so their business decisions are certainly not to be taken lightly.

And how is all that likely to reflect on the future Barak Obama was so keen for the World, and Donald Trump, to embrace?

Well, if what’s happening in India at the moment is to be taken as a global model (which it should be), with industry on the ground adhering to macroeconomic policy statements targeted on a greener planet, this will inevitably create a de-carbonization level that is sufficient to keep worldwide temperature increases below two degrees Celsius (according to the same CDP Report). That has to be something worth striving for.

Red Ribbon Asset Management has been committed to the pursuit of environmentally friendly investment policies since the company was founded more than a decade ago; adopting policies that deliver above market rate returns for investors without harming our communities, our wider society or the environment on which we all depend.

Red Ribbon CEO, Suchit Punnose said:

According to the Carbon Disclosure Project, Indian businesses are now focusing much more on setting their emission reduction strategies and renewable energy targets to fall in line with the targets set by the Paris Climate Accords. No less than 80% of fifty-one companies sampled (forty three of which are BSE top 200 companies) have responded to the India Climate Change programme by implementing one or more emissions reduction targets during 2017. It all points to India taking the lead in post Donald Trump, climate change politics and we take a look at what that all means, for India and for our Planet.

Read about the Carbon Disclosure Project here

Read the CDP Report here

Read about the Paris Climate Accords here

Red Ribbon

At Red Ribbon we understand that the transition towards a resilient global economy will be led by well-governed businesses in mainstream markets, striving to reduce the environmental impact of their production processes on society at large and on the environment as well.

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