As companies are making significant progress toward adopting renewable forms of energy, India Inc. needs to sharpen its focus on the larger ecosystem of decarbonizing businesses rather than focusing solely on using green energy, according to Anish Shah, managing director and chief executive officer of Mahindra group.
“Everything we’ve done thus far has been to green ourselves but we must go further and decarbonize sectors,” Shah said on Friday at the Climate Tech Convening India event in Mumbai, organised by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a non-profit organisation based in the United States.
“For example, a typical automobile will create 35 tonnes of carbon throughout its lifetime. Considering an EV (electric vehicle) will emit 27 tonnes of CO2 during its lifespan. That is hardly a significant difference. The product alone is insufficient; the concern is where the energy comes from. It is 27 tonnes for an EV because the energy source is still primarily fossil. If we use only renewable energy, it will be seven tonnes. So he explained that we still have to deal with the remaining seven tonnes of steel, transportation, which requires an ecosystem-based approach,” he explained.
Shah also stated that the Mahindra Group recently created India’s first residential net zero carbon neighbourhood as part of its decarbonization initiatives.
“We’re thinking about whether we can commit to a deadline by which every single project we launch will be net zero carbon,” he continued.
Shah expressed that the idea that money and sustainability are mutually contradictory is a lie.
“What we’ve seen is that what’s good for the planet is also excellent for business, and not only in terms of IRRs (internal rate of returns) from the project. It’s also the consumers you attract, the brand you establish, and the ecology that surrounds it,” he explained.
Sanjiv Mehta, managing director and CEO of Hindustan Unilever and president of industry association Ficci, said it is necessary to speed the development of climate technologies while simultaneously improving access to capital to stimulate technical innovation.
“It is critical to speed technological development and access to funding. We must act with the same haste that was demonstrated in the worldwide covid-19 vaccination deployment and accompanying technology transfer. The industry should invest more in R&D. We require more collaboration between governments, business, research groups, and investors” Mehta said. He stated that technological leapfrogs occur and that economies of scale may be fairly substantial in green technology. We know that company investments in renewable transition—both Capex and Opex—pay off in 3-5 years. This is not currently the situation in many regions. However, less than 5 years ago, this was not the situation with renewables” Mehta continued.
EDF executive director Amanda Leland stated that India is well-positioned to disentangle emissions from growth. “India understands what is at stake, and significant and credible effort is being done today to achieve ambitious goals.” The strategic and economic argument for sustainable development is widely accepted” Leland remarked.
“India is a fertile field for innovation, with entrepreneurs and investors seeing the value proposition of hastening India’s transition to a clean economy and there are obviously high-impact choices available to investors throughout the risk spectrum in India. An ecosystem of innovation, technology, and money would assist India in making significant headway against climate change” she stated.
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