Net Zero Ambitions in Indian Companies: Learning from International Experience
The dire implications of climate change are becoming increasingly clear, and businesses globally are responding by committing to the ambition of becoming net-zero companies. This means working towards eliminating their greenhouse gas emissions, and any emissions that cannot be avoided are offset through investments in projects that sequester an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs). This approach is more comprehensive than simply achieving carbon neutrality, as it takes into account all GHGs, not just carbon dioxide.
India, with its rapidly growing economy, has numerous companies that stand to benefit from defining their net-zero goals. Not only would this contribute to the global fight against climate change, but it would also improve their business sustainability in the long run. This article will explore the relevance of net zero for Indian companies, examples of firms that have already defined their net-zero goals, and the lessons they can learn from international counterparts.
Relevance of Net Zero for Indian Companies
Companies globally and in India can no longer ignore their environmental impact. Stakeholders, including customers, investors, and employees, are increasingly holding companies accountable for their environmental footprint. A clear commitment to net-zero emissions sends a strong message about a company’s sustainability ambitions, which can improve stakeholder relations and potentially open up new market opportunities.
Moreover, transitioning to low-carbon operations can result in operational efficiency gains. By optimizing resource use and reducing waste, companies can realize significant cost savings. Further, innovating for low-carbon products can drive competitiveness in an increasingly environmentally conscious market.
Indian Companies Taking the Lead
Several Indian companies have taken proactive steps towards defining their net-zero targets. Conglomerate Mahindra Group has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2040. The company is implementing energy efficiency measures, increasing its renewable energy usage, and investing in new technologies and carbon offset projects to achieve this goal.
ITC, a multinational conglomerate, has also pledged to meet 100% of its purchased grid electricity requirements from renewable sources by 2030. ITC is working on emission reduction through various initiatives, including afforestation, improving the energy efficiency of its operations, and harnessing renewable energy.
Learning from International Experience
Indian companies can draw valuable lessons from international businesses that are leading the way in the net-zero transition. One such company is Unilever, which has committed to net-zero emissions from all its products by 2039. The company’s strategy includes innovation in product formulations, reducing the carbon footprint of raw materials, and transitioning to renewable energy sources.
Another is Microsoft, which has committed to being carbon negative by 2030. The tech giant is planning to do this by improving the energy efficiency of its operations, transitioning to renewable energy, and using technologies to capture and store carbon.
The lessons for Indian companies from these examples include:
- Comprehensive Approach: Addressing GHG emissions requires a comprehensive strategy that covers all aspects of the business – from supply chains and operations to products and services.
- Collaboration: Working with suppliers, partners, and even competitors can accelerate the transition to low-carbon operations and products.
- Innovation: Technological innovation will be key to achieving net-zero targets. This could include investing in renewable energy, carbon capture and storage technologies, and low-carbon product innovations.
- Setting Ambitious Targets: Committing to ambitious and time-bound net-zero targets provides a clear direction for the company and signals the company’s commitment to stakeholders.
The journey towards net-zero emissions is a challenging yet necessary one. Indian companies have a unique opportunity to learn from international peers and chart their own path to sustainable and resilient growth. The benefits of this journey, both for the planet and for the businesses themselves, make the endeavor a worthy one.