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Coalescing ESG’s Shared Value with Business Goals for the Creation of Net-Zero Future

India has put a lot of work into establishing robust plans and activities that are in line to accomplish sustainable growth over the past year to stand out at the top in terms of its ESG commitment. Deliberating on the collective accomplishments and navigating the road ahead toward circular sustainability, ET Edge, an initiative of The Economic Times hosted the 5th Edition of The Economic Times Global Sustainability Alliance 2nd edition of ESG & Net Zero Summit 2022 on 16th December at the Taj Land’s End, Mumbai.The summit witnessed the august gathering of industry stalwarts, leaders, and pioneers under one roof coming together to discuss the accomplishments as well as the way forward in the direction of ESG as an opportunity and Net-Zero’s future. Initiating the dialogue at the summit, Mr. Nadir Godrej, Chairman, Godrej Industries & Godrej Agrovet delivered an engaging address on ESG being a shared value and not a cost. He said “ESG is just not a cost. It’s a shared value and needs to combine with a business goal to create a sustainable world. Our goal is to ensure good health through sanitation, education, and environmental sustainability and we strive to achieve it by 2025.”Speaking on accelerating decarbonization, Mr. Godrej stated, “As we are leading the G20, which has a common policy toward decarbonization, it’s an opportunity. We need to address cost competitiveness and accelerate decarbonization.”Rajat Gupta, Senior Partner, McKinsey said, “In India, 75-80 percent of industries emit immeasurable CO2. So, it’s an opportunity for intensive decarbonization. This decade is crucial. There are 7 areas which will require work. It’s about hydrogen, material circularity, renewables, agriculture, and so on. India as a country can create around 290 billion tonnes of carbon space for the world.”The number of countries announcing pledges to accomplish Net-Zero emissions over the coming decades continues to grow. The COP27 opened a new historic milestone with financing loss and damage while laying the foundation for mitigation. Speaking on Carving a pathway to the Global Net-Zero Vision, Amb T.S. Tirumurti, Former Permanent Representative of India, United Nations said, “The context for climate action has indeed changed extensively in the past years. In midst of shifting world order, the energy crisis is accelerating at a rapid pace. While financing climate action, there is an innovative accounting.””Technology development and transfer will be crucial to meet the COP27 commitments. We have a great opportunity to build a decarbonized India. Looking at Net-Zero, Net-Zero 2050 will be a collective global effort,” he further added.Policymakers are aware of and stressing the need to conserve the environment while moving toward the next phase of growth and development and looking at the sustainable use of natural resources while making the most of the Net-Zero opportunity present in hand. Sharing his thoughts Mr. Sameer Unhale, State Mission Director, Swachh Bharat Mission, Govt. of Maharashtra said, “There is a great opportunity for collaboration and to connect with stakeholders for a collective effort towards mitigating climate change and accelerating decarbonization.”Over the years, with the efforts of the present government, India has developed itself as a key ally for global country partners to accomplish collective Net-Zero goals and fulfill their pledges made at COP27. Speaking on India’s prominence during the Country Leaders’ Dialogue, Diedrah Kelly, Consul General of Canada in Mumbai, India stated, “Canada is abundant in diversified energy sources and we are fortunate to have a good capacity in place to support India’s growing energy needs as well as help identify technologies to optimize the country’s capacity.”Achim Fabig, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Mumbai, India accentuated the long-standing relationship between Germany and India. He expressed “India and Germany go way long back in their association with green energy. We look forward to PM Modis ambitious capacity generation mission by 2040.”Among the ESG-trendsetters who were present at the event were IBM, Jindal Steel and Power, Bayer, ERM, Capgemini, Ramboll, and Corteva.Arun Biswas, Managing Partner for Sustainability Consulting, IBM Consulting Asia-Pacific stressed the need for aligning innovation and sustainability. He said, “It is important to think about the next set of innovations in terms of technology to take forward the decarbonization journey. Sustainability will necessitate enablers and products that are less carbon-intensive will be key in addressing many environmental issues.”Speaking on the need for advancement in green technology to enable energy transformation, Naveen Ahlawat, Head of Coal Gasification Projects, Green Hydrogen CCSU, Head Marketing-Coal Chemical Business, Jindal Steel & Power stated, “We aim to leverage blue hydrogen for our plant operations. There are a lot of options that are explored for the same. As for green hydrogen, availability is the need of the hour. The Indian steel industry has done a commendable job of embracing green steel manufacturing which is sustainable and holds a future that will be optimized yet sustainable. We must work in the right direction and have a long way to go.”

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