CITIZENS AND PRIVATE SECTOR CONTRIBUTION TO COMBATING CLIMATE CHANGE

 

Citizens of India are an integral part of country’s strategies to combat climate change. The Constitution of India vide Article 51-A lays down that it as a fundamental duty of every citizen to “protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures”.

 

Policies like Swachh Bharat Mission (Clean India Mission), cleaning of our rivers, achieving energy efficiency are all examples of policies which are contingent upon full participations of India’s citizens for their successful implementation.

 

In addition to being involved in Government initiatives related to climate change and resource efficiency, private sector has also embarked on a number of voluntary actions. It plays a key role in sustainable development efforts in the country, some of which are enumerated below:

1) Companies Act 2013 directs companies having a certain level of profits, to spend 2% of their annual profit on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities. Estimates indicate that a fair share of the available CSR funding of about INR 220 billion (USD 3.5 billion) annually will be invested in environment initiatives from this window.

 

2) The Indian industry has also participated in voluntary carbon disclosure programmes whereby they report their carbon management strategy and GHG emissions. Latest Report by Carbon Disclosure Project, India indicates a reduction of 165 million metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent by Indian industries. “India GHG Programme” is another voluntary programme to support development of India-specific emission factors and for corporates to measure their carbon footprints.

 

3) Indian industry has undertaken many initiatives to reduce their water consumption. A study of 100 companies over a 5 year period covering 12 sectors indicate that the Indian companies on an average have been reducing their specific water consumption by 2.8 to 3 % per year. A few companies have achieved ‘water positive’ status.

 

4) Smart Power for Environmentally-sound Economic Development (SPEED) is a program that aims at electrification of rural areas based on a decentralized renewable energy system.

 

5) India currently has about 2.68 billion sq. ft. of registered green building space across 3,000 projects (second largest in the world), of which 600 are certified and fully functional.

 

6) GreenCo Rating System is first of its kind in the world which assesses companies on their environmental performance across 10 different parameters to help them develop a roadmap to improve further.

 

7) New Ventures India (NVI) is an initiative to support cleantech entrepreneurs in developing their business plans and access finance and markets.

 

8) The Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) Cluster Programs for Energy Efficiency covers more than 150 clusters all over the country and has resulted in substantial energy saving, quality improvement and improved competitiveness. Another initiative by SIDBI (Small Industry Development Bank of India) in 500 SMEs spread over 40 industrial clusters is expected to save annually 30,000 tonnes of GHG emissions.

 

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