Going Green

Reducing the carbon footprint is key to meeting sustainable development goals

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Across the world, countries are working towards moving to a net-zero emission of greenhouse gases over the next 30 years. With China, the world’s-largest carbon-emitter announcing that it will work to offset emissions by 2060, the focus has shifted to India, the third-largest emitter. The goals set out by India in the Paris Agreement are just one small step for the environment. Experts from across industries participated in a Business Today webinar on ‘Carbon Costs vs Longer Term Gains’ to highlight the challenges today, as well as the way forward.

Ravichandran Purushothaman, President, Danfoss Industries, set the discussion rolling by stating that India does not yet have a roadmap for carbon neutrality. Purushothaman suggested a carbon tax for companies. “The carbon tax will be a vehicle to motivate consumers, producers and the ecosystem. Basically every produce needs to be linked with the amount of carbon generated.” Canada and Sweden have already imposed a carbon tax on the use of fossil fuels such as coal.

Taking the discussion forward, Manish Sharma, President and CEO, Panasonic India & South Asia, pointed out that moving towards a zero-carbon world should be looked at as an investment that adds value to the economy and businesses. It is important for all stakeholders to come together to tackle the larger challenge. Over the past 18 months as the world was ravaged by the pandemic, the usage of Cloud services has made a huge difference. The use of Cloud services is only going to increase.

Ketan Patel, Managing Director, HP, pointed out that it has to be collective effort and not just policy intervention by the government. In India policy could be a complex matter. The other advantage in India is that millennials are greatly sensitive to carbon neutrality, which is very promising. SureshKumar Rathod, President, Colocation Business, CtrlS Datacenters, pointed out the need for uniformity in every aspect of policy implementation to remove ambiguity from the minds of consumers and the industry. Rathod went on to elaborate how high power consumption is the biggest issue for data centers. “If it is sustainable, half the battle is won and the carbon footprint will fall.” CtrlS has been awarded the CII award on efficient usage of energy in nine out of the 11 years since 2008.

Have we done enough on sustainable development? Economic prosperity and sustainable development are two sides of the same coin, says Ketan Patel. Today, responsible organisations are adopting green-supply chains.

While everyone talks about reducing carbon footprint, what have company boards done to move forward? One of the biggest threats to the environment comes from rising e-waste. There is a huge opportunity in digital decarbonisation. Ketan Patel pointed out how sustainable development is a long-term gain. HP is using recycled plastic parts in its laptops now.

Manish Sharma pointed out that Yuki Kusumi, the newly appointed global CEO of Panasonic, has advanced the date for the company to be carbon neutral from 2050 to 2030.

While reducing the carbon footprint does make sense, what are the options to move away from fossil fuels such as coal for a developing economy like India? In a fast-growing economy, the need for fuels, including coal, is immense. What many people do not realise is that food cultivation is a big carbon emitter since it involves usage of water, fertiliser and land. India needs to have a different path for meeting sustainable development goals.

However, companies such as Danfoss have emerged as water positive.

But, energy efficiency is a great job creator at a time when creating jobs has been a challenge for the country. India with a strong base in technology could create opportunities in digital decarbonisation in the next 20-30 years.

Business Today Editor Rajeev Dubey moderated the webinar.