By Juby John
Edited by Madhavi Roy, Senior Editor, The Indian Economist
There was a time when the Cree Indians used to say,
“Only when the last tree has been cut down,
Only when the last river has been poisoned,
Only when the last fish has been caught,
Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.”
‘Green Economy’ is the latest buzzword. At a time when most of the world economies are diverting their route towards eco-friendly processes and operations, five Indian companies have been named among the global ‘A’ list of green firms.
Essar oil, Larsen and Turbo, Tech Mahindra, Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro have made it to the list of CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) Climate Performance Leadership Index 2014 along with other 182 companies from across the globe. This new global index prepared by CDP – an international not-for-profit organization- awarded an ‘A’ grade to the companies listed by them who now earn a position on the first global ranking of corporate efforts to mitigate climate change.
With the escalating global carbon footprint intertwined with the environmental damage caused by industry toxins and emissions, most of this world has realised the need for ‘going green’. It may be unusual to talk about green growth, which requires a fundamental shift from the ‘only money matters’ economy at a time when the key factor lies in ‘booming’ our sectors to accommodate more people and thus, eradicating poverty. Albeit, it will be worthwhile to look at the options of stimulating growth in a way which is more sustainable and inclusive – in other words, a green economy. Nonetheless, some of our firms have realized it and hence comes this good news.
There are a lot of incentives for the firms to go green. Using green technology in the workplace creates a healthy environment for employees, leads to the reduction of unnecessary wastage and above all, benefits the firm in the long run. It also has many practical advantages. A good example is the state of California, which has reduced the emissions allowances, so companies like FedEx and General Electric have incorporated green technology in order to reduce emissions and comply with state standards. Tax credit and incentives at the state level are also available. The first thing to take note of is that a low carbon future doesn’t necessarily mean a low profit.
Paul Samson, Chief Executive Officer of CDP said, “The businesses that have made onto our first ever global list of Climate Performance Leaders are to be congratulated for their progress; they debunk economic arguments against reducing emissions. However, global emissions continue to rise at an alarming rate. Businesses and governments must raise their climate ambition.”
The move towards a green economy needs to be a collective effort. The various stakeholders of our economy, which includes producers, investors, the government, politicians and consumers need to realize this. With our new government exploring methods to walk on a low carbon growth path, green economy seems to be our future. Indian companies have also enhanced their commitment to climate change action in order to drive innovative sustainable processes.
The India 2014 report titled “Indian companies decouple business growth from carbon emissions” revealed that energy efficiency is the key means by which companies are acting on climate change. This report analysed responses from the top 200 Indian companies by market capitalization and concluded that the companies are now better at identifying and prioritizing climate change issues.
Indian firms are in fact eager to engage with our new government to work towards ‘greening our economy’ in order to have a competitive advantage and maintain the brand value. Surely, let us move up this ladder since the countries which win this green race are definitely going to do well in future.