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After Net-zero Announcement, India Must Now Move Towards Implementation: Jamshyd Godrej, Godrej & Boyce

  • Mr Godrej opens WRI India Stories to Watch 2022 to analyse major environmental and developmental issues that will shape post-Covid India
  • Funds, workforce capacity, community and corporate involvement will take India to the next level. The government can’t achieve this alone, he says
  • WRI India commemorates 10 years of working for sustainable development, low carbon economy

New Delhi, 10 February 2022: India’s COP26 commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2070 is poised to set the nation off on a path to a clean, green and sustainable economic development. Simultaneously, India is also beginning to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. Against this backdrop, World Resources Institute (WRI) India held Stories to Watch 2022: India Edition, Wednesday evening, to offer an exhaustive look at the unfolding stories that will shape India’s future.

Inaugurated by Mr Jamshyd Godrej, Chairman and Managing Director, Godrej & Boyce, Stories to Watch (STW) 2022 highlighted developing stories that are of utmost importance for India’s progress today – the journey towards climate action and the role of cities in achieving this, our renewable energy transition, the right reforms needed in agriculture and its value-chain, transitions needed in the transport sector and the efforts to secure our natural resources. Godrej made the opening remark: “From Covid to extreme weather events, we saw a plethora of disasters unfolding before us in 2021. We also saw India committing to a net-zero target and announcing 2030 targets at COP26. We must now move towards implementation. This needs sizeable funds and workforce capacity. We must aim to get everyone onboard – we need communities to play an active role and the corporate sector to take leadership. The government will not be able to do this alone, and regulation is not enough.”

Presented by Dr OP Agarwal, CEO, WRI India, STW 2022 took us through significant stories:

Climate commitments and justice: How will the nation move from climate commitments to action by involving different agencies and people and initiating community action at scale? Climate-related actions, if not managed well, can be inequitable for the poor and marginalized. For example, a shift from concentrated thermal power plants to decentralized solar will mean a shift in job locations and a change in the quality of jobs. How will the nation ensure justice while making this shift?

Renewable energy: Renewable energy accounts for 22% of the electricity generated in India. Reaching a RE generation capacity of 500 GW by 2030 and sourcing 50% of the energy requirement from such sources, calls for massive transition. Will 2022 be able to lay the foundation for a massive RE transition?

For India, this shift is essential to improve energy access in remote and under-served areas, power their hospitals, schools, homes, and small industrial units. Clean energy is at the heart of tackling inequities, improving the quality of life of rural communities and women, improving healthcare and education and facilitating a host of local economic activities that will create new jobs.

Agriculture, food diversity and the restoration economy: Agriculture is one of the most climate-vulnerable sectors. Indian agriculture faces three broad issues – it must ensure that farmers are able to earn a decent income, that production enhances the nation’s nutritional security, and the sector becomes resource-efficient and environment friendly. Can diversifying the food basket lead to climate benefits and better nutritional security? Can minimum support prices be an effective mechanism to boost crop diversity? Will the government’s budget announcement to support millet processing and marketing lead to sustainable agriculture practices? Will investment and entrepreneurship to tackle food loss support the sector?

Integrated transport, EV, green hydrogen: The government’s ‘gati shakti’ program promises to take an integrated approach for seamless multimodal connectivity in India. This will not only help in shifting demand towards cleaner modes but also to improve India’s competitiveness as an exporting nation, reduce food loss and improving farmers income. India’s EV transition will also play a large role in decarbonization and provide new job opportunities in sub-sectors. The imminent green hydrogen policy, and the production of India’s first electrolyzer Gigafactory in Bengaluru could make the nation a global green hydrogen manufacturing hub. How will this sector progress and will the incentives from it move the nation forward?

Cities for climate action: Budget 2022 proposed a high-level committee to review and recommend urban sector policies, capacity building, planning, implementation and governance. Moving away from master plans to a regional approach that integrate land use and economic activities, will become important for Indian cities. The private sector will play a role by investing in sustainable infrastructure. How can cities improve climate resilience?

Our natural resources: Our air, water and sanitation will be important stories for 2022. Dealing with air pollution requires an air-shed approach as this problem does not recognize political and administrative boundaries. Water stress is a recurring theme for India whether we are talking of electricity generation, green hydrogen, agriculture or industries. The 15th Finance Commission has recommended an INR 1.4 trillion grant to rural bodies over the next five years to improve access to water and sanitation and AMRUT 2.0 mission aims at increasing access to clean water and sanitation for urban households. How would these initiatives create a positive shift on the ground?

The presentation was followed by a discussion on India’s climate-focused, all-inclusive development mission. Highlighting the need for robust domestic and international climate finance at this juncture, Ms Moutushi Sengupta, India Director, MacArthur Foundation, said, “The awareness of climate change and its impacts have increased across several sectors and ministries today. As funders, we welcome this change. We must now expand the pool of experts and influencers who can identify and tackle these issues. We want more actors at the national and subnational level, and more domestic philanthropists to support on-ground pilots. The current international funding is insufficient to make on-ground changes.”

WRI India also announced its publication WRI India at 10: Towards a Clean, Green and Just Tomorrow to commemorate its 10th year of existence. The publication traces the organization’s evolution in its first decade – from a single urban transport project to working across relevant areas like climate change mitigation, climate adaptation, energy, sustainable cities and food, land & water. Emphasizing the importance of thinktanks to focus on climate mitigation and adaptation, Dr Ashok Khosla, Chairman, Development Alternatives Group, said, “The past 10 years have seen exponential growth and the world has changed fundamentally. WRI India is one of the key national-level institutes that can bring our country into safe harbor, before biodiversity losses, climate crisis, extreme poverty, gross inequity and resource destruction, and pollution make it too late to save our world.” He echoed the need to focus on climate resilience alongside sustainability, “Sustainability without the understanding of resilience is going to be an issue in the future.”

Other speakers at STW 2022 included Mr Aniruddha Dasgupta, President and CEO, World Resources Institute, and Mr Ravi Pandit, Co-founder and Chairman, KPIT Technologies.

Media contact:

Nitya Kaushik, WRI India: 9819902763,

About WRI India

WRI India is an Indian research organization with experts and staff who work closely with leaders to turn big ideas into action to sustain a healthy environment – the foundation of economic opportunity and human well-being. We envision an equitable and prosperous planet driven by the wise management of natural resources. We aspire to create a world where the actions of government, business and communities combine to eliminate poverty and sustain the natural environment for all people.

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