India’s domestic landscape of corporate engagement in managing climate impacts is evolving rapidly. While there is no mandatory requirement of environmental reporting for the private sector in the country, many corporates are engaged in accounting their Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. Taking a proactive approach, many corporates, PSU’s and private players alike, have adopted ambitious absolute/emission intensity reduction targets. Much of the early movers are also clearly driven by pro-active corporate leaders as well as for enhancing global competitiveness and quality of outputs.
Government also has gradually been adopting measures which advise/mandate managing corporate footprint under responsibility of businesses towards the environment. A symbolic step in this regards was the ‘National Voluntary Guidelines for Social, Environmental and Economic Responsibility of Business’ released by Ministry of Corporate Affairs in July 2011. Four months later, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) mandated top 100 companies listed with it to annually report on their Environmental, Social and Governance initiatives as part of their Annual Report. In the beginning of 2012, Department of Telecommunications (DoT) accepted the recommendations put forward by Telecom regulator, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on greening the Telecom Sector. The adopted Carbon Credit Policy mandates the service providers to declare their carbon footprints twice a year with 2011 as the base year. It also mandates usage of renewable power in the towers covering 50% of all rural towers and 20% of the urban towers by 2015, ratcheted up to 75% and 33% respectively by 2020. In March of the same year, the much anticipated market mechanism- the Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) Scheme, was launched by the Ministry of Power. Government notified energy efficiency targets for 478 industrial units, to be achieved up to 2014-15, under the Energy Conservation Act, 2001. PAT is also a flagship mechanism under the National Mission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE), one of the 8 Missions under the country’s National Action Plan for Climate Change.
At the international level, a roadmap is being discussed to chart out the international response to limit the global mean temperature rise to 2oC for 2020 onwards. In 2012, signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in the 18th Conference of Parties (COP) decided that the second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol will extend from 2012-2020. Initial work plan of a future climate agreement, applicable post 2020 was discussed in COP 19 in Warsaw last year, to be adopted in 2015 in Paris. The decision requires countries to declare their “intended nationally determined contributions”. With many issues left for interpretation of countries, the decisions raise many questions. What might be the role of developing countries like India in the future global regime? How would the NAPCC that looks at the pre 2020 timeframe, link with the post 2020 plans? And what role and engagement does the government foresee for Indian corporates in contributing to the national effort?
The Policy Workshop is the first in the series convened by the India GHG Programme undertaken - a joint initiative of the World Resources Institute (WRI), Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). The workshop aims to facilitate exchange of information on the nuances of international and domestic policy environment and create a platform for sharing of experiences, expectations and reflections by corporates on their role in furthering national and international action on climate change.