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India’s Path To Innovating For A Greener Tomorrow

“India’s commitment to the Paris Agreement is another big step in this journey. Back in 2009, India set a goal to reduce its GDP emissions intensity by 20-25 per cent by 2020 from 2005 levels, and it managed to achieve a 24 per cent reduction,” writes Sindhu Srinivas, Head of Sustainability Engineering, SAP Labs India. 

As one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing economies, India’s carbon footprint is substantial, with a considerable portion attributed to Scope 3 emissions, which encompass indirect emissions from sources such as supply chains, purchased products, transportation, and product use. India’s industrial sector is diverse and includes heavy industries such as steel, cement, chemicals, and textiles, as well as light industries such as electronics, consumer goods, and automotive. These industries rely on raw materials sourced domestically and internationally, which contribute to Scope 3 emissions through extraction, processing, and transportation. This challenge needs to be addressed, calling for an intervention to reduce the sector’s carbon footprints and ultimately to mitigate the effects of climate change.

India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) is at the core of this transformation. This plan lays out a detailed strategy for tackling climate change across various sectors. Key initiatives include the National Solar Mission, which focuses on increasing the use of renewable energy, and the Green India Mission, aimed at boosting afforestation and conserving biodiversity. And India’s commitment to the Paris Agreement is another big step in this journey. Back in 2009, India set a goal to reduce its GDP emissions intensity by 20-25 per cent by 2020 from 2005 levels, and it managed to achieve a 24 per cent reduction. Now, the country is targeting a 33-35 per cent reduction by 2030, with an ambitious aim to reach net-zero emissions by 2070. Additionally, India plans to generate 40 per cent of its electric power from non-fossil fuels by 2030 and create an extra carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent. A lot of efforts have been put into building a sustainable future, and some of the ways which are efficient in helping for a greener tomorrow include:

Disclosure of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) scope 3 emissions
With the growing emphasis on comprehensive environmental disclosure and accountability, Indian businesses are increasingly encouraged to measure, report, and ultimately reduce their scope 3 emissions. In India, thriving small and midsize businesses often face resource constraints, making it difficult to implement comprehensive tracking systems. However, innovative approaches leveraging technology and collaborative partnerships are emerging to streamline reporting processes and enhance sustainability practices.

Mandatory Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting
Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting (BRSR) is gaining traction in India to enhance corporate transparency, accountability, and sustainability performance. Introduced by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in 2020, BRSR mandates the disclosure of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) parameters by listed companies. This reporting framework encompasses a wide range of indicators, including but not limited to carbon emissions, energy efficiency, social impact, labor practices, and board diversity. BRSR’s significance in India lies in its potential to drive systemic change towards more sustainable business practices. By requiring companies to disclose their ESG performance, BRSR encourages greater awareness and understanding of environmental and social issues among stakeholders, including investors, customers, employees, and communities. Furthermore, BRSR promotes benchmarking and peer comparison, facilitating the identification of industry best practices and areas for improvement.

Circularity in manufacturing
In India’s manufacturing sector, the surge in demand brings forth resource challenges, underscoring the need for innovative business paradigms like the circular economy. This approach emphasizes resource optimization and waste reduction, aligning seamlessly with India’s quest for sustainable development. Moreover, India’s ban on single-use plastics has significantly improved environmental conditions, curbing pollution and promoting sustainable consumption patterns. By embracing circularity and regulatory measures like plastic ban, India not only addresses resource constraints but also catalyzes a paradigm shift towards a more sustainable manufacturing ecosystem, fostering long-term prosperity while preserving the environment for future generations.

Technological innovations for sustainability
At SAP, our products play a pivotal role in helping customers mitigate climate risks by integrating sustainability into their core business processes. By embedding SAP Business AI across our portfolio, we can accurately calculate carbon footprints, generate draft reports based on ESG data from SAP

Sustainability Control Tower, and facilitate better communication of sustainability value and risk mitigation for our customers. India’s journey towards environmental sustainability is marked by notable progress and promising developments. Through the adoption of sustainability standards like BRSR and leveraging innovative solutions, businesses are poised to play a pivotal role in mitigating environmental challenges and creating a more sustainable future. As India marches towards its sustainable development goals, collaboration, innovation, and concerted action will be key to realizing this vision.

About the author: The author of this article- Sindhu Srinivas is the Head of Sustainability Engineering at SAP Labs India.

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