'Take to low carbon technologies'

Written by feBureau | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 20 2008, 07:49am hrs
Releasing the first ever survey of corporate India's environment consciousness, RK Pachauri, chair of the Nobel prize winner Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change, said on Friday, If we want to succeed economically, we have to move towards low carbon emitting technologies. The pioneering survey is a joint venture between The Financial Express and Emergent Ventures India (EVI).

Pachauri told a distinguished gathering of industry leaders, academics and students at Energy & Resources Institute (Teri) University here, the adverse impact of climate change is the greatest challenge of this century and the industry must has to rethink its water usage strategy so that less water intensive industrial techniques are adopted across the country.

The FE-EVI survey covers the top corporates of India as tracked by the FE 500. Releasing the result of the survey How Green is your Business, Pachauri stated that one of the ways the industry could take the environment agenda forward was to be more discerning of the usage of water.

His comments triggered an exciting panel discussion among the CEOs of some of India's leading companies across sectors. Taking Pachauri's view forward, Naina Lal Kidwai, group general manager and country head, HSBC India, said adherence to green financing norms ought to occupy more space in discussions between companies and financial institutions for financing projects.

The discussion created an immediate rapport with the large audience in the winter afternoon whose questions kept the session going way beyond the scheduled time for wrapping it up.

Besides Kidwai, the panel included Subir Raha, former chairman of Oil and Natural Gas Company (ONGC) and chairman, Team Raha Ideation Ltd, Samir

Modi, managing director, Colorbar Cosmetics, Rajdeep Sahrawat, vice-president, Nasscom, Sohinder Gill, chief executive officer, Hero Electric, Harshpati Singhania, managing director, JK Paper, K Ravi Kumar, chairman, Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd (Bhel), Mark Runacres, senior fellow, Teri and former British deputy high commissioner, Kamal Meattle, CEO, Paharpur Business Centre and Software Technology Software Incubator Park and Vinod Kala from EVI.

The debate was centered around whether there was a need for creation of more regulations for industry or to make it a bottom up approach where pressure from investor community on the industries will drive green technology.

As environmental pollution impacts large section of population, the government must have regulatory system to deal with such violation, Mark Runacres, said. The statement prompted Kamal Meattle to say that in the name of regulation government must not interfere in the industry affairs.

However, there was unanimity in the panel that companies must take up environmentally sustainable manufacturing process as it makes prudent business sense in the long run. Despite acknowledging the adverse impact of high carbon emitting industrial activities, many companies still consider environmental protection as only CSR activities or public relations exercises, Subir Raha said.