The current rate of global warming is alarming, and the window of opportunity to change the course on which the world appears to be set is closing rapidly. The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called this a “Code Red for Humanity”. The target is clear. To keep global warming limited to 1.5 degrees (compared to preindustrial levels), we must strive towards a net-zero ambition and reduce CO2 by 30-50 per cent by 2030 (while other greenhouse gas emissions must also be significantly decreased), because as per UN NDC Synthesis report, all our current pledges would lead to a 10% increase in global GHG emissions by 2030 (2019 base)
Energy is responsible for about 80% of the world’s carbon emissions, as per the estimate by the International Energy Agency. To combat this and contribute to India’s recently announced COP26 ambitions, Schneider Electric is launching the Green Yodha program on 25th November to support citizens and enterprises embark on the Sustainability journey and reduce their carbon footprint by adopting energy-efficient practices. The Green Yodha program aims to build a community of eco-warriors (comprising citizens, businesses, associations, institutions, and others) who are ready to unite and take action to reduce the risks of climate change for people and the planet.
Financial Express Online spoke to Venkat Garimella, Vice President, Strategy & Sustainability, Schneider Electric India who talked about Green Yodha which is a sustainability initiative by Schneider Electric that aims to build a community of conscious citizens, businesses, and institutions to unite for a collective action towards the adoption of practices in energy efficiency, renewables and solar, automation, digitalization, and a new world of electricity to meet both individual and corporate sustainability goals. Excerpts:
Tell us about the Green Yodha initiative, its objectives and call to action for corporates?
In 2019, the global energy (power generation and demand-side energy use) related CO2 emissions were around 30Gt CO2/y. Our current pledges & commitments put the world on a 3GtCO2/y abatement by 2030, which is 10% of what we emitted in 2019 from the energy sector. To align with 1.5 deg C scenario, 3-5 times higher abatement by 2030 (30-50%), or in absolute terms 10-15GtCO2/y is needed. At Schneider Electric, we believe this is very much feasible and achievable through an All-Electric All-Digital world. The Green Yodha initiative embodies Schneider Electric’s commitment to sustainability and environment.
With the Green Yodha initiative, our objective is to help in taking all the stakeholders (organizations, institutes, enterprises, change makers, civil society) from “intent” to “action” and highlight to them, that with technology enabled through Electrification, Decarbonization, and Digitization, a net-zero world is very much possible and feasible as well. Anybody and everybody, be it an individual representing a / businesses / associations and institutions or business entity, who cares to save the planet and is ready to not just talk but act on it, is a Green Yodha. On one end, individual Green Yodhas will be given a platform to share their stories and lead by example. On the other side, Green Yodha organisations will be empowered to measure their carbon footprint with Schneider Electric’s Carbon Neutrality evaluations and take immediate corrective actions.
We understand India’s industrial map has both big companies as well as the small and medium enterprises. And that’s why, Green Yodha is not restricted to the big companies but it’s equally important for Small & Medium Enterprises. We aim to help small & medium Indian companies, leverage digitization to set achievable targets for a greener future and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.
We believe the ambition to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 would be paved through an All-Electric All-Digital world. As electricity is the most efficient vector for decarbonization; and digitization, powered by IT+OT convergence opens up newer & bigger opportunities to make installations & operations super-efficient with improved productivity. At Schneider Electric, we believe that there’s no needed arbitrage between human progress and climate change mitigation, in fact there won’t be any climate change mitigation, if it doesn’t build on human progress. We wish to empower everyone to make the most of their energy and resources, to bridge progress and sustainability, and in true sense, this is what we call as Life is ON.
Who are the people who qualify to be Green Yodha?
Anybody and everybody, be it an individual representing a / businesses / associations and institutions or business entity, who cares to save the planet and is ready to not just talk but act on it is a Green Yodha. On one end, individual Green Yodhas will be given a platform to share their stories and lead by example. On the other side, Green Yodha organisations will be empowered to measure their carbon footprint with Schneider Electric’s Carbon Neutrality evaluations and then take immediate corrective actions.
Green Yodha is not restricted to the big companies but it’s equally important for Small & Medium Enterprises. We aim to help small & medium Indian companies, leverage digitization to set achievable targets for a greener future and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. Through this initiative we aim to help our customers meet their sustainability goals by being a digital partner for efficiency and sustainability.
What is the impact that you envision through the initiative?
Through the Green Yodha program Schneider Electric in India aims to create an impact on people and the planet by raising an awakening of the role of responsible business practices to address the climate change problems that the world and India is experiencing. To support these responsible business practices, we offer a suite of IOT enabled products and solutions which can help track, monitor and measure energy consumption, help modernize infrastructure as well as offer consulting services for addressing sustainability goals of enterprises, thus resulting in improved efficiency and productivity.
We lead through our own example of digital transformation, creating carbon neutral and net zero operations in our own ecosystem. The business impact can be measured by the number of customers who come on board to join us as a Green Yodha, as well as measure our own sustainability index basis our goals.
How is Schneider Electric India looking to support businesses and communities to become sustainable?
Schneider Electric, through its sustainability strategy for customers, aims to be a digital partner for efficiency and sustainability by helping corporations to achieve their decarbonization journey. On one side we aggressively manage the decarbonization and clean electrification of our own operations, including our supply chain. On the other hand, we are also part of the solution for making our customers and communities more sustainable and efficient.
We work to reduce our clients’ carbon footprints and to address the digital and energy needs of developing communities – a value proposition unlike any other. Would also like to highlight that through our digital offerings we empower end -to-end digitisation for both big organisations and small and medium enterprises alike. At Schneider Electric, sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. We are committed towards making our industries, nations and planet more sustainable and resilient through adoption of technologies in the field of energy efficiency, renewables, and digitization, so as to create a new world that would be All-Electric All-Digital. And it’s an extremely proud moment for us to be ranked as the world’s most sustainable corporation by research company Corporate Knights this year.
While investors, customers and other stakeholders have never been more focused on ESG considerations than they are now. Schneider has long embraced those considerations and been a proactive participant in initiatives. We are fully committed to reducing the environmental impact of our business as well as that of our partners, customers, and extended supply chain. We are part of the RE100, EP100, EV100 and CE100 programs and have committed to reach carbon neutrality by 2025 and net-zero emissions by 2030, whereas for our end-to-end supply chain (including scope 3 upstream & downstream emissions), we have taken a commitment of carbon neutrality by 2040 and net-zero emissions by 2050.
Schneider Electric recently launched The Zero Carbon Project. Under the initiative, the company will partner with its top 1,000 global strategic suppliers, to halve their operations’ CO2 emissions by 2025. At Schneider Electric, our mission is to be our customers’ digital partner for Sustainability and Efficiency. Through our IoT-enabled and digital offerings (EcoStruxure), we are committed to help our customers avoid 800 million tons of CO2 emissions by 2025. India is one of the four global hubs for Schneider Electric. We are well aligned with the Govt’s vision for Make in India and continue to work towards taking India to the global stage and building a sustainable and resilient future for India through innovation.
With our complete range of green premium products, solutions and services, powered by digitization, we help businesses in their green aspirations and transform their facilities into green buildings (our complete portfolio can contribute to 15-35% of the total rating points of green building rating systems in India). Our solutions also contribute to codes & standards like ISO 50001, Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC), Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) Star Rating System, National Building Code (NBC), National Electrical Code (NEC).
For corporates and businesses targeting global sustainability initiatives, we help them commit to Renewable Energy 100 (RE100), Energy Productivity 100 (EP100), Circular Economy 100 (CE100), Electric Vehicle 100 (EV100) programs, through our complete range of products, solutions, and services. Approximately, 15% of India’s solar power installed capacity runs on Schneider Electric solutions. India’s recent commitment to have 500GW non fossil-fuel based installed power capacity by 2030 is inspiring. The country has already crossed the 150 GW milestone and is now a frontrunner in the race to arrest climate change.
With the positive developments, India still has a robust industry infrastructure with a huge energy requirement. After China and the United States, India is the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases and is still largely dependent on coal and oil. India’s energy demand is expected to rise sharply over the next decade as the economy continues its growth trajectory. Hence, it’s critical that digital technologies transform the energy landscape, creating a new generation of efficient solutions. The initiative that we are discussing today will play a key role in climate change mitigation.
What are Schneider Electric’s sustainability commitments and targets?
Schneider Electric and sustainability go a long way back. It has and will continue to be at the core of everything we do. In 2005, we were the first to monitor our impact on people, planet, and profit with an industry-leading Planet and Sustainability barometer. After 15 years, we’ve saved our customers 134 million tonnes of CO2 emissions and increased energy access to almost 30 million people, earning us the title of World’s Most Sustainable Company in Corporate Knights’ Global 100 rating. In alignment with the efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C, we need to accelerate our sustainability actions while giving more people access to energy and equal opportunities. The new Schneider Sustainability Impact (SSI) 2021-2025 program aims to do exactly that. With 6 long-term commitments, we go even further for our environment, society and economy. Backed up by 11 global targets and accompanying local targets, they pave the way for a significant dual impact. Enabling us to drive action, not just through ourselves and our partners, but also for our customers and our local communities.
Act for a climate positive world by continuously investing in and developing innovative solutions that deliver immediate and lasting decarbonization in line with our carbon pledge. Be efficient with resources by behaving responsibly and making the most of digital technology to preserve our planet. Live up to our Principles of Trust by upholding ourselves and all around us to high social, governance and ethical standards. Create equal opportunities by ensuring all employees are uniquely valued and work in an inclusive environment to develop and contribute their best. Harness the power of all generations by fostering learning, upskilling and development for each generation, paving the way for the next. Empower local communities by promoting local initiatives and enabling individuals and partners to make sustainability a reality for all. For our own operations, we are committed to reach carbon neutrality by 2025 and net-zero emissions by 2030, whereas for our end-to-end supply chain (including scope 3 upstream & downstream emissions), our objective is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040 and net-zero emissions by 2050.
What are Schneider Electric’s commitments to The Government of India’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative? How do you see digital transformation contributing towards making the Indian economy a $5 trillion economy?
With India being one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, leveraging digital transformation will fast track its vision towards an Aatmanirbhar Bharat and make the country a global manufacturing hub. We believe that the convergence of energy and digitization will open opportunities for real efficiency and sustainability. IoT and big data analytics market in India is expected to be 32% of the global market by 2025 (IoT India). Also, India is likely to create up to $1 trillion of economic value from the digital economy by 2025 (MEITY), which would contribute to 20% of India’s “$5 trillion economy” vision.
Schneider Electric is strongly aligned with the Govt’s vision for Make in India and Aatmanirbhar Bharat and continues to work towards taking India to the global stage. Our strategy and commitment to India is not for a year or two, but for a long term. We have been here for 50 years and we believe in the growth potential of India; the country is on the path to play a bigger role in the world. India indeed is a strategic growth market which is why we have leveraged our multi-hub model in the country to accelerate rebalancing and regionalization with lean at global and less remote management.
A year ago, India became Schneider Electric’s ‘fourth global hub’ for innovation, manufacturing, and creating value for customers and partners through a diverse portfolio of technologically superior products and solutions. We have played a pivotal role in the power sector supporting India’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat mandate. The opportunities have been immense in the Indian market because of twin variables of rising electricity demand due to (i) Digitisation, Urbanisation, and Industrialisation and (ii) increasing focus on renewable sources for power generation. Sustainability is the key driver here with India targeting 450 GW renewable power generation by 2030.
We have purposefully designed our approach to serve the priorities of the country through i4i and i4g and by aligning ourselves with government’s initiatives like Make in India for India Digital India, Skill India, Sustainable Energy, Smart Cities & Infrastructure to build self-reliance. With more than 31,000 employees, 30 factories, 34 distribution centers, and more than 90,000 point of sales, we have a country-wide presence in 500 cities, resulting in a strong manufacturing capability, integrated supply chain and widened range of products and technologically superior solutions for Indian customers across price points, which results in greater domestic production, reduced dependence on imports and increased employment opportunities in the country.
Our approach is purposefully designed to serve the priorities of the country by associating and aligning with government’s initiatives like Make in India for India, Digital India, Skill India, Sustainable Energy, Smart Cities & Infrastructure for self-reliance. The ‘new world of order’ as it is rightly called clearly reiterates the importance of technology and the role it can play towards achieving Aatmanirbharta, and through our digital offerings, I am confident that we are on the right path to contribute towards the nation’s economic growth. We uphold our commitment to the planet and its people through our ‘Green Yodha’ initiative that comprises a series of initiatives for environment conservation and protection, clean energy, lowering carbon emissions, rural electrification, and skill development.
As India makes the critical transition from being fossil fuel-led to renewables, we look forward to aligning with that vision and executing new projects in the green and sustainability space in future. India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and digital transformation would help India achieve Aatmanirbharta and become a $5 trillion economy.