With industry support, by 2030, – India can achieve 500GW renewable energy capacity and domestically manufacture 5MT of green hydrogen : Ashwini Kumar Choubey

New Delhi : Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change & Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Government of India stated that India has clearly showcased its global leadership on addressing the issue of Climate Change. Referring to recent initiatives such as One Sun, One World, One Grid, the National Logistics Policy, the National Hydrogen Mission – he mentioned India had taken strong steps towards achieving a sustainable future and its goals of achieving net-zero by 2070. He was speaking at the Inaugural Session of the 17th Sustainability Summit organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry on 21 September 2022, at New Delhi.

Congratulating CII on the launch of the CII Climate Action Charter, the Minister mentioned that the theme of the Summit was a timely and appropriate one as it was crucial that climate-related risks and opportunities are identified and studied. The Minister mentioned that while pursuing a net-zero future, it would be important for India to balance issues of just transition, social inequity, resource security and economic growth.

In order for India to achieve a 5 trillion USD economy, we need to develop and pursue developmental pathways that can not only address issues of climate change but also socio-economic issues. The Minister shared his hopes that the deliberations at the Summit would be helpful in charting these pathways for the future.

Shri Sudhanshu Pandey, Secretary, Department of Food and Public Distribution, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution mentioned that climate change is no longer an academic issue and that all stakeholders need to work together to deal with an issue that threatens the existence of the planet. India’s global leadership in addressing climate change is very much in line with its heritage of respecting the environment and natural resources and flora/fauna. He mentioned that 4 key issues post-pandemic recovery have been food, fuel, fertilizer and finance. Highlighting the Government of India’s 100B $ food subsidy to its citizens during pandemic, Shri Pandey stated that this effort has had a very positive impact on the nation’s recovery. Shri Pandey estimates that agriculture procurement will be more than last year and that the Government of India is committed to addressing food security issues in the country.

The Secretary mentioned that a major element of achieving sustainability goals will be through public-private partnerships. Pooling public and private academic, financial and technical resources will be required to address climate-related issues. Initiatives taken by Indian industry to address sustainability need to be scaled up and Government needs to play a catalytic and facilitating role. Government schemes and programs need to be dovetailed with private sustainability initiatives.

Launching the CII Climate Action Charter, Mr Sanjiv Puri, Vice President, CII, Chairman and Managing Director, ITC Limited,  and Chairman, Advisory Council of CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development stated that the initiative focuses on driving corporate climate action in India. The Charter represents a commitment by over 50 Indian businesses to the principles of acting towards reducing GHG emissions, supporting transitions in the value chain, building resilience to climate-related impacts and mobilizing climate finance.

Highlighting the extreme weather events around the world and their impacts on supply chains, food security and livelihoods, Mr. Puri stated that climate adaptation and resilience must receive more attention. Financing for climate change must have equal focus on mitigation and adaptation projects. Sharing some of ITC’s efforts towards integrating circular economy, renewable energy and emissions reduction in their operations as well as ongoing initiatives addressing sustainable livelihood generation and water stewardship, Mr. Puri mentioned that enterprises have a responsibility to embed societal value creation and sustainability at the heart of their business strategy.

Ms Seema Arora, Deputy Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry, in her opening remarks, stated that as India completes 75 years of independence, the country finds itself in geopolitical and global socio-economic environment that gains complexity with the overlay of climate change imperatives and technological changes. Remarkable opportunities are presenting themselves amidst these challenges and India has strong potential to become a global leader on several fronts. Lauding the Government of India’s ongoing efforts in addressing climate change, social upliftment and inclusion, Ms Arora highlighted five key areas of collaboration for the CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development with the Government – creating enabling frameworks for quick adoption of climate technology, scaling up research and action on climate change adaptation and resilience, greater emphasis on sustainable lifestyles, mobilizing domestic and international funds to implement climate action and addressing issues of just transition, green jobs and social inequity.

The Sustainability Summit is the annual flagship event of the Confederation of Indian Industry in sustainability, launched in 2006 to raise the bar of dialogue, practice, and performance of sustainable business. The 17th Sustainability Summit, Building a Sustainable Tomorrow: Transforming Risks into Opportunities will build discussions on innovative approaches for businesses, governments, and institutions to address risks and opportunities in an integrated way that will build the foundation for a sustainable tomorrow.

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