India Inc is waking up to the fact that going green can benefit not just the environment but their balance sheets as well.
An increasing number of companies are seeking the approval of United Nations (UN) to trade in carbon credits and, in order to do so, are making their workplaces greener and more cost-effective.
Trading in carbon credits is an international measure to combat global warning. The UN sets a limit to the volume of carbon dioxide a company can emit. The company gains credits if its emissions fall below the UN limit. These credits can then be sold at an international rate to other companies.
Desiccant Rotors International, suppliers of eco-friendly air conditioners, estimated that companies can earn up to Rs 20 crore a year by trading in carbon credits.
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) hopes to gain UN approval for carbon trading in the next eight months. The approval will help the corporation earn Rs 13 crore to Rs 15 crore a year and will make it the only public sector organisation in India to opt for carbon trading.
“We are waiting for our projects to be verified by the UN to begin trading in carbon credits. We already have several UN-approved projects that have cut carbon dioxide emissions by 1.2 lakh tons a year, for the next 10 years,” said A.B. Chakraborty, head of Carbon Management Group, ONGC.
Other Indian companies to apply for UN approval are Olympia Technological Park, Chennai, and Technopolis, Calcutta.
One of the eco-friendly steps taken by ONGC is the use of energy efficient cooling systems developed by Desiccant Rotors International. About 100 other businesses and organisation, including Andheri's Manke Foundation and Colaba's Gordon House Hotel, have changed over to this greener cooling mechanism.
“Not only offices, but hotels, hospitals and restaurants are switching to the green units,” said Jagdeep Singh, global business head at Desiccant.
“The benefits are three-fold: lower energy bills, reduction in greenhouse gases and earnings from trading in carbon credits,” added Singh.
Malad’s Inorbit mall, the largest in India, has also adopted energy efficient methods by teaming up with Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI).
Inorbit’s eco-friendly measures include controlled lighting and heating, using an underground tank to collect rainwater for air conditioning and covering the domes with heat-proof material, said Sanjay Prabhu, general manager, Inorbit.
Although the measures will cost Inorbit Rs 2 crore to Rs 3 crore, the mall hopes to save between 25 and 30 per cent of their energy bills - between Rs 35 lakh and Rs 40 lakh a month — within three to five years.
“While it is a step we have taken to help preserve the environment, it is also a business decision,” added Prabhu. CCI was launched in May, 2007, and it identified 40 cities across the world — including Mumbai and Delhi — that need to reduce greenhouse gases. Inorbit is CCI’s first project in India and is being carried out by energy efficiency contractors, Johnson Controls.
“With energy costs spiralling up in India, this type of projects is the way of things to come,” said Pramoda Karkal, vice-president and managing director of Johnson Controls, India.
“In terms of the city and the environment, the project will not use valuable energy from the power grid, which is required in other parts of the city. The Inorbit project can be an inspiration to hotels, commercial complexes and BPOs too,” Karkal said.