For all its roaring success, India Inc has fared poorly in the first-ever green survey in the country. It lagged well behind global standards.
In fact, of the 110 biggest Indian companies, which were sent questionnaires requesting “voluntary disclosure” of their carbon emission levels, 71 did not respond. Only 13 of those who responded said they had targets to reduce their carbon emissions.
The companies were selected based on their market capitalisation, and half were big-ticket names. Indian steel and telecom sectors were found to be managing their greenhouse gas emissions better than others.
“It’s heartening to see that some companies have demonstrated the need to cut emissions, but a lot of ground needs to be covered,” said Sirish Sinha, who heads the climate energy programme of the World Wildlife Fund India, which conducted the survey. The agency works closely with the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, a scientific body affiliated to the United Nations.
The survey report will be released in Mumbai next week.
Only a small number of companies had some kind of “climate proofing” in place or felt the need to offset emission with green projects because it is not mandatory for them to do so. Offsetting “carbon footprints” means investing in green ventures to compensate for the pollution a company generates.
But 79 per cent of those who responded were aware of commercial risks arising out of climate change.
The survey included banks because they could also leave carbon footprints indirectly by investing in companies that are not environment-friendly. But only eight of the 18 banks contacted responded.