Corporate India and Indian environmental institutions have a new platform to build an Indian narrative. The India Climate Collaborative.
In an major move, interesting for its India focus, besides the backers it has attracted, top Indian industrialists and entities have come together on a single platform, the India Climate Collaborative. As the name suggests, the ICC seeks to direct funding and visibility towards climate action in India . That makes a lot of sense, in a country where both are still scarce, besides an appreciation of the urgency to take action. Like the International Solar Association(ISA), which was a global push of course, the ICC could also be another step in India’s efforts to build a credible, coherent narrative around its own commitments and push for actin on climate change. Without having to follow global templates that may not really be feasible for India today.
The move to create the ICC is also a signal to the broader market possibly that a bigger shift, in terms of both acknowledging the risks and action on it, is coming in India’s approach to climate action. Bringing such a disparate group of organisations on a single platform is also clearly an effort to look at finding ways to move forward by balancing corporate imperatives with the environment, an issue where they find each other regularly at odds. In that context, it is interesting to mention here that some of the notable absentees from the list for now are the Reliance Group Firms, the Adani Group, and even the Vedanta Group, all corporate firms with some of the most notable carbon footprints and immediate environmental impact in India.
With a veritable who’s who of corporate India’s and the development sector’s most storied names behind it as members, partners and supporters, the ICC certainly doesn’t seem to lack for intent. Which should stand it in good stead for the many battles it could find itself in the middle of, soon.
For instance, the more extreme view on handling climate change calls for an accelerated phase out of coal powered energy, something India has been loathe to do, thanks both to its abundant coal reserves, a massive government machinery enmeshed in it, and of course, lack of funds to make the switch so fast.
The ICC as a concept seems to have been conceptualised in 2018. That is perhaps why, at formal launch, it has more than 45 members. These include the principal scientific advisor to the Government of India, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the Ashoka Trust for Research on Ecology & Environment (ATREE), the Centre for Policy Research (CPR), the Council on Environment, Energy & Water (CEEW), the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), the Mahindra group, Wipro, Godrej Industries, and the HUL Foundation. In effect, the whi’s who of the most influential voices on Indian environment and sustainability efforts, aligned to some of the largest corporate CSR budgets.
A programme on air pollution was announced as the first initiative. More will follow on the themes of water and land, besides other issues considered relevant to the India and ICC’s members.
The ICC also plans to conduct technical training workshops on combating climate change, besides research on how CSR can support climate mitigation efforts. The Tata Trusts, one of the most respected and largest corporate philanthropy bodies in India, have lent heft to the move, with Shloka Nath (@shlokanath), its head of sustainability and special projects joining up as Executive Director at the India Climate Collaborative. Joining her as Program Lead is Amita Ramachandran , Senior Program Lead at the Tata trusts.
Here’s hoping that the ICC can give to some home grown innovation with global impact , when it comes to the climate change challenge, which, many argue, requires an investors perspective to be solved.