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 Climate Change

Leader Speak
Published on: Feb. 15, 2020, 9:57 a.m.
Floods and droughts in different parts of the country? Tip of the iceberg
  • Pindari ice glacier in Uttarakhand, India. Source: Wikimedia

By Jamshyd Godrej. The author is Managing Director and Chairman, Godrej & Boyce

Our family has had a deep and abiding interest in environment and sustainability. My late uncle, Sohrab, was one of the Founding Trustees of the World Wide Fund for Nature – India. Our garden industrial township – Pirojshanagar in the Eastern suburbs of Mumbai, is an example of industry in harmony with nature. We have had the privilege of protecting a large area of the mangroves, along with the Thane Creek, which is adjacent to our industrial township. We have had a deep belief in sustainable development and how responsible industrial actions can result in both economic growth and greater protection of our natural environment. Responsible stewardship of our actions is the only way forward.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has since many decades promoted energy efficiency, green buildings, water management, sustainable agriculture, among its many other pursuits. The CII Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre (CII GBC) in Hyderabad has promoted the cause of green buildings and green infrastructure. These initiatives have resulted in India having the second largest number of certified green buildings in the world.  I am personally confident that India will emerge a global leader in this area fairly soon. There are many significant interventions on energy efficiency which the CII GBC has undertaken over the years. India is already a leader in certain industrial segments and is likely to become a global leader in many industrial segments fairly soon as a result of this initiative.

India has many think-tanks and NGOs promoting environmental sustainability. My family and I have been involved in many of these. The purpose is to move policy in the direction of greater environmental and sustainable stewardship by industry. Many policy initiatives have been adopted by the government due to efforts made by these think-tanks and research groups.

The climate crisis is becoming an emergency. India is now whole-heartedly supporting the global effort to limit the global increase in temperature to less than 2 degree centigrade before the end of this century. The government, over the years, has been supportive of this and has accepted that we need to promote both economic growth and environmental sustainability equally. Every organisation, small or large in India can do a lot to support this effort. Voluntary action and innovation together with regulation can take us in the right direction.

The state of our high altitude glaciers and rivers has reached crisis proportions.  Water has to be seen as an economic good. The consumption of water and its subsequent management in the form of recycling and sewage disposal must be seen in the same way as we see energy. Industry must play its part in responsible water management and our agricultural practices must be reformed. It is amazing that we have floods and droughts at the same time in different parts of the country. This is only the tip of the iceberg.  A significant change in policy which includes mandatory charging for water at every level, recycling, reuse and adequate disclosure of water content in both industrial and agricultural products will help towards this. I have found that businesses are more than willing to support this movement and adopt climate friendly products.


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