We are in the biggest transformative SHIFT of our times

  1. What do you see as the top three opportunities in India’s transition to net-zero emissions?

Climate action is taking centre stage as momentum builds in Indian companies, to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees and harness the opportunities that climate action will bring. According to the World Bank, transitioning to a green economy, can unlock new economic opportunities and jobs. An investment of US$1, on average, yields US$4 in benefits. The next 10 years will be an important turning point in India’s economic lifecycle. India is already the 5th largest economy in the world, with a burgeoning middle class and increasing aspirations. Sustaining this growth trajectory will mean that Indian companies need to be addressing consumer demands and also moving towards a NetZero world. This is what my book SHIFT is about. Clean energy, circularity and innovative materials will drive India’s growth trajectory. 

  • What do you think are going to be the greatest unlocks and enablers to address these opportunities?

We are in the midst of the biggest transformative shift of our times, as the twin forces of climate change and digital transformation upend life as we know it. Climate change is forcing companies to change the way we make, ship and grow things. Digital transformation is creating new horizons and yet creating new risks. For companies, that are navigating the changing systems, the writing is on the wall – change fast or become irrelevant. A new kind of leadership is needed that builds trust, is driven by values and is open to change. 

Our research reveals (Futurescape ET Edge Climate readiness rankings) that Indian Companies are only around 50% climate ready. The biggest gap seen across organizations is that companies don’t extend their decarbonization frameworks as part of their value chains. Further, companies aren’t investing sufficiently in green products and services. The ones that are focused on innovation are looking at new materials, new processes and green packaging to achieve their decarbonization targets. Additionally, NetZero is a people, process and skills transition. We can’t switch to new forms of energy without taking people along. Also sustainability and digital transformation need each other to harness the emerging opportunities. On the other hand both IT and Sustainability teams rarely speak to each other in companies. Strategic choices need to be made and organizations reconfigured to harness changing market realities.

  • What do Indian companies need to do to lead the NetZero transition?

Success can’t be measured in words, declarations and assumptions. It will be defined by actual results and looking back at the 2020’s as the decade of transformative action. There is much more to do to help leaders in politics and business understand what it really means, and what it will take to get there. Hence, while we need to take a long view we need shorter milestones that will take us to net zero by 2050. Scientists and experts have consistently said that the sooner we act, the lower will be the cost and the risk. There will be a new generation of people in corporate leadership by 2050 and the current ones may get away by only making declarations for 2050 and doing nothing at all. Hence, 2030 targets and close scrutiny on actions are the only things that will get us to net zero. India’s 5 point NetZero plant does just that. While India will reach Net Zero by 2070 the transition will begin now to achieve the short term 2030 targets that have been laid out. This will have huge impact on energy, agriculture and manufacturing as we find and promote new ways to grow and make things.

Read more : Question and Answer with Namrata Rana