New Delhi: Government efforts are required to address external issues as busi- nesses work on their own roadmap for net zero carbon emissions, Abhyuday Jindal, the managing director of Jindal Stainless, said on Saturday.
Speaking at a panel discussion during on the fifth day of the 21st Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2023, Jindal said that the move towards sustainability is not just a regulatory compliance requirement but one that would help Indian companies have a competitive advantage globally.
“If India now wants to be globally com- petitive, we have to move very fast on this measure. It will not happen only internally. Internally, companies are already doing a lot in terms of renewable sources of energy. But government support is very important too for external factors like infrastructure cost, logistics cost, access to clean energy sources,” he said.
Jindal added that environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals are not just subjects of discussion anymore but form the need of the hour and although companies have moved well in this direction, a lot needs to be done going ahead.
Nishant Arya, vice chairman of JBM Group, said an adequate ecosystem was important for growth of sustainable and transition-related businesses to thrive. With the policy and corporate intent along with healthy liquidity flow, India, according to him, is the global hotspot for green funding.
“We are the hotspot for the global green funding because in many cases, the intent is there but the green funding is not in place,” he said.
Stressing on the need for self-reliance in the journey towards sustainability and
energy transition, Priya Agarwal Hebbar, chairperson of Hindustan Zinc & non-exec- utive director of Vedanta Ltd, said India would require about 3 billion tonne of metal to achieve its net zero target of 2070, and India could meet a large part of this require- ment from its domestic supplies by boosting the mining sector, which she said is largely unexplored.
“We need 3 billion tonne of metal for net zero. How are we going to make that happen? Do we want to spend all our money in importing all of that or are we going to do it ourselves? India is a country rich with natu- ral resources. We have over 85 natural resources and less than 20% of that has been explored,” she said.
She outlined policy measures, including 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in mining and the latest announcements of 30 critical minerals for India, which would help India in achieving self-sufficiency.
Critical and rare earth minerals including lithium and cobalt are key for energy transi- tion. They are required in batteries and other components.
Amid persistent concerns of mining being a hard-to-abate sector in terms of environmental concerns, the Hindustan Zinc chairperson further said the mining industry can be completely sustainable if the right technology is used.
“We can make energy transition happen with mining and make sure it is sustainable. Mining can be fully sustainable if the right technology is used. It’s very very important that we balance both,” Hebbar said.
Arya, of JBM Group noted that Indian companies are at the forefront of the global energy transition and on the path to becom- ing global leaders. Seeking collaboration among the industry, policymakers, acade- mia and others, he said collaboration is key for huge strides in the transition journey.
Hebbar emphasized on the relevance and significance of the ESG norms and said that it has helped make sectors like mining more inclusive and gender neutral.
On the key sustainability sectors and issues that may gain prominence going ahead, Jindal said electric mobility and the growth of a hydrogen economy would be important milestones. He emphasized that water conservation is likely to gain major focus in times ahead.