• Yezdi Nagporewalla, Leadership |
3 min read

Global challenges and uncertainties have further accentuated in the last two years. Countries continue to engage in international forums with an aim to devise comprehensive strategies and advisories, to help streamline climate action activities. Moving into a greener and a more digital world, is the goal that binds the world together today. In many cases, India is at the helm of this ambitious drive. Among the many stakeholders involved in the agenda of saving the planet, businesses are key.

Going deeper with green transition

India’s proactive role in tackling the climate emergency was recently exemplified in the outcomes of the COP27 summit in Egypt and the G20 in Bali. The nation’s greening plans both at home, and on the global turf, means India Inc. will have to make ‘green’ a part of its core business.

The release of the Long-Term Low Emissions and Development Strategies (LT-LEDS) at the COP27, makes a strong case for the phasing down of all fossil fuels. Converging the policy and programme options that India has, and in the process of undertaking to transition to a low carbon net zero economy, this strategy puts forth an ambitious pathway to greening the economy. The LT-LEDS relies on several actions that are to be undertaken in different key sectors including electricity, transport, industry, urban, forestry and carbon removal technologies. Moreover, India will be at the helm of the G20 starting this December for a period of one year, focusing on climate finance, energy security and green hydrogen in the energy sector.

These dictums pose a great many responsibilities on companies operating in these sectors. They certainly set the tone for further action, which states, “when it comes to green, it’s time for all businesses to go far deeper, and not stick to the surface.”

While sustainability has already been embedded in all business processes by way of alternate fuels and processes, there is tremendous scope to further lessen the carbon footprint. Business leaders could start with shifting their supply chains toward a more decarbonized ecosystem. Involving suppliers irrespective of the size of their business can help initiate a collaborative approach to their decarbonization initiatives. At the same time reviewing internal processes, and even customer-facing elements of products and services will be essential to meet ‘greening expectations’ of all stakeholders, including employees.

Strengthening sustainable Digitalisation

For decades, and even more so in the last two years, technology has been a crucial component in streamlining all kinds of business processes. Undisputedly, every company today has evolved into a technology or technology reliant company. This should empower them to play a greater role in making things more efficient for growth and even contribute to bridging the digital divide.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic provided an unprecedented boost to the digital economy. India’s Unified Payment Interface (UPI) system is a great example of how technology can be used for the public good. Today, even those in the remotest parts of the nation can initiate financial transactions with utmost ease. Its success can be replicated in the green data centre market, which can bring revolutionary changes to the digital transformation journey of businesses across the spectrum.

Companies have several digital solutions at their disposal and the innovations will continue. Tech-enabled business solutions have the potential to further empower businesses not just for growth, but also sustainability. Furthermore, an array of AI-led analytical tools can help bring meaningful insights to data. These can be harnessed to design an impactful customer experience in sectors such as banking, insurance, and e-commerce.

A ‘green digital’ future

The pandemic has already advanced the future of work that was expected to arrive a few years down the line. It has fast-tracked the need to expedite climate mitigation plans. Taking over the G20 presidency, India plans to establish itself as a leader in the clean energy space, and to become a voice on green development and digital transformation for the global south. If India Inc. plays its cards right, and aligns its efforts in this direction, then it is certainly poised to lead the pathway to a much-needed green and digital future.

Today, India as a Nation, and businesses in India have a unique opportunity of leading the pathway to a much-needed Green and Digital future.

A version of this article was published on 19 December, 2022 by The Economic Times Online