The annual report of the Carbon Disclosure Project shows large Indian firms are more aware of what they can do to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, and are taking serious steps, as long as they can see the money or the savings at the end of the road

Infosys among top Indian firms that are doing their bit to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions (Image by Laurent Blondeau)

Infosys among top Indian firms that are doing their bit to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions (Image by Laurent Blondeau)

If you ask India’s top 200 companies to report their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions last year, 59 respond. You can see that as a cup 30% full or 70% empty.

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) has found that some of those 59 firms are doing well. Five have made it to CDP’s 2014 global leaders list. More crucial, half the responding firms “have demonstrated that it is possible to decouple business growth from carbon emissions,” says CDP’s India 200 Climate Change Report 2014.

They can do it by something as simple as energy efficiency – that much neglected feature that saves money and the world at the same time. At the report launch, Shubhajyoti Dutta of Tata Steel said the firm had made now made it a practice to audit energy use everywhere – factory and office – and driving hard on efficiency. Ajit Singh of Larsen & Toubro – a global A-lister – said his firm had reached this point by driving energy efficiency in every activity, not just of itself, but of its suppliers large and small.

In fact, that is another major step forward in this year’s report. The firms that have responded have measured the GHG emissions of their suppliers, distributors, in short the entire life cycle of their products and activities. This is crucial if the government’s Make in India mission is to transform the country into the factory of the world, but not the polluter of the world as well.

There is more good news. Firms are looking at energy efficiency technologies that have a longer payback period – two to four years.

All the firms seek a stable policy and regulatory environment, so that they know what the government wants from them. The Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) scheme has worked well so far. Now industry wants more.

The India 2014 leaders list has Wipro, Essar Oil, Tech Mahindra, Larsen & Toubro, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Steel, Infosys Limited, Tata Global Beverages, ITC, Ambuja Cements, YES Bank, IndusInd Bank, ACC, Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Chemicals, Tata Communications, Gas Authority of India Limited, Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services, Shree Cement, Indian Oil Corporation, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories and Indian Hotels Co.

While large Indian firms are moving, the small and medium enterprises remain almost a black hole, with little known of their efforts – if any – to control GHG emissions.

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