Prabhu, Goyal and Pradhan to address Third Business and Climate Summit 2017

Three union ministers — Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines Piyush Goyal and Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan — have confirmed their participation in the two-day Business and Climate Summit (BCS) that will be held here between August 31 and September 1.

Given that renewable energy, oil and gas and railways have a huge thrust on low carbon initiatives, the presence of these three ministers at the summit has huge significance, said the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) today.

It said the two-day summit will host high-level deliberations to voice messages from businesses, demonstrating current business actions around climate change, and emphasizing future vision for low carbon trajectory.

The BCS was launched in France in 2015. The second edition of BCS was held in London in 2016. The third edition of BCS is being held in India for the first time to showcase the voice and engagement of Indian industry in the global cause of climate change.The BCS is held every year in different countries for building partnerships needed to accelerate the low carbon transition.

The third edition of BCS will bring together top business conglomerates, investors, national and international policymakers from different countries to amplify the key policy messages prior to UNFCCC COP23. The Summit will have more than 75 high-profile speakers from around the world, comprising 34 CEOs of top companies, 6 ministers and other high-level representatives of governments, international agencies, global climate-related organizations with participation from more than 15 countries and representing over 30 sectors of the economy.

Partners of BCS 2017 include International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and We Mean Business (WMB) as Core Partners, EpE (France) as the Supporting Partner and AfeP (France), Cercle de l’Industrie, FIDIC, Global Compact France (GCF) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) as Special Partners.

The summit will build on partnerships needed to scale up and accelerate the low carbon transition. It will essentially bind the discussions around ?government holds the key; business brings the solution?.

The BCS is the leading annual forum for businesses, investors and policymakers on climate action. It is where business and governments will come together to agree on a roadmap for reaching net zero emissions over the next half century.

It will provide the platform for business to turn commitments into real action and look at how they take advantage of a swift transition to a low carbon economy while reducing the risk of climate change.

Dr A Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI; Naina Lal Kidwai, Past President, FICCI and Chair, Steering Committee; Dr. Mukund Rajan, Chairman, FICCI Environment Committee and Chief Ethics Officer and Chairman, Tata Global Sustainability Council, opined their views around the expectations from this Global Climate Summit on how business and government can collaborate to create new partnerships for low carbon growth. Focused discussions are slated to be held around some of the major themes of BCS such as Mobilizing Finance for Climate Action; Innovation in Technology and Business Models for Mitigation, Emerging Scenario for Carbon Market; Urban Environment & Cities; Collaborative Approaches for Energy Access and Energy Security, Creating Markets for Wastewater, Solid Waste and Sanitation; Foregrounding Adaptation in Climate Change Action and jobs in low carbon spaces.

Naina Lal Kidwai, Past President, FICCI and Chair, Steering Committee, highlighted that it is an honor for FICCI to host the Business and Climate Summit, which is happening for the first time in an emerging market economy, like India. It is in fact that the Summit is a great opportunity for India to showcase their actions on climate change to the rest of the world. It will also provide opportunities to other countries in Africa and Asia for replicating and scaling up Indian business action in the space climate change mitigation and adaption.

Kidwai also spoke about the various themes at BCS that garner significance for businesses and Industry to capitalize on opportunities that will be thrown at them in this transition to a low carbon economy. Paris Agreement, itself talks about the pivotal role that non state actors are required to play to implement the climate goals in the Paris Agreement. She emphasized the sessions on spatial planning, clean energy, and creating markers for solid waste, water and sanitation will further open the doors for private participation.

She said that ?Government is key, however we cannot be where we want to be without business cooperation?. She also spoke about the need for regulations and ensuring compliance to policies is very important for corporate engagement in areas of energy efficiency, emissions and effluent control and the need to develop incentives for enhanced participation of SMEs. She emphasized on the role of governments to create ecosystems to enable private sector to participate in low carbon spaces

Dr Mukund Rajan, Chairman, FICCI Environment Committee and Chief Ethics Officer & Chairman, Tata Global Sustainability Council, stated that we are delighted to host BCS in India as India is at the center of global debate for sustainability. He further shared the corporate perspective on climate change bringing in experiences from Tata group. He spoke about corporate sustainability stressing that protocols are being created for evaluating the environmental and social capital. Presently 2% of net profit of companies is spent on CSR initiatives. He also emphasized that circular economy, which aims to create markets for waste and their efficient utilization is gaining traction among Indian businesses.

He quoted the example of Indian steel industries, which is planning to reduce emissions by 20% next year and 50% by the next three years. Speaking about creation of skills in the low carbon space, he insisted the industries solar, drip irrigation and Electric Vehicles has significant opportunities that can be deployed in the market in the next few years. He thanked the media for pushing the significance of transparency, compliance and disclosures by companies, which as a co benefit has empowered consumers to make right decisions to buy products that align with their lifestyle and value system. As an overall impact, leading companies are placing sustainability into their heart of businesses which will be explored in detail during the Business Climate Summit.

In the context of Climate Change, India?s trajectory to tackling climate change will need to be balanced with our development needs. India still consumes only 25 GW joules of energy, which is about 1/4th of what the other developed nations consume, hence this needs to be highlighted with respect to India?s commitment towards climate action.

He listed the pressure of rising population on environment due to urbanization, which has been witnessed in the form of reaching earth ecological overshoot day, sooner than predicted. While answering media queries on carbon tax. He stated that carbon tax may not always be the solution relevant to tackle climate change, for example, it is not relevant in the case of carbon capture and storage. Taxation applicable when there is a surplus. Corporates are looking at internal carbon pricing as a means to look at future when price of fuel increases. There have been outstanding commitments by the developed countries on finance under the multilateral forum of UNFCCC, for instance the USD 100 billion per year by 2020. There is a need to find mechanisms to increase the flow of funds from developed to developing countries.

Dr. A Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI, stated that FICCI has been working on the environment sector for many years. For the first time BCS is being held in Asia and FICCI has been chosen to host the Business and Climate Summit, which is a matter for great pride and honor. FICCI supports Indian Prime Minister?s commitment on climate change. He emphasized that the private has a great role to innovate in the climate space and assume that responsibilities and opportunities that come with transition towards a low carbon economy.

Ms Rita Roy Choudhury, Assistant Secretary General, FICCI, spoke about the key themes of BCS and informed that BCS will stress on the importance of creating markets and bring in more private investments through enabling frameworks. Creation of markets in the areas of waste, energy will contribute significantly towards carbon mitigation.

She said it is important to highlight the positive stories of business action on climate change. What gets known are corporate initiatives under government programmes and schemes. We need to look at what companies are doing outside government programmes and schemes, of their own. BCS will be a great platform to document such business actions. While there are good stories of what big corporates are doing, it will be important to not only talk about what SMEs need, but also highlight the transformative business models that private sector is embarking on its own in uncharted territories and remote areas, be it in areas such as renewable energy mini grids, urban wastewater, waste management. Such models can be scaled up as well as replicated not just across India but also around the world. She also announced that BCS will have 34 CEOs from global companies and six Ministers as speakers in the Summit. It will garner participation of companies covering more than 30 sectors of the economy. There is participation of organisations which come from more than 15 countries, who will gather together to voice their messages and vision on climate change action, and share their experiences, the challenges surmounted and the opportunities they see from climate change mitigation and adaptation.