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Scaling Sustainability: How Indian Inc Walking the ESG Road Speaking at the Entrepreneur 2023 summit in New Delhi, panelists from Havells India, Tamara Leisure Experiences, CBRE India, Godrej Industries, shared insights into the various sustainability initiatives the companies are taking.

By Shrabona Ghosh

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Sambitosh Mohapatra, PwC India; Ramnath Vaidyanathan, Godrej Industries Ltd. & Associate Companies; Nitin Singh, Havells India; Dhwani Talati Padiyar, CBRE, and Shruti Shibulal, Tamara Leisure Experiences

With the climate change movement gaining momentum, sustainability reporting frameworks have evolved over time and companies worldwide have adopted these frameworks for measuring, monitoring and disclosing performance in areas related to environmental, social and governance (ESG). While climate change affects business and communities it impacts the developing countries the most and they face the challenges of dealing with the consequences.

ESG reporting in India started in 2009 with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) issuing the voluntary guidelines on Corporate Social Responsibility as the first step towards mainstreaming the concept of business responsibility. Since then, the reporting landscape has come a long way.

Speaking at the Entrepreneur 2023 summit in New Delhi, panelists from Havells India, Tamara Leisure Experiences, CBRE India, Godrej Industries, shared insights into the various sustainability initiatives the companies are taking. "By 2030, India is aiming to reduce the carbon intensity of its GDP by 45 per cent. About 75 per cent are willing to pay more or switch to sustainable products," said Sambitosh Mohapatra, partner, ESG Leader, PwC India, setting the context for the discussion.

Havells India is focussed on delivering powerful, sustainable and energy efficient solutions. In order to sustain growth, it is working towards innovative practices in daily operations while fulfilling socio-environmental obligations. In its pursuit, it has started working towards identifying and implementing systems and processes for ensuring a sustainable future. "The term ESG was coined in 2006. Havell's first report was published way back in 2012, we have always been serious in terms of the difference we want to make. One of our key developments since 2015 has been about energy efficiency, 30 per cent of our energy emissions needs are met by solar plants. And we have aggressive plans to actually double it to a hundred per cent in the next, three-four years," said Nitin Singh, Vice President and Head - Corporate Sustainability, Havells India.

Similarly, Godrej Industries, in 2010 had set up Good & Green, to meet its sustainability vision. "We laid out our sustainability vision that made us look inward at our operations and processes, and outwards at our ecosystems, supply chain and communities. When it comes to sustainability, mindset change is really important. Things like carbon pricing, water pricing, and internal water price are practical, tangible tools to really drive a strong ESG agenda," said Ramnath Vaidyanathan, VP & Head-Environmental Sustainability, Godrej Industries Ltd. & Associate Companies

Godrej Industries aims to reduce CO2 emissions, improve environmental protection, improve quality of life and offer profitable Solutions to the market.

Sidestepping the status quo of ecologically damaging construction, high consumption and excessive waste, synonymous with traditional hospitality practices,Tamara Leisure Experiences, under its CEO & director, Shruti Shibulal, has cultivated a sustainability safety net. She synthesized responsible practices with organizational culture, embedding environmentally, socially and economically sound policies. Rainwater harvesting, energy efficiency, waste management, eco-sensitive design, wildlife preservation, climate change mitigation, women empowerment, among others are some of her social and environmental initiatives. "It has not been as challenging as you may think to drive the idea of sustainability through the DNA of our organization. India is a culturally conscious nation, so most of us are innately committed to and comfortable with sustainable practices," said Shruti.

Green real estate assets in India have increased rapidly over the past ten years, with their share of the total office stock rising from 24 percent in 2011 to 31 percent in 2021. According to a study by global real estate advisor CBRE, the number of green real estate assets, or buildings that are ESG (environmental, social, governance) compliant, available in India has increased by 37 percent over the past five years as developers push harder to achieve sustainability goals. "ESG practices need to be addressed more holistically. When it comes to efficiencies, compared to conventional buildings, 20 to 30 per cent of energy saving is an ask from consumers, people are conscious and are moving towards a change," said Dhwani Talati Padiyar, director, head of ESG and sustainability consultancy, CBRE.

Shrabona Ghosh


A journalist with a cosmopolitan mindset. I lead a project called 'Corporate Innovations' wherein I cover corporates across verticals and try to tell stories on innovations. Apart from this, I write industry pieces on FMCGs, auto, aviation, 5G and defense. 
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