Greta Thunberg tells Davos that we have less than eight years to save the planet. Even at one degree rise in global temperatures, people are dying from the impacts of climate change, think about 2+ degree scenario. This must raise serious alarms and act, we must! Act to change behaviors, lifestyles, use of energy, resources, ways of producing food and urbanizing our lives. And in the pursuit of this also bring millions out of poverty, provide food, healthcare, sanitation and housing to all and protect ecological biodiversity, which supports the planetary systems. Business has a big role to play and when we talk about Sustainability for businesses, we must realize that it has also become a need to not about just saving the planet but saving themselves in pursuit to make the planet a better place to live.
At the COP21 in Paris, the Paris agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were agreed by its respective parties and members across the globe. They set the targets for our world to respond to climate change, hunger, poverty, development, livelihoods, planetary species etc. With timelines and targets, both ‘The Global Goals’ and ‘The Paris Agreement’ have a contribution and a role in demanding from every one of us in the 21st Century. Businesses now could not afford to turn a blind eye on them.
At Mahindra Group, we have a concrete definition on Sustainability, which brings clarity and gives us a direction: “Building enduring businesses by rejuvenating environment and enabling stakeholders to rise.”
This Sustainability definition, along with the framework, is also helping us to draw connections and define our role in the mammoth task of achieving 169 targets of 17 SDGs.
Under the specific focus area of rejuvenating the environment in our framework, we have set an objective to become a Carbon Neutrality Group by 2040. When 20 Mahindra group companies became signatories to the science-based targets initiative, we set a clear pathway for reducing the emissions in line with the goal of limiting global warming to below 2°C pre-industrial levels, and now, as part of the step up challenge, we have committed to set a trajectory which aligns with IPCC ambition for the world to become net-zero by 2050.
All these commitments will help companies on their path towards becoming carbon neutral. Out of 20 Mahindra Group companies, 11 have already got their targets approved, and they intend to achieve these targets by increasing energy efficiency and use more renewable energy as their power source. Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd. was also the first Indian company to announce its internal Carbon Price of $10/per carbon emitted, which will help it work towards the carbon neutrality path.
Parallel to the strong commitments to make business and its operations green, the Group has ventured into businesses, which are banking on the opportunities to mitigate as well as adapt to the effects of climate change. With India’s largest portfolio of electric vehicles, Mahindra Electric is changing the dynamics of mobility and helping to decarbonize the use phase. As a pioneer developer of green homes in India, Mahindra Lifespaces is driven by the mission of Sustainable Urbanization. Our renewable energy company by the name Mahindra Susten has commissioned projects over 2GW of solar power, distributed in many parts of India and now global. As one of the top Information technology company, Tech Mahindra has built an array of services to reduce the carbon footprint for its clients.
Using climate change as a context to encourage innovation and leveraging that across the business is an excellent place to begin. The benefits of innovation will be multifold and will become a part of the organization’s DNA. This will further result in businesses like the ones mentioned above. The work done across the group mapped out against the roadmaps, which were set to take on the carbon neutrality challenge.
We are at a critical juncture in the 21st century, where our actions today are trying to play a balance between correcting the mistakes made in our past and setting a new narrative for our future generations to come. As the world undergoes this transition, we will have to create systems which are far more resilient and sustainable. The onus will be upon us as ‘businesses of the past’ and ‘the new ones’ to create such systems.