On Greening: India Inc does not put its money where its mouth is

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New Delhi, Jul 27 (UNI) A KPMG survey released on issues pertaining to India Inc's preparedness to climate change brings out the startling gap between intent and action, with only 41 per cent of the companies having concrete plans on the subject, even though more than 80 per cent understand the compelling circumstances for doing so.

Another surprising dimension of the survey which was released recently finding is that Indian Inc's desire to respond to climate change issues appears to be driven largely by the need to comply with expected regulations, and pressures of adhering to corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Stringency in regulatory requirements is perceived to be the primary risk to business arising out of climate change issues.

Further, the need to prepare for expected regulations emerged as the most important factor in the formulation of the company's carbon strategy.

In short, the fears of India Inc emanate more from the fact of what may happen than what is actually happening. India's increasing pro-active stance in the global arena is worrisome for the Indian companies, this is the underlining message.

European corporates have to devote part of their profits for greening activities. This puts them at a disadvantage vis-a- vis Indian companies whose action on climate change is purely voluntary.

The European corporates may impose similar conditions on Indian companies.

An overwhelming 83 per cent of the respondents claimed to have a fair understanding of climate change issues.

However, just under half of these (41 per cent) respondents said they have a clear strategy in place to tackle these issues.

The survey entitled 'Climate Change: Is India Inc Prepared?' involves 70 respondents, half of which are large companies and other half Small and Medium Enterprises.

This fear has more to do with exporting companies, rather than those which are catering to the domestic market, a KPMG spokesperson of said.

''Developing countries like India and China are under increasing international pressure to undertake measures to limit their aggregate emission levels. While the government on its part has recently announced the National Action Plan on Climate Change, the onus is now on private businesses to do their bit,'' Mr Arvind Mahajan, KPMG National Industry Director (Energy, Infrastructure and Government) said.

The global awareness on climate change is far greater. Most companies in the developed world have measured and announced their baseline carbon footprint, and also their reduction targets over 5 to 10 year periods, the report said.

It also brings to light the lack of appreciation of the tools and capabilities required to contain climate change.

The report speaks about KPMG's own committment to a greener India.

It says the principal ambition of 'KPMG's Global Green Initiative' will be to reduce the member firms combined carbon footprint by 25 per cent by 2010 from a 2007 baseline, through emission reduction schemes and the use of renewable energy by its member firms.

UNI MP/GS PDT RN1213

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