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Industry leaders call for government support to boost sustainable growth


New Delhi: There is need for government intervention to advance Indian businesses’ sustainability and competitive edge on a global scale, according to Abhyuday Jindal, managing director, Jindal Stainless. While Indian companies are internally robust, external factors like infrastructure and logistics costs, along with access to green energy, are areas where support is crucial, Jindal said.

Speaking at a panel discussion at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2023, Jindal said that moving towards sustainability is not just a regulatory compliance requirement, but a competitive necessity.

“If India now wants to be globally competitive, we have to move very fast on this measure. It will not only happen internally…when it comes to external factors like your infrastructure cost, logistics cost, access to clean energy sources, then the government really needs to step in. And that will make Indian companies competitive globally for a long period,” he said.

Jindal added that environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals are no longer subjects of discussion but the need of the hour, and although companies have begun moving in this direction, a lot remains to be done.

Nishant Arya, vice chairman of JBM Group, said that an adequate ecosystem is important for growth of sustainable and transition-related businesses to thrive. Arya pointed out India’s status as a prime location for green investments, given its policy framework and corporate readiness to promote sustainability. 

Stressing on the need for self-reliance in the journey towards sustainability and energy transition, Priya Agarwal Hebbar, chairperson, Hindustan Zinc, and non-executive director, Vedanta Ltd., said India could significantly support its net zero target of 2070 through domestic mineral production, leveraging the country’s vast, yet largely untapped, natural resources.

“We need 3 billion tonne of metal for net zero. How are we going to make that happen? Do we want to spend all our money in importing all of that or are we going to do it ourselves? India is a country rich with natural resources. We have over 85 natural resources and less than 20% of that has been explored,” she said.

Hebbar said that with the right technology, mining could be transformed into a completely sustainable industry, despite its reputation as environmentally challenging.

Arya lauded Indian companies for leading the global energy transition and stressed the importance of collaborative efforts among industry, policymakers, and academia to achieve significant progress in this area.

The discussion also touched on the increasing importance of ESG norms, which Hebbar noted have contributed to making sectors like mining more inclusive.

Jindal highlighted key sustainable sectors, predicting that electric mobility and the development of a hydrogen economy would be pivotal. He also projected that water conservation will become a major focal point in the near future.

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Updated: 04 Nov 2023, 06:49 PM IST

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