‘Carbon negative’ has become a common term among people and is most often used in talks related to the environment and climate change. Becoming carbon-negative requires a company, sector or nation to remove more CO2 from the atmosphere than it emits. It is often confused with the term ‘Carbon neutrality’, which is the balancing of any CO2 released into the atmosphere by removing an equivalent amount of the same.
India has set an ambitious goal of 450 GW (gigawatt) of renewable energy by 2030; we are indeed working towards reducing carbon emissions by initiating to meet our energy requirements from renewable sources. Presently, our nation is the third-largest emitter of CO2, largely contributed by mining and using coal. It isn’t an easy task to close these mines as it can lead to mass unemployment in the economy.
At the recently held COP26 Summit in Glasgow, apart from governments, several businesses also pledged to work towards becoming ‘carbon negative’. Let’s find out which Indian companies were part of that and what goals they have set for themselves!
Indian Companies that are on the right path
Infosys: In 2011, Infosys pledged to become carbon neutral by 2020. It has achieved this goal systematically by taking small steps each year. They have reduced their per capita electricity consumption by over 55% since 2008. Also, in 2012, they launched their first commercial building in India with radiant cooling technology. Over 100,000 rural families have directly benefited from Infosys’ offset programme since 2016.
Tata: By 2025, Tata has planned to reduce its absolute greenhouse gas emissions across scope one and scope two by 70%. Tata’s climate change policy was launched in 2009. In 2015, the Tata group convened a cross-sector task force to develop guidance on operationalising internal carbon pricing. Tata Steel, Tata Chemicals, Tata Consumer Products and Tata Motors are now using internal carbon pricing to guide their CapEx decisions.
ITC: By 2030, multi-business conglomerate ITC aims to meet its 100% energy requirements from renewable sources. They have launched a huge solar plant in Tamil Nadu, which has helped them meet 90% of their electricity requirement from renewable sources in the respective state. Nearly 41% of the company’s energy consumption is today met from renewable sources. All properties of ITC Hotels are certified at the highest LEED Platinum level.
Reliance: RIL aims to become carbon negative by 2035. It is a 15-year long transformative process (committed in 2020), which it hopes to achieve systematically through processes including; recycling of carbon dioxide (CO2), and creating value from CO2 and plastic. It also aims to replace transportation fuels with clean electricity and hydrogen.
Dalmia Cement: On the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement, Dalmia Cement announced its plan to become carbon neutral by 2040 at the Climate Ambition Summit 2020. It is the first heavy-industry sector company globally to announce the 2040 carbon negative commitment. It is one of the most effective cement manufacturing companies globally, with one of the lowest carbon footprints (in cement manufacturing).
Impacts on the planet
As humanity develops, the environment is getting degraded constantly. For instance, the collapse of an ice sheet in Antarctica this year due to global warming led to a rise in sea level. The shocking news of the air pollution in Delhi, which led to the closure of schools and other institutions, should be enough to make us step forward to prevent further negative impacts our activities are causing. Positive and bold commitments made by major Indian MNCs toward carbon negativity will definitely help India tackle environmental issues.
As individuals, we can contribute to this movement by purchasing products from businesses that strive to be carbon neutral, discourage the use of plastic carry bags by adopting cloth and paper bags, encourage the use of metal and paper straws etc. Also, we can maintain desk plants, which will purify the air around us and make us feel fresh. We can do our bit by starting with these small steps to reach carbon negativity in the near future.
Contributor: Nithya AS
About our Writing Program Student
Nithya is a grade 10 student studying at Greenvalley International School, Trivandrum, Kerala. She loves reading, painting, gardening and is also a Kalaripayattu practitioner. Besides, she enjoys spending time with nature and is always keen to contribute something to the environment.