Leading Indian companies have taken the first major step towards a possible emissions trading scheme, with more than 20 of India’s leading companies joining an initiative to voluntarily report their greenhouse gas emissions.
The voluntary emissions reporting program has been launched by the World Resources Institute India, the Confederation of Indian Industry, and The Energy and Resources Institute.
The founding member companies include Godrej & Boyce, HCC Limited, Ford Motor Company (India), Mahindra Sanyo Steel, Jet Airways, Tata Teleservices, Bayer Group, Infosys Technologies, Tata Chemicals, NTPC, ITC, Yes Bank, Cummins India, Forbes Marshall, JK Tyres, Shree Cements, United Technologies, Ambuja Cement and GAIL.
While most of the companies are from the private sector, it is heartening to see government-owned heavyweights like power generator NTPC and gas supplier GAIL to agree to report their emissions voluntarily.
Interestingly, Jet Airways, one of the leading airline operators in the country, has voluntarily agreed to report its emissions even though it was among the handful of airlines in the world not to have shared its emissions data with the European Commission under its emissions trading scheme.
Also interesting were the comments of the Director General of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency and the pioneer of the Perform-Achieve-Trade (PAT) scheme. This is an energy efficiency program based on the principle of cap-and-trade. Dr. Ajay Mathur said that his agency will be watching this program closely.
This would enable BEE to strengthen its own regulations regarding energy use in companies covered under the PAT scheme. A national or sectoral level emissions trading scheme would naturally be built on the foundations of the PAT scheme and this emissions reporting program.
Companies like ITC and Infosys Technologies are among the leading investors in the social and energy sustainability domain. ITC arguably has the most energy efficient hotels in the country, many of them equipped with solar panels and huge concentrated solar heaters. Infosys Technologies has announced a target to become carbon neutral by 2017.
While Indian companies have been investing in the renewable energy sector for quite some time now, the focus on greenhouse gas emissions is just picking up. Although not popular, India’s Bombay Stock Exchange had launched the CARBONEX, which includes some of the biggest companies in the country. The companies have been included in the index on the basis on the assessment of their reported emissions under the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).