Enterprises Play Crucial Role In Nourishing Environment: Sanjiv Puri

New Delhi: Businesses, as major economic organs of society, have a responsibility to put social value creation at the heart of their corporate strategy and contribute to mitigating and adapting to climate change, said ITC Chairman Sanjiv Puri.Also Read – California Under Heatwave; Fear of power outages and fires loom

Highlighting the adverse impacts of climate change on global food security, Puri stressed the critical need to identify climate change hotspots and build resilience of key agricultural value chains through climate-smart agriculture. Also read – Echoes of WWI still linger in Slovenia as forest fires detonate 100-year-old bombs

Speaking at the 17th Sustainability Summit of the CII-ITC Center for Sustainable Development, Puri said: “Both climate change adaptation and mitigation require a multidimensional approach. Both require specific paths to be identified. For example, capabilities need to be developed and commercialized to make green hydrogen readily available and ensure carbon storage. A lot of work is already being done in these areas.” Also read – Believe it or not, we may have to say goodbye to these favorite travel destinations

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In fact, adaptation is the process of adapting to the current and future impacts of climate change, while mitigation consists in mitigating the impacts of climate change by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

The ITC Chair further stressed that it is entirely possible for a company to become climate positive and also play a role in preserving the environment rather than depleting natural resources.

“It’s about building a sustainable future and turning risk into opportunity,” said Puri. He said that for most sectors, economically viable climate protection models can be developed that are not only good for the planet but also for the company’s competitiveness.

He added that as a company, ITC has consistently focused on reducing energy intensity, increasing renewable energy and adopting a circular economy model. “These interventions are part of our core strategy. I am pleased to report that today, thanks to a combined effort, we have been carbon positive, water positive and solid waste recycling positive for more than a decade.”

Puri emphasized the fact that while decarbonization efforts need to be accelerated to curb rampant greenhouse gas emissions, it is just as important, if not more important, to focus on adaptation actions to ensure we are not ill-prepared to deal with the apparent form to deal with things to come.

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He outlined how climate-smart agriculture and efforts to ensure water security could be important interventions to adapt to climate change. He gave examples from ITC’s on-the-ground experience and the initiatives the company has promoted for water stewardship and climate-friendly agriculture.

Stressing the need for a multi-pronged approach to adaptation, he said: “I think the starting point has to be very comprehensive climate modeling to identify where the climate hotspots are. At ITC, we started this journey in 2020. There are other companies that are already doing this.” He believed that once a specific region was identified as a hotspot or a specific value chain as vulnerable, appropriate targeted action could be taken.

He added that the next step in customization is to target specific hotspots based on detailed culture- and site-specific data. Highlighting the impact of ITC’s Climate Smart Villages initiative, which involves over 4,50,000 farmers in 25,000 villages, Puri said nearly 70% of these sites older than five years have already been classified as highly resilient value chains.” He Explained that by building climate-friendly villages, ITC has reduced emissions by up to 66% and increased farmers’ incomes by 40% to 90%.

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Noting that 54% of India suffers from water stress, Puri stressed the need to focus on both demand-side and supply-side water management policies. Using an example from ITC, he said that while the company’s large-scale soil and moisture conservation initiative covers 1.3 million acres with over 25,000 municipal water catchments constructed, its demand-side management has also been extremely effective, resulting in a reduction of 40 % in 14 cultures.

Puri also mentioned that while climate change and depletion of natural resources pose serious threats, we should not lose sight of the associated livelihood and social inequality concerns. “So the meaning of a ‘just transition’ is even more relevant,” Puri added.

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