COP 28: India Inc Takeaways

By Naina Gautam December 12, 2023

As the UN climate conference in Dubai concludes, the voices of corporate captains resonate with urgency and collaborative commitment to address the pressing challenges of climate change. From the stark realities of rising global greenhouse gas emissions to India's call for an inclusive ecosystem, these captains emphasise the need for immediate action. Key initiatives announced at the COP underscore the global commitment to sustainable development. Innovations, technology, and financial investments take centre stage as leaders pledge for a resilient and sustainable future. Here, we encapsulate the key sentiments from COP28 with the voices of influential figures, among them corporate leaders and technology mavens

COP 28: India Inc Takeaways
COP28 highlights the global commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050. Shutterstock

Rajesh Aggarwal, Managing Director, Insecticides India 

“It is clear that agriculture, sustainability, and climate change are closely intertwined. India, a major player in the global agricultural landscape, faces the dual challenge of providing food for its growing population while mitigating the impacts of climate change on its farming communities. The way forward involves a comprehensive strategy that integrates climate-resilient farming techniques, efficient water management, deployment and judicious use of crop protection products, and the adoption of advanced and safer technologies. India could prioritise agroecological approaches, such as progressive farming, with the latest technology to enhance productivity while minimising environmental impact. Investing in climate-smart crop varieties, implementing efficient irrigation systems, and promoting soil health are essential to a sustainable agriculture agenda. Additionally, enhancing the resilience of smallholding farmers through training programs and access to climate information at the right time is again crucial. Collaboration between the government, agricultural experts, and the private sector is key to developing and disseminating sustainable practices.” 

Arun Shukla, President and Director, JK Lakshmi Cement 

“COP 28, a critical initiative to address the escalating climate crisis, yielded significant takeaways. Firstly, it advocates for Enhanced Ambition in Emission Reductions, pressing nations to strengthen commitments and exceed mitigation targets in the face of intensifying climate threats. Secondly, the conference emphasises the necessity of robust adaptation strategies and resilience building, urging countries to prioritise investments in infrastructure, technology, and policies that fortify communities against the adverse effects of climate change. Lastly, COP 28 also highlights the importance of global collaboration and solidarity as a critical means to forge alliances and share knowledge, recognising that climate change is a transboundary issue requiring unified efforts. Additionally, COP 28 showcased breakthrough technologies and pathways in the global cement sector, including Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS), electric kilns, low-carbon cement, digitalisation, and renewable energy. The conference allowed the sector to highlight innovations and address concerns, promoting transparency and accountability to drive genuine change.” 

Rewant Ruia, Director, Essar Group 

“COP 28 was an enriching experience that allowed us to engage with some of the best institutions and changemakers pushing the envelope to address the ongoing climate action through their commitment to sustainable innovations and development. I believe shifting to a green energy ecosystem and aligning the future of Hydrogen-based energy with the overall energy transition is critical. In the medium term, solutions around decarbonised Hydrocarbon-based energy might be the path to ensure sustainable growth across industries without significant business disruptions.” 

Jamil Khatri, Co-founder & CEO, Uniqus Consultech 

“COP 28 initiated the First Global Stocktake to hold countries accountable for their progress on climate change and the effectiveness of their existing pledges. It has also been instrumental in securing significant commitments of over US$80 billion from governments and other multilateral agencies to fund various climate change initiatives that need to be taken by the most impacted countries. Despite sincere attempts to wean countries off fossil fuels, COP 28 fell short of reaching a consensus on this contentious topic. In summary, while COP28 progressed, work must be accelerated to meet the targets. Developed countries must make significant commitments in terms of resources and technology to help emerging countries achieve their targets. This will enable a fair and equitable transition.” 

Sudheer Perla, Managing Director, Tabreed Asia 

“Amid rapid urbanisation, frequent heat waves, and the resulting surge in cooling demand, India is projected to witness 45% of its peak electricity demand from cooling by 2050. However, with over 50% of the nation's built environment yet to be constructed, India has a unique opportunity to adopt sustainable cooling solutions like District Cooling or Cooling as a Service to meet the growing cooling demand while managing the associated emissions. By leveraging aggregation and diversity benefits and incorporating thermal storage systems for peak demand management, District Cooling can potentially reduce energy consumption by up to 50%, alleviating pressure on the grid and meaningfully reducing associated GHG emissions."

Anirudha Jalan, Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Recykal 

“Climate is the single biggest public health crisis we face today. Prince Charles was so sharp in mentioning it: "It's not the earth that belongs to us; we belong to the earth". As we reflect on the experiences and meaningful discussions at COP 28 in Dubai, it's evident that global collaboration is vital for addressing the pressing challenges of climate change and promoting sustainable development. From embracing carbon pricing and fossil fuel phase-out to advocating for health and climate connections, the urgency of climate action was explicitly discussed.  These discussions emphasise the critical need for global collaboration on climate issues, renewable energy, environmental expertise, and sustainable progress. I eagerly look forward to ongoing initiatives focused on building a resilient and sustainable future for all.” 

Sidhant Pai, Co-founder and Chief Science Officer, StepChange 

“There remains a long road ahead of us in our journey towards tackling climate change, but there were a few encouraging signs at this COP. In particular, I felt like the conversations around climate finance were much more mature than in previous years. My discussions with large banks and asset managers suggested they were serious about exploring transition finance and were open to blended finance opportunities. There was also much more emphasis on incorporating physical and transition risks into capital allocation decisions. These trends suggest a genuine interest in real-world sustainability.” 

Vivek Datta, MD & CEO, Globe Toyota

“Embracing eco-friendly automotive solutions is crucial. Products like hybrid electric vehicles align with COP28's vision for a greener future. They are most suitable for the Indian conditions where this technology is not only affordable but also proven to preserve the environment without compromising on the shear experience of mobility.”

Bishal Thapa, Senior Director, CLASP 

“At COP 28, India's contribution to the importance of energy efficiency as a climate initiative during its G20 presidency was acknowledged. The target calls for doubling the global average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements by 2030. Energy efficiency is vital in achieving net-zero emissions and represents one of the most accessible solutions for combating climate change. India's submission focused on achieving a balance between ecology and economy.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi's emphasis on a balanced and inclusive approach reflects India's commitment to a just transition, aligning with the country's climate strategies around renewable energy and energy efficiency. India's advocacy for a balanced approach cements the country's mission for integrating environmental goals with broader socio-economic imperatives. The recognition of the need to double energy efficiency improvement in the official text reflects India's efforts in highlighting it during G20.” 

Arun Misra, CEO, Hindustan Zinc
COP 28 marks a pivotal moment in the global fight against climate change, emphasising the urgency for immediate and collective action. The focus on decarbonisation for a net-zero economy and knowledge transfer in technological adoption across the value chain is paramount. India's ambitious plans are already in motion, aligning with the need for transformative industry action.

Sankar Chakraborti, Chairman, and MD & CEO, Acuité Group
In COP 28, the "Green Credit Initiative" proposed by India is a significant development, focusing on creating carbon sinks through afforestation. It encourages generating and trading green credits domestically for voluntary environmental actions by individuals, communities, and companies. The initiative prioritises carbon offsetting, ecological restoration, and water conservation, aligning with broader climate change combat and environmental sustainability goals. With local community involvement and incentives, its success is highly likely, aligning with COP26's "LiFE (lifestyle for the environment)" concept. COP27 discussed the "Loss and Damage Fund," and its formalisation at COP28 with over $500 million commitments is encouraging and crucial for economically weaker nations dealing with the effects of climate change.

Amit Prothi, Director General, Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure
COP 28 aims to enhance climate and disaster-resilient infrastructure amid increasingly frequent and severe disasters worldwide. By 2050, trillions of dollars in investment are required to prevent a potential 14 percent annual loss of global GDP. The event advocates resilient infrastructure investments through risk-informed planning, governance, and technology transfer. Our team participated in 20 events across ten days, addressing UNFCCC Parties. Using the ground-breaking GIRI platform, countries can enhance their disaster absorption, response, and recovery capabilities. With over 50 percent of the world's population in urban areas, a programme improving disaster-resilient urban infrastructure was launched. DRI Connect, a digital platform for collaboration among disaster-resilient infrastructure stakeholders, was also unveiled.

Deepak Sharma, Zone President, Greater India, MD &CEO, Schneider Electric India.
“COP 28 presented three defining messages that are pertinent to all themes of discussion. Firstly, technology is the central theme of a sustainable world. Adopting highly optimised, digitally enabled energy consumption will be fundamental to successful climate change mitigation going forward. Secondly, it underlined the importance of decarbonizing the demand side of the energy landscape. Lastly, the COP 28 has reiterated the importance of collaborations and partnerships as the key to an inclusive energy transition. Tackling climate crisis requires collective action, cooperation, and knowledge sharing across industries, governments, and communities. Together, we can accelerate the adoption of sustainable practises and create a more equitable and resilient energy future.”

Dr Arvind Bodhankar, Head - ESG and Chief Risk Officer, Dalmia Bharat 
COP 28 ushers in a new era of collaborative efforts for sustainable industrial practises. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's launch of LEADIT 2.0 signals a global push for heavy-industry transition. Bold oil and gas sector commitments towards 2050 decarbonisation and methane zero targets provide a clear roadmap. The endorsement of the Global Decarbonisation Accelerator reinforces the commitment to triple renewable energy capacity and double energy efficiency by 2030. Financial pledges for climate mitigation and adaptation support industries in navigating towards sustainability, catalysing positive change, and reinforcing dedication to responsible practises and a greener future.

Amit Bansal, CEO and co-founder, 91Squarefeet
COP 28 marks a pivotal moment for our industry's commitment to sustainability amidst challenges like the EU's carbon tax. Despite hurdles in real estate due to this tax, it urges innovation and strategy redefinition. We are adapting to rising costs, industry support advocacy, and embracing sustainability to present opportunities for a resilient and competitive future. Hydrogen transition, beyond a buzzword, pledges to carbon-free buildings. The commercial fit extends beyond office spaces, fostering communities powered by forward-looking energy solutions. Drawing from global leaders, we envision a future where hydrogen integration shapes entire prototype cities. Public-private collaboration accelerates sustainable investments, which is evident in the government's decision to allow differentiation in IT/ITeS SEZs, aligning with greener and innovative commercial infrastructure goals.

Akshit Bansal, Founder & CEO, STATIQ
As COP 28 concludes, India's active engagement in climate change mitigation stands out. The nation addresses environmental challenges through policies promoting renewable energy, afforestation, and sustainable practises. The EV sector plays a key role in achieving net-zero goals, with India promoting EV adoption through incentives, charging infrastructure expansion, and supportive policies. The commitment to reducing carbon emissions and enhancing sustainability is evident in ambitious targets for EV penetration and renewable energy integration. Continued collaboration between government, industry, and the public is essential for climate resilience and meaningful outcomes in India's dedication to a cleaner and greener future.

Suyash Gupta, Director General, Indian Auto LPG Coalition
With the world on the brink of a climate crisis, it is more important than ever to adopt sustainable solutions in the fight against climate change. With 300 million vehicles on petrol and diesel, India must transition to alternative fuels as a collective responsibility for a cleaner, greener future. Converting cars to LPG is more than a choice; it's a dedication to a cleaner, greener future. Auto LPG, the 3rd most used automotive fuel globally, emerges as the 'Net Zero Hero' with an impeccable safety record and significant potential to meet energy goals. It represents a collective responsibility to leave the planet better than we found.

N Chandran, Chairman, Eastman Exports
COP 28 offers strategic insights for the textile industry's future in sustainability and climate action. Three takeaways emerge from the deliberations: 1) The enhancement of sustainable practises, with a global mandate to reduce the garment industry's carbon footprint; 2) Commitment to reducing dependence on fossil fuels, urging exploration and investment in alternatives to oil-based fabrics; and 3) addressing fast fashion by transitioning to organic, recycled, or bio-based materials. The textile industry's future lies in transparent supply chains, responding to consumer demands for environmental and social impact awareness.Countries are expected to enhance their climate commitments in their NDCs and acknowledge the loss and damage caused by climate change. Adaptation and resilience will be crucial in helping vulnerable communities cope with its irreversible impacts. Nature-based solutions will also be emphasised to combat the issue.

Rohit Bajaj, Co-founder, Balwaan Krishi
Technologies have significantly impacted India, especially after the recent floods in Chennai. Adopting technology has helped fortify agriculture and make it more resilient to climate change. The floods have highlighted the need for swift adaptation, especially in flood-prone areas. Actionable solutions have been proposed, such as planting heat-tolerant crops, improving water management, and utilising weather forecasting technologies. These insights emphasise the importance of tailoring global farming discussions to India's context, integrating international best practises with locally relevant innovations for a resilient and sustainable future for Indian agriculture.

Alison Ward, CEO, CottonConnect
COP 28 discussed reducing fossil fuel use and adopting inclusive strategies beyond coal to stop greenhouse gas emissions from contributing to climate change. The conversation also shifted towards sustainable fashion and transitioning to combat climate change. The goal is to integrate agriculture and food systems into national climate strategies to create a more resilient and climate-conscious future. We need to increase transparency and accountability across the supply chains, focusing on responsible and traceable sourcing of raw materials. Farmers can be pivotal in combating climate change throughout the supply chain by adopting sustainable practises and producing reliable crops. Training farmers on climate change impacts can have a positive ripple effect on the larger community, especially for women, who can use this knowledge to address broader issues and livelihood challenges.

Dr Pradeep Panigrahi, Head - Corporate Sustainability, L&T
Saudi Arabia leads in decarbonisation efforts, greening vast desert regions through over 60 initiatives under SGI in 2021, totaling over SAR 700 billion in investments. The Loss & Damage Fund lags behind expectations, but key commitments define the next global climate action phase. COP parties pledge $700 million to help lower-income countries cope with climate change-induced loss and damage. UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan commits to a $30 billion fund for global climate solutions and aims for a further $250 billion in investment by the decade's end. Final decisions will bring more clarity, marking another significant COP.

Smitha Jain Arora, Head - Sustainability and Impact, Vivriti Group
Similar to the annual gathering of nations and leaders worldwide to address global challenges, COP 28, which was held this year, highlighted the importance of collaborative efforts among stakeholders and sectors to expedite climate action. The conference emphasised the significant role of businesses as key stakeholders in driving climate solutions. With multiple pledges and commitments aligned with 1.5 and 2-degree Celsius pathways, COP 28 has taken the climate agenda further. It is imperative to mobilise solutions on a broad and accelerated scale. This requires a substantial increase in climate financing, particularly in developing countries and emerging markets that urgently need to transition to low-carbon pathways. To achieve this, the financial sector will have to play a pivotal role in speeding up the deployment of climate capital in India.

N Venu, MD & CEO, India and South Asia, Hitachi Energy 
"The United Nations 2023 Emissions Gap Report starkly reminds us of the ground reality, with global greenhouse gas emissions reaching a new high in 2022. India's demand for an ecosystem supporting emerging economies is crucial for a sustainable and economically viable energy future."

Satyanarayan Goel, Chairman and Managing Director, Indian Energy Exchange 
"COP28 provides a robust platform for engaging dialogue. India's commitment to 500 GW of non-fossil fuel capacity and the Green Credit Programme showcases our dedication to environmental action. Hosting COP33 reinforces our leadership in building a resilient and sustainable future."

Pradeep Lala, MD & CEO, Embassy Services Private Limited 
"COP28 highlights the global commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050. India faces the challenge of balancing renewables with continued coal investments. The green credits programme aligns with India's NDC, fostering environmental actions for sustainable development."

Saurabh Rai, CEO, Arahas Technologies 
"COP28's focus on AI and sustainability and integrating GIS emphasises technological solutions in tackling climate change. AI-enhanced GIS applications are crucial for efficient and sustainable resource use."

Anil Kumar Yendluri, Managing Director, Vishwa Samudra Group 
"India emerges as a key infrastructure superpower at COP28, leading the fight against climate change. Collaborative efforts are essential for green technologies, minimising emissions, and building expandable infrastructure."

Bhagyashree Jain, CEO & Founder, The Disposal Company 
"COP28 accelerates the 'Green Development Pact,' empowering start-ups for tangible solutions. The emphasis on innovation creates a platform for Indian businesses to lead in green technology and sustainable development."

Nidhi Mehra, Co-founder, MyPlan8 
"CEOs stress urgent action, collaborative commitment, and investment in innovation post-COP28. Transparent reporting, adherence to sustainability goals, and financial commitments resonate as a clarion call for global collaboration."

Shruti Jain, CSO, Arihant Capital 
"COP28 highlights climate finance and the need for innovative business models. Companies must focus on models saving the earth, and institutions must offer financing for a greener future."

KK Sharma, Whole-Time Director & EHS Head, DCM Shriram Ltd 
"Corporates need urgency and commitment to tackle climate change. A change in mindset and influencing supply chain partners is crucial for a closer approach to net zero."

Pradip Shah, Co-founder of 
"COP28 focuses on nature-based solutions, ambitious environmental initiatives, and global commitments. The challenge lies in translating these into tangible actions for effective climate mitigation."

In conclusion, COP28 sets the stage for immediate and collaborative climate action, urging nations and corporations to translate promises into impactful results on the ground.