Could you help Indian companies reduce their carbon footprint?

 

There are many ways the UK could help Indian companies reduce GHG emissions.   We are working with the Department for International Trade and UK Science and Innovation Network in India to scope a possible programme to enable this.

If you have an expertise or technology that could make a difference to an Indian company, we want to hear from you.  

Email anwesha.sharma@unconventionalconnections.co.uk and we will send you a Profiling Questionnaire.

Resources:

  • Below are different ways companies can reduce their carbon footprints.  Can you offer support in any of these areas?

  • We have been consulting a range of experts and identified the following as the most promising areas where the UK could make a substantial difference to Indian businesses.  We are particularly keen to hear from companies or researchers with solutions in one of these areas.

  • We are also investigating the Government of India regulations and key drivers for different sectors in India to reduce their carbon footprint - see our summary of findings and useful sources of insight at the bottom of this page.

Selection of ways companies can reduce their carbon footptrint

Analysis and strategic planning for carbon footprint reduction

  • Measuring carbon footprint - following GHG Protocol Guidance, to include direct emissions from fuel and processes (Scope 1 emissions) and emissions from purchased electricity (or Scope 2 emissions) for the assets they operate.

  • Carbon Footprinting benchmarking to identify poor performance in operational area and provide a solid foundation for efficiency and cost-saving improvements.

  • Benchmark energy use - compare the relative performance of sites against industry benchmarks and estimate potential savings.

  • Environmental Management System: A structured framework for managing an organisation's significant environmental impacts. 

  • SMEs Sustainability Impact Assessment: Understand environmental footprint and implement an Environmental Management System for a lower budget.

  • Life Cycle Analysis: This quantifies the greenhouse gas impact of a specific product over specific production processes or over the entire lifecycle.

  • Set targets - Checking bills to understand your consumption and set targets to keep lowering demand.

 

Ensuring compliance with Government Regulations

  • Keep abreast of legislation, regulations and corporate responsibility. 

 

Energy Procurement and management

 

     Energy Procurement: 

  • Switch to renewable energy (backed by Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin certificates). 

  • Generate green electricity - buy or lease renewable energy equipment for onsite installation

  • Convert home offices to on-site renewables.

     Energy Management:

  • Energy Management helps businesses identify their core goals and objectives and reduce energy spend.  Work with demand side response schemes, which incentivise moving energy consumption to off-peak hours. Power off all electronics when not in use. 

  • Build the business case for lighting upgrades

  • Increase the efficiency of office lighting – LED, natural lighting, solar shading, transparent films, motion sensors, dimmable lights

  • Reduce energy usage in data centres and comms rooms – cooling temp, isles, plastic curtains

  • For manufacturers, reviewing the energy consumption associated with this and identifying how to reduce it

 

Travel

  • Reduce emissions from air travel – remote interactions, rail/public transport, book the more fuel-efficient economy seats on direct flights

  • Reduce emissions from road travel – GPS tracking, fuel efficient, alternative fuel vehicles - switch to electric vehicle fleets

  • Upgrade business fleet report their company’s energy consumption and carbon emissions, and assess the opportunities available for upgrading vehicle fleet.

  • Encourage greener commuting - employees to bike to work by providing a space for them to change and shower. Facilitate carpooling with commuter-matching programs and incentives like preferred parking spots. 

  • Hold virtual meetings and training sessions rather than flying. 

  • Training – Virtual or pay to have a speaker come to business location for training.

  • For businesses involving transport of goods, reducing the carbon footprint by reviewing logistics arrangements.

 

Consumption of other resources and waste reduction

  • Reduce, reuse, recycle  - from packaging, to office supplies, to operations, to any production or manufacture and supply chains.

  • Sustainable procurement - recycled paper

  • Reduce consumption of paper - Print as minimally as possible by digitising, ensure double sided printing, having ‘follow me’ printing services across office printers can also help cut down any accidental or unnecessary printing

  • Reduce consumption of water

  • Reduce replacement of laptops, phones or refurbished phones and IT equipment decide if an upgrade is really needed

  • Consider manufacture and transport of all supplies – source locally and/or utilize Fairtrade

  • Ensure that sustainability is fed right through supply chain

  • Minimise emissions from food and food waste food waste can be source of carbon,, canteen food waste collection, kitchen staff trained and facilities for disposal of any food waste, food waste apps, have vegan and vegetarian options in canteen, purchasing from other businesses that support local farmers and the community, creating an office compost

  • For businesses involving perishable products or materials, review options for extending shelf life, reducing waste from sub-standard products, improving cold storage etc.

  • Minimise single use plastic removing all single use plastic items.  

  • Move toward zero waste - assess business's current waste generation, management and disposal. identify where waste is being generated, how often, and where it goes. set waste diversion, prevention, and reduction goals and institute policies  

  • Donate old electronics and office furniture.

  • Using packaging material that is reusable, compostable or recyclable. 

  • Refiling and recycling ink and toner cartridges.

  • Recycle e-waste.

 

Educate and engage employees

  • Commit from the top - Board members must prioritise sustainability for the whole company.

  • Tackle wasteful behaviours. 

  • Encourage input on workplace energy-saving ideas at staff meetings and by setting up suggestions boxes. 

  • Educate staff, and customers - making your customers aware of policies to reduce carbon emissions

  • Enable green working from home. Reduced daily commute: using air conditioners, leaving appliances running and plugged in, using non-energy efficient lighting and more.

 

Cloud computing and remote working

  • Instead of printing hard copies of documents and keeping physical notes, utilise the many benefits of storing data in computerised management systems: documents can be accessed by employees from their personal laptops and smartphones, from any location and at any time, online form builder to replace and streamline a number of paper processes, as well. 

  • Reconsider travel - Cloud computing can enable remote working. The ability to access information remotely means that employees can conduct their daily tasks from home, without it having an impact on their productivity or quality of work.

  • Use Sustainable Web Hosting Services Data servers consume huge amounts of energy. Ensure that the energy that powers your website comes from a renewable energy source. 

  • For businesses that transport goods and services or rely on suppliers that transport materials, managing stock flows and the footprint associated with these using cloud computing and remote monitoring through Internet of Things, Blockchain, etc.

 

Purchase Carbon Offsets 

  • Fund projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

 

Heating and Cooling

  • Optimise heating and cooling systems – timing, adjustment, night temp, Building Management System, staff training, central control, boiler service efficiency, window films that reflect heat

  • Use Green Refrigerants and Appliances Eg. GreenFreeze fridges by Greenpeace and smart refrigerators. stay cool using naturally occurring hydrocarbons that are far less potent than HFCs and don’t break down into toxins. 

  • Look for ways to improve design of buildings to create natural, passive cooling


Sources

https://www.greenelement.co.uk/services-we-offer/

https://www.business.com/articles/reduce-business-carbon-footprint/

https://www.energymanagermagazine.co.uk/how-can-businesses-reduce-their-carbon-footprint/

https://www.director.co.uk/6-ways-to-reduce-the-carbon-footprint-of-your-business/

https://greenamerica.org/blog/9-ways-small-business-can-reduce-carbon-emissions

https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2019/07/19/how-to-reduce-the-carbon-footprint-of-your-business/

https://www.carbontrust.com/resources/steps-to-energy-saving-tools-for-smes

 

Insights into India's drivers for industrial carbon footprint reduction

We are building a picture of India’s carbon footprint to identify priority areas.  The Government of India has made clear its own assessment and introduced Regulations to drive businesses towards carbon reductions and this provides both an incentive for positive change and a business opportunity for anyone who can help them comply.

We have collated material from a range of sources (see references) to build the following picture:

 

Overview

India being the largest democratic country is also one of those countries who is making constant efforts in dealing with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance, signed in 2015. During the 21st Conference of Parties meeting held in Paris, India had made three promises which were to lower emission intensity of GDP by 33-35% from 2005 levels; second to establish more forests in order to eradicate 2.5 billion to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and third, 40 percent of installed capacity for electricity generation based on non-fossil fuels. India, a densely populated and sub- tropical country faces severe outcomes of Climate Change than most other countries

 

According to estimates by the Indian government, the country needs to invest $4.5 trillion over the next ten years to meet targets for renewable energy and urban sustainability (around $450 billion a year).  National Action Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC) is a Government of India's programme launched in 2008 to mitigate and adapt to the adverse impact of climate change. The action plan was launched in 2008 with 8 sub-missions:

  • National Solar Mission.

  • National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency.

  • National Mission on Sustainable Habitat.

  • National Water Mission.

  • National Mission for Sustaining Himalayan Ecosystem.

  • Green India Mission.

  • National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture.

  • National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change.

 

Energy Generation

 

  • To meet its National Determined Contribution (NDC), the country has pledged to reduce the emission intensity of GDP by 33%-35% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels, and increase the share of non-fossil fuel sources to 40% of installed power capacity by 2030. The INDC pledges to increase solar capacity 25-fold to 100 gigawatts (GW) by 2022, to more than double wind capacity to 60GW by 2022 and to raise nuclear capacity from 6GW today to 63GW in 2032. 

  • India must reduce inefficiencies in the coal sector.  The quality of Indian coal is such that it generates only 50% to 66% of the energy that other grades of coal can generate. With high ash and low sulphur content burning it results in higher GHG emissions.  Indian coal plants operate at an average efficiency of 28% and produce 146% of the emissions produced by average global coal plants.  Indian coal plants on average consume 8.7% of the power that they generate - 3% more than European coal plants - and certain plants consume much more than this.   If all the currently planned capacity is built, this could increase to almost 300 GW over the next few years.

  • Electricity demand growth has been reducing and expansion plans for coal-based generation are inconsistent with lower demand projections. This will impact their profitability and make distribution companies non-viable. 

  • The ”National Solar Mission”, has a total target of 175 GW (cumulative target by 2022), with the government signalling its intention to scale this up to 227.6 GW. 

  • India’s investments in solar PV are very substantial and, as of March 2020, India has installed 34 GW of solar energy capacity.  Solar is already cheaper than coal in the country.

  • Wind power is supported via a Generation Based Incentive, while state-level feed-in tariffs apply for all renewables. Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) are in place that promote renewable energy and facilitate Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPOs), which legally mandate a percentage of electricity (8% by 2019) to be produced from renewable energy sources. In May 2018, the Indian government announced a National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy to promote large grid-connected wind-solar photovoltaic (PV) hybrid systems as well as new technologies and methods for combining wind and solar. The government is urging states to provide incentives for setting up designated manufacturing hubs for renewable energy in India.

  • Gas made up only 6% of energy consumption in 2017. India currently imports around half its gas. However, gas consumption is rising in India. The government aims to more than double the share of gas in the energy mix to 15% by 2022, citing the environmental benefits of adopting it as a “cleaner fuel”. Domestic production is low and India will likely continue to be highly reliant on imports.  A parliamentary panel recently concluded that more than half of the country’s 25GW of gas power plants had been “stranded” by a lack of domestic gas and the high price of imports. India has reportedly considered “emergency stockpiles” of gas, similar to strategic oil reserves.

 

Transport

 

  • The government promotes the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs), although so far India has only 260,000 – including two-wheelers and hybrids – and, overall, only 0.6% of sales are EVs. The rollout of charging stations remains low. It also has around 1.5m electric rickshaws, although these are typically used only for short journeys. In 2015, India launched its FAME scheme to subsidise electric and hybrid cars, mopeds, rickshaws and buses. This was recently extended with a fresh $1.4bn over three years. Of this, $1.2bn is earmarked for subsidies and $140m for charging infrastructure. Several individual states have also rolled out policy initiatives to support EVs. The government is working on plans to require all two-wheelers to be electric by 2026.  India’s first light vehicle fuel efficiency standards came into force in April 2017, setting efficiency targets for new vehicles that weigh under 3,500 kg with no more than nine seats. The efficiency targets start at the equivalent of 130 gCO2/km in 2017 and fall to 113 gCO2/km in 2022. The standards are based on the average weight of the fleet that manufacturers will sell in a year. Currently there are no CO2 emission standards for light commercial vehicles.

  • Its 2009 national biofuels policy had an “aspirational” target to blend 20% biofuels into the diesel and petrol mix by 2017. However, India has fallen well short of these targets, so far reaching only around 2% bioethanol and 0.1% biodiesel blend in 2018. It updated its biofuels policy in 2018, proposing a 20% blend of bioethanol and 5% of biodiesel by 2030.

  • Around half of India’s conventional rail tracks are electrified, although its first high-speed line is still under construction. A third of India’s land freight is carried by rail. India plans to increase the share of railways in total land transport from 36% to 45%, its climate pledge says, including through development of dedicated freight corridors. India railways plans to achieve complete electrification of its network by 2023 and net zero emissions by 2030. 

 

Agriculture

 

  • Agriculture is responsible for around 16% of India’s GHG emissions. Of this, 74% is due to methane produced from livestock – largely cows and buffalo – and rice cultivation. The remaining 26% comes from nitrous oxide emitted from fertilisers. India needs to substantially increase food grain production to feed its growing population but droughts and floods are “frequent” and the sector is “already facing a high degree of climate variability,”.   The country’s many initiatives include promotion of lower methane emission rice production, crop diversification away from rice, chemical-free farming and soil health pilot projects. A policy introduced in 2015 made neem coating of urea compulsory to reduce nitrous oxide emissions. 

  • Irrigation using highly inefficient water pumps accounts for around 70% of the energy consumption of agriculture. India has installed 200,000 solar water pumps with another 2.5m planned.  Electricity is used for water pumping in modern irrigation. The heavily-subsidised power supply to agriculture in India has contributed to the use of inefficient pumps and a resulting excessive use of both water and power. To tackle some of the challenges facing the electricity-agriculture nexus, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy recently notified a scheme that provides for the installation of standalone off-grid solar water pumps for irrigation, and the solarisation of existing grid connected pumps to enable farmers to sell surplus solar power generated back to the DISCOMs. Programmes support projects including through biogas digesters, rural energy management, renewable energy, and improving energy efficiency. 

  • The National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) is falling behind on implementation of planned schemes. The government has not been able to spend a large portion of the funding allocated to the Mission’s various components (e.g. soil health management, increasing tree cover, and enhancing productivity of crops).

 

Miscellaneous

 

  • Other schemes include support for more efficient appliances, such as ceiling fans.

  • India also has a national smart grid mission, a rating system to evaluate the energy performance of buildings and another for small industries to support more environmentally friendly manufacturing.

  • It has an action plan to cut cooling energy requirements – a significant driver of electricity demand growth – 25-40% by 2038. The plan also aims to cut refrigerant demand by 25-30% by the same year.

  • The government aims to replace India’s 14m conventional street lights with LEDs and is subsidising the rollout of LEDs in homes.

  • Waste landfills are considered to be the largest source of anthropogenic emissions.  India seeks to launch a pilot carbon market mechanism for the waste sector. The pilot carbon market mechanism was slated to go into effect in March 2019, but at the time of writing it remains unclear what steps have been taken in this direction.

  • Population growth is another key driver of India’s projected GHG emissions.. By 2030, India’s population is projected to grow to ~1.5 billion.

 

Carbon trading

  • Six industries in India have been identified as energy-intensive industries: aluminum, cement, fertilizer, iron and steel, glass, and paper manufacturing.   Key needs in the cement sector, for instance, include clinker substitution to facilitate decarbonisation of the cement sector.

  • The main instrument to increase energy efficiency in industry is the Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) Mechanism. PAT resembles an emissions trading scheme (ETS) and has been in place since 2012. PAT differs from traditional cap-and-trade systems as it sets intensity-based energy targets.

  • Installations that exceed their targets can sell Energy Saving Certificates to installations that did not meet their target. 

  • The Government of Gujarat has introduced the world’s first emissions trading scheme for particulate matter that covers industry. 37 companies in India are in the process of adopting an internal carbon price, with leaders including major cement producer Dalmia Bharat Cement Ltd.

  • India is driving forward the ‘Leadership Group for Industry Transition’, a group which aims to engage in an ambitious public-private effort to ensure that heavy industries meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. 

 

COVID-19

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought significant social and economic challenges on top of a series of climate disasters.  The economic standstill brought about by COVID-19 in March and April this year led to drastic reductions in production and demand. Crude steel production dropped by 22.7% in March 2020, petrol and diesel demand was down and power consumption was down. Some estimates of energy-related CO2 emissions growth already show these slowing down sharply in 2019 or even starting to reduce for the first time in four decades, due to reduced electricity demand and increased share of renewable energy. There is no explicit focus on green recovery in the large post COVID-19 fiscal stimulus of 20 trillion rupees (US$266 billion, almost 10% of GDP). 

 

References

 

India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change:

http://www.nicra-icar.in/nicrarevised/images/Mission%20Documents/National-Action-Plan-on-Climate-Change.pdf

Climate Action Tracker: India:

https://climateactiontracker.org/countries/india/

Carbon Brief Profile for India:

https://www.carbonbrief.org/the-carbon-brief-profile-india

ORF: India’s Low Carbon Transition:

https://www.orfonline.org/research/india-low-carbon-transition/

McKinsey Report on Drivers for the Indian economy and sectors most affected

Sector-Wise Assessment of Carbon Footprint Across Major Cities in India - research article

 

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