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CIICESD : Business of Green is taught best by those in Business.

World Business Council for Sustainable Development

World Business Council for Sustainable Development (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Rio+20 Summit will be held this year June. And WBSCD would be there in its full force hoping for singular change towards a low carbon economy. On June 1992, the eve of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) [also known as the Earth Summit or Rio Summit] in  a new global organisation – Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD) – was founded to involve business in sustainable development issues. The primary focus then was to give industry and business a voice in the Earth Summit. Today, after 20 years, with more than 170 members of important global companies, the WBCSD (morphed from BCSD) continues its business leadership catalyzing change towards sustainable development, based on eco-efficiency, innovation, and corporate social responsibility.

INDIA – named after the river Indus, which the original inhabitants along its banks called -Sindhu  and the ancient army from Greece under Alexander pronounced with a “H” thus the term “Hindu“.  And then we have “Bhagiratha” who brought the Ganges to earth, as depicted in the mythology.

And the most telling – our country is called both India & “Bharat”, at once bridging the modern with the ancient. Reminding us in each word that, one must keep its roots to the glorious  & Eco-responsive past while forging ahead into the future. India the very name itself has been derived from the life giving water, without which no life is Sustainable – anywhere in this Galaxy! And when one reads the story of Bhagiratha, one would find it so close to the story we once again are facing today; scarcity of water. Everyday articles are written about how future Wars would be fought for Water.

So, it comes as no surprise when modern India, whose soul is ancient and steeped in the culture of sustainable living, which I have mentioned more in my previous article, has its businessmen naturally adapt to what each must have learnt between the process of being a child – man – businessman ; Sustainability. Indians always knew of it, but it got buried in the sands of crony capitalism. Which is being dusted off by the efforts of CIICESD and the likes.

Diagram showing aspects of sustainable develop...

Diagram showing aspects of sustainable development as Ecology, Economy and Society bounded by Environment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The sustainable face of Business  India came out into the fore in 1991 – with a similar and parallel movement at the very same time as the BCSD; CII decided to establish an Environmental Management Division (EMD) that would work under the aegis of the CII National Environment Committee. EMD was established on Monday, June 1, 1992. This was the origin of Indian industry’s contribution towards meeting the goals of Agenda 21, a declaration that was passed during the Earth Summit. This with time, grew to become CII-ITC CESD of today headed by Ms. Seema Arora . The CII – ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development is an institution that creates a conducive, enabling climate for Indian businesses to pursue sustainability goals. It creates awareness, promote thought leadership and build capacity to achieve sustainability across a broad spectrum of issues.

Arm-in-arm with the NAPCC – National Action Plan on Climate Change; CIICESD is the doer of what the Government of India envisages through the various missions within NAPCC. Lush green fields are found where the grass roots are strong, else the moisture from deep within the soil can not be extracted to nourish. The various programs on sustainability CIICESD conducts throughout the year, in training, seminars etc is towards a path of creating awareness among those who already know, yet need to understand how to impart their knowledge to others. This capacity building would enable India adapt to conduct all its business sustainably in the era of grave Business Risk due to human induced Climate Change.

The most interesting part, is that CIICESD with its depth of reach among all the leading industries, imparts the knowledge to the young managerial staff who are slated to move up the ladder, thus in the process inculcate the training received in all their real time assignments. But it is easier said than done, unless the Companies itself takes a board-room decision to implement the thoughts of CIICESD on their shop-floors. There is room for scope in this.

The three pillars of sustainability. Click on ...

The three pillars of sustainability. Click on image areas for more information. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As awareness on Global Warming and Climate change will grow, with its immediate impacts felt  around the World, ( as is happening ) the task of CIICESD and other forums engaged in the task of  promoting sustainable economy would become more and more critical.  As was evident with the recently concluded  Business forum on Climate Change  organised by CIICESD to devise strategies for effective long – term low carbon transformation. For without adapting to the challenges which are already critical, business in all sectors would suffer. The Stern Review concludes in its in-depth study that unless quick and effective measures are taken, beyond 2020, should the World continue in its path of high -carbon growth, the reactionary climate related devastation would cost the world nearly 20% of the World GDP.


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Insurance Agencies will be the best Advocates for Climate Change Abatement in near Future.


Kyoto Protocol participation map 2010.Green in...

Kyoto Protocol participation map 2010.Green indicates countries that have ratified the treaty; Dark green are Annex I and II countries that have ratified the treaty; Grey is not yet decided; Brown is no intention of ratifying. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The effect of Climate Risk on Business would perhaps be an important agenda for  discussions by Nations at the UNFCCC’s Rio+20 summit. As more and more damage to property, once predicted becomes reality the seriousness of addressing the issue would perhaps be more stronger in this CoP 17. But we all know of Nations which are still reluctant to be a part of the KP2 ( Kyoto Protocol ) or any other sensible treaty. Under this scenario, although it might sound a little unconventional, I think the champions for sustainable living would be the Insurance companies. For they have the most to lose when disaster strikes.

And for insurance companies in India, it would be worse. Let us understand this in perspective.

Location of Fukushima Tokyo=Metropolis

Location of Fukushima Tokyo=Metropolis (Wikipedia)

In Japan post Fukushima people are learning to become Sustainable as reported in this article from WRI. The “Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town (Fujisawa SST)” is a smart choice, which I hope will be followed by others around the World. That a disaster of this magnitude was needed for Japan to think differently is sad. Natural calamity no one can predict with absolute accuracy, but one can always learn from the collateral damages and not repeat the same mistakes. Japan, the only country which  has experienced the horrors of Nuclear Bomb, to have chosen Nuclear Energy   which nearly brought back the potential of a similar scale of disaster;  reminds me of a Quote which was under the entry arch of my School, which said in  old English  –

He who knows, that he knows not; is a Child – Teach him

He who knows not, that he knows; is asleep – Awake him

He who knows not, that he knows not; is a fool – Shun him

He who knows that, he knows; is wise – Follow him

I will put Japan under  my quote above – He who knows not, that he knows; is asleep – Awake him. And I thank the Japanese people from all sane Humankind for having woken up from its slumber. (hopefully TEPCO too).

But today my story is not about Japan, neither about Germany which post Fukushima has closed down their Nuclear plants to be part of my quote above which says – He who knows that, he knows; is wise – Follow him.

This article is purely focused on India and its brethren who fall under the quote – He who knows, that he knows not; is a child -Teach him.

Before I carry this forward – I would make it very clear that I am proud to be an Indian. But not proud of its present political class. Under which general administration and ordinary living has suffered to such an extent that corruption has become norm. Corruption does not have to be financial all the time. Not adhering to simple traffic rules is also corruption. Having political arrogance where saner and cautious advise are not heeded to is also corruption. Every-time I see the video on Fukushima disaster, I watch with wonder the fantastic discipline the Japanese people had, even at the face of the disaster. That speaks volumes for the quality of administrative discipline and strength of character.

I live in Mumbai and within the second high risk zone of 75 KM. If one looks at this map  from Green Peace, which points to each Nuclear Plant on this planet, zooming in on India and clicking on the yellow dot will make ones mouth go dry.  Should disaster strike, we do not even have an exit route from Mumbai. Just one bridge connects the island of Mumbai close to the suburb of Chembur, called the Vashi bridge. No hovercraft, no steamers – no ferry service. God forbid if disaster strikes the isle of Mumbai, the mass exodus which would be more of a mob, will kill more than the disaster itself in the first 24 hours. And we have many more Nuclear plant sites. And unplanned growth all around.

I am not against Nuclear Power, I am against the possibility of facing the havoc of Nuclear disaster, should climate change creates situations where storms and tsunami become more and more prevalent. It is one thing to have death and destruction of a generation due to natural calamities, while it is completely different to suffer for generations from Nuclear fallout, which may happen due to damaged caused to a Nuclear facility in an earthquake / tsunami.

While I have pointed out the possible danger of a Nuclear accident, this article is about all the calamities and its resultant effect India shall face, due to effects of Climate change. While it is true, that India has come up with some super positive steps like NAPCC. We have much to accomplish, along with the whole World, while the time is running out. The Stern Review predicts that unless the World changes into low-carbon development from the high-carbon economic model we all currently follow, climate related disasters would increase and its mitigation could cost 20% of the World GDP, year on year post 2020. For densely populated India, which is also a growing economy, many new insurance instruments hereto not applicable are becoming norm. From simple insurance of remembering your important numbers to more complex health, property and corporate ones. Climate induced calamities would bring in untold economic loss.

This naturally brings into fore the insurance companies which need to compensate for losses which would occur. The year 2011 disasters, which occurred  world over,  is covered in this video and it gives one an idea of the scale of economic loss and the compensation which needed to be doled out. If such occurrence happen again and again as is the forecast, it would leave may Insurers penniless, which they would naturally not let happen. Therefore they would do what some have already done – CDP signatories are the banks, pension funds, asset managers, insurance companies and foundations. With USD 78 trillion, it has and will have lot of influence as time progresses to steer Nations into more sensible Sustainable life style. In time regional groups and sub-groups would be formed amongst local insurance players, all with the agenda of abating climate change and this would reach to the very grass-roots of society.

In my opinion, once again Ecology would be rescued by Economy, which ironically has been one of the principal cause for the human induced disasters we face today.



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Building A Low Carbon Economy with Energy Efficient Buildings

GHG emissions from building construction, reno...
Image via Wikipedia

The building sector can and should play a role in achieving the deep GHG reductions that science tells us are necessary to combat the threat of global warming. The building sector contribution to GHG emissions is mainly driven by its end use of, or demand for, electricity. This is a key difference from many other sectors where the main issue is emissions from the supply of energy. The building sector as a whole could reduce its share of GHG emissions by 30-35 per cent whilst accommodating growth in the overall number of buildings by 2050. This can be achieved by using today’s technology to significantly reduce the energy needed by residential and commercial buildings to perform the same services. For example, by replacing equipment with more energy-efficient models, at the natural replacement rate, and upgrading the performance of the building shell.

Detailed ‘bottom up’ analysis of energy efficiency opportunities suggests that net cost savings can be achievable in the medium to long-term. Rather than a cost per tonne of GHG abatement, many energy efficiency options have a positive financial payback in addition to providing abatement benefits. The payback period, can vary from a matter of months to many years. This finding is consistent with a large collection of case studies within the Country and overseas. When coupled with a broad-based GHG abatement target and a supporting policy environment, additional energy efficiency investments by the buildings sector would reduce the costs of change for the building sector and the economy at large.

Despite being cost neutral in the medium to long-term, achieving the additional GHG abatement action from the building sector faces challenges as well as opportunities.

1.Adopting energy efficiency strategies requires upfront investment by businesses and households to become more energy-efficient.

2.The benefits, or payback of these investments, are gradual, accruing over the medium to long-term, as savings on energy bills.

3.The building sector will need some additional incentives to overcome the impediments to change. These need to address a range of issues, such as the need to spur behavioural change, particularly to encourage adoption, and to offset the required upfront, direct capital expenditures.

4.Essentially, there is a need to encourage the rebuilding of our current building stock to upgrade the energy efficiency of assets within buildings to deliver a more   sustainable outcome.

5.The pay-off from investing in the energy efficiency potential of the building sector would flow through the entire economy by reducing the cost that others would face to  achieve their reduction in GHG emissions.

It is vital for government and the community at large to recognize the evidence showing the valuable role that demand side management and energy efficiency in the building sector can play in GHG abatement. Significant gains are available now without the need to invent and apply new technologies. They do not involve substantial risk or uncertainty and would provide significant gains now and into the future.


The building sector can be viewed as being comprised of two broad elements:

Residential buildings — housing the population; and

Commercial buildings — housing a range of activities including retail trade, accommodation, business services, government and government agencies, recreation and cultural services and industry, which represents around two-thirds of national employment.

Component parts of the building sector are noted in chart

Residential Building Commercial Building
Detached housesAttached dwellingsBuildings containing two or more soleoccupancy units Wholesale tradeRetailAccommodation, cafes and restaurantsCommunication servicesFinance and insuranceProperty and business servicesGovernment administration and



Health and community services

Cultural and recreational services

Personal and other services

The estimate of greenhouse gas emissions due to energy consumption in the building sector takes account of:

1.  the amount of energy consumed;

2. the mix of fuels used;

3. the average greenhouse gas emissions from the different fuels (electricity is treated as a fuel); and

4.upstream emissions from transmission and other activities.

The electricity consumed within a building is only a part of the energy used to support that demand. A large amount of electricity and greenhouse gas emissions is also involved in distribution, transmission and generation. When reducing demand for electricity it is practical to eliminate the need for this upstream energy use and GHG emissions.

A larger proportion of GHG emissions are attributable to the building sector than its share of energy use because the building sector uses greenhouse gas intensive energy. Notably the building sector energy end use is dominated by electricity consumption which is dominated by coal fired generation located at the end of long transmission networks.

Emissions from the building sector are broadly of the same scale as emissions produced by the entire transport sector.


The building sector could reduce its GHG emissions by 30–35 per cent by 2050 on an economical basis. Economic in this context means that the initial costs would be offset — and in many cases be more than offset — by subsequent energy savings over time.

The potential for increased energy efficiency in the building sector has been estimated through a bottom up analysis to identify energy efficiency opportunities in the building sector. The analysis:

1.Examine like-with-like replacement of energy inefficient appliances and building services with more energy-efficient equivalents;

2.focus on additional application of existing technologies;

3.take into account the costs of change and the expected benefits from reduced energy costs; and

4.factor in expected population growth and sustained economic growth which tends to bring pressure for increased energy use.

For the potential energy efficiency investments a much wider range of options exits. This set, however, generally represents the diversity of existing, mature technologies.

In the residential sector changes can be achieved through:

1. substitution for more energy-efficient light fittings;

2. greater use of natural light;

3.substitution for more efficient refrigeration;

4.adoption of more efficient hot water appliances with solar where possible;

5.adoption of appliances with a low standby energy use;

6. the introduction of more efficient heating and cooling mechanical systems; and better insulation.

In commercial buildings substantial savings to both costs and greenhouse gas emissions could be generated by:

1. improving air conditioning systems efficiency and including ‘economy’ cycles;

2.use of natural ventilation where possible;

3. the use of more efficient office appliances;

4.better insulation;

5.improved heating and ventilation;

6.the use of efficient light fixtures;

7.upgrading to more efficient water heating systems; and

8.where possible use of co-, and tri-generation (that is, using heat discharged from on-site power generation for water heating, and for absorption air-conditioning etc).

Energy efficiency measures would take time to be adopted by households and business. Analysis of the technical possibilities suggests the potential for GHG abatement is between 57 Mt and 66 Mt per annum by 2030. This would increase to between 86 Mt and 98 Mt by 2050.


• Buildings’ share of final energy consumption: 30-40%

• Global CO2 emissions from energy in buildings (2005): 9Gt

• Estimated growth by 2050 in all 6 EEB regions: 76%

• Growth in global population by 2050: 2.7 billion or 42%

Many energy efficiency projects are feasible with today’s energy costs. At energy prices proportionate to oil at US$ 60 per barrel, building energy efficiency investments in the six EEB regions (Brazil, China, Europe, India, Japan and the US) studied, totaling US$ 150 billion annually, will reduce related energy use and the corresponding carbon footprint in the range of 40% with five-year discounted paybacks for the owners. A further US$ 150 billion with paybacks between five and 10 years will add 12 percentage points and bring the total reduction to slightly more than half.

There are three key elements to

achieving progress:

– Use less energy

– Make more energy (locally)

– Share surplus energy (through an intelligent grid).

The most significant, long-term gains will come from using less energy.

Note: The data has been collected form various noted publications and condensed for easy understanding.


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