Private sector should focus on SDGs, says Kant

Private sector should focus on Sustainable Development Goals: Kant

Kant was speaking at one of the virtual sessions of a day-long SDG Summit

Niti Aayog chief executive officer Amitabh Kant. Credit: PTI File Photo

Niti Aayog chief executive officer Amitabh Kant on Tuesday called upon all private sector players to focus on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and become green companies of the future which would help them access capital at low rates.

The private sector and industry is an extremely important partner to meet the country's sustainable development goals and the government needs their support to translate policies into actions, he said.

“I wish all the private sector together to focus on the Sustainable Development Goals and become green companies of the future. Those companies will grow and prosper, their valuation will rise, and they will get capital at low rates if they become green and digital," he said. 

Kant was speaking at one of the virtual sessions of a day-long SDG Summit. The summit saw participation from heads of various companies across sectors. He said to meet the targets under the SDG framework on time, India needs to progress faster on nutrition, learning outcomes, women's active participation in the economy, employment for all and reducing pollution.

The government has already rolled out various initiatives in these areas and has established a system to monitor and review the progress, he said. Kant also urged Indian companies to invest into innovation and research and development (R&D).

"If we do not start investing in commercially focussed R&D immediately, it will be very hard to survive in the global economy," he noted. Kant said the country has made the global pledge as part of its nationally determined contributions to have 40 per cent of cumulative electric power installed capacity from non fossil fuel sources.

"Our renewable energy sector becomes the prime destination for global investors with the potential to attract $10 billion of annual investments," he said. He said the country is increasing its investments in domestic manufacturing capacity of batteries, electric vehicles and solar.

Speaking at a session on 'ESG investing: The big question', Bank of America President and Country Head Kaku Nakhate said the cost of implementing ESG (environment, social and corporate governance) may be slightly high in the short term, but it evens out in the longer term. She said Bank of America has been actively encouraging supply chain financing based on meeting the ESG targets. "So we do run programmes on supply chains, where we assist the company that when their suppliers really meet the ESG targets, we actually discount their trade at a little more discount, so that the interest rates come down," Nakhate said.

World Bank Group's Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer Anshula Kant said there is a need to have a global approach to sustainable finance. "The share of emerging markets, sustainable debt is still at about 40 per cent of total global flows.

So a global approach to sustainable finance is very much needed. And investors' behaviour is changing,” she said. Addressing a session on 'CEO's Panel: Leadership Matters: How the C-Suite is seizing the ESG Opportunity' in the morning, Godrej & Boyce Chairman and Managing Director Jamshyd Godrej said there is a very strong business case for going green. “I think you will see that the effort that goes in will result in better products and less expensive ones over time,” Godrej said.

He said Godrej Group started a programme - 'good in green', about 10 years ago to manufacture products that are more energy efficient, less polluting and more recyclables.

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