Climate Action Requires Collaboration Between Businesses, NGOs and Communities

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Global warming is no longer just a theory. While the earth’s climate has changed throughout history, reports show that the current warming is happening at an unprecedented rate. We have experienced the ten warmest years since 2010.

In such dire times, when industries and economies are booming and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, our approach to combating the challenge must be collaborative rather than isolated. In these times, the 4P model (people-public-private-partnership) recognizes the role of various stakeholders — government, private sector, community, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) — to help achieve climate change commitments.

Advancing all relevant stakeholder engagement through a coherent and systematic model, such as the 4P model, strengthens governance at the national and local levels by making it more effective, inclusive, and accountable. Let’s look at how these stakeholders, with a strong commitment to ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) principles, can help create innovative solutions to mitigate the impact.

Corporates transition to clean energy

Not only the government but business houses and corporate giants are also following suit in their responsibility towards climate change. According to a government report, about 24 industrial houses, including Piramal, Tata, Reliance, Tech Mahindra, Essar, Ambuja, Sun Pharma signed the Declaration of Private Sector on Climate Change on November 5, 2020, at the India CEO Forum on Climate Change.

With India setting its eyes on generating 50% of all its energy demand through renewables by 2030, a united effort is necessary. With high-efficiency solar rooftop implementation made available easily both through policy and in supply, buildings, large institutions, and massive office complexes can contribute significantly to the government’s target by installing solar modules. This can further be aided by other best practices like better waste management, bolstering energy efficiency, judicious water usage and adopting circular economy practices for a cleaner future, all of which align with ESG principles.

NGOs to bridge the gaps between government and community

In areas where the government is still building its capacity to bolster its efforts in combating climate change, NGOs can come into the picture with their on-ground presence and extensive reach, even in the most remote corners of the country. While the government’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), with eight critical climate combating missions, is a regulatory framework in the right direction, it needs support from non-governmental partner bodies for its execution.

An interesting example is that of a specific NGO partner on a mission to establish a green community. The organisation achieves this by constructing homes for communities in need of decent housing using eco-friendly materials and ensuring a supply of solar energy to reduce carbon emissions. Similar initiatives to create eco-friendly living spaces can lead to a more extensive ecosystem within the green revolution. And NGO partners can serve as catalysts for sustainable practices with minimal environmental impact.

Awareness can inspire communities to create a greener world

Community is the first nodal point to activate any change we envision for the future. People are at the core of every movement aligned with public goods. Those working in NGOs, government, and business institutions are members of civil society. When there is awareness, it will begin to reflect in the decisions and choices individuals make in their institutions and organisations.

For example, a report by the World Resources Institute (WRI) indicated that an electricity bill that prominently features comparative consumption statistics for individual users and communities can nudge them to save energy by 5% to 10%. Notably, a 35% to 55% reduction in energy use persisted even after the informative billing approach was no longer in use.

Publicity campaigns, introducing climate change concepts in education curricula, and mandatory regulations in every organisation can have a far-reaching impact beyond what is commonly imagined.

Climate action is not an isolated movement where a single stakeholder can bring in the desired change. Instead, everyone should bring in their expertise to collaborate and contribute their bit in achieving climate change targets.

When a community is aware and informed, they can collaborate with governments to form regulations. These regulations then should call for corporate players to make informed and ethical decisions. At the same time, NGOs should partner with communities to raise awareness and assist the government in reaching every corner to make a more significant impact. An integrated approach, rooted in ESG principles, ensures that we collectively work towards a greener and more sustainable future for generations to come.

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