Some of India's biggest private sector companies on Thursday pledged to work with the government to tackle climate change and build sustainable economies, thereby helping the country achieve its targets under the Paris Agreement.
CEOs of companies like Reliance Industries Ltd, Tech Mahindra, Dalmia Cement, Ambuja Cement, Dr Reddy's, Sun Pharma and Adani Transmission, among others, held a virtual discussion with Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar at the India CEO Forum on Climate Change.
Following the discussion, they issued a 'Declaration of Private Sector on Climate Change', pledging to take necessary action to help India achieve its targets under the Paris Agreement.
The declaration stressed that "a coordinated response by the government and private sector on climate change that protects the country's interests and ensures that India is on track towards meeting its climate change obligations under the Paris Agreement is the need of the hour".
"We commit to set achievable GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions reduction as well as energy efficiency improvement goals and voluntary targets within our own companies through a range of solutions including," it said.
The companies stated they aim to go beyond promotion of renewable energy, enhanced energy and material efficiency, improved processes and technologies, water efficiency processes, planned afforestation, waste management and recycling, etc.
They said they would develop and submit an annual report to the environment ministry providing qualitative and quantitative information on the contribution of the private sector.
"We commit to pursue the development, exchange and implementation of best practices and strategies on GHG emission reduction and building climate resilience as part of a sustainable development approach," the declaration said.
"Thereby, we encourage other private sector players to work with us on measures that both tackle climate change and build sustainable economies.
"Furthermore, we also pledge to work with the government on realistic and achievable initiatives with benefits for climate change and sustainable development," it said.
"By endorsing the declaration, we demonstrate the leadership and resolve of the private sector in formulating a collective, strong and effective climate change response to help combat climate change with benefits for the present and future generations," it added.
The companies recognised that India is committed to combating climate change and has demonstrated exemplary leadership in addressing the challenge.
"Private sector has a pivotal role in creating low-carbon and sustainable economies without compromising collective and holistic growth aspirations," the declaration said.
India is party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The objective of the convention is to achieve stabilisation of GHG concentrations in the atmosphere that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system, it noted.
India has ratified the Paris Agreement. The agreement seeks to enhance the implementation of the convention in accordance with the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDRC-RC) in the light of different national circumstances.
India submitted its ambitious nationally determined contributions (NDCs) in 2015 under the Paris Agreement for the post-2020 period with three quantitative goals.
The goals are reduction in emissions' intensity of GDP by 33-35% by 2030 from the 2005 level, achieving about 40% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030, and creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.