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A survey of 40 firms suggests that there’s money to be made fighting climate change

One crucial actor missing from much of the climate change conversation is business. If society is to make any fundamental changes in the model of growth, then business must not only be on board but must be a driver of innovation.

So, what does business have to say about the fight against global warming? How is the debate being framed by the wealth generators of society? Can climate change in fact be a money spinner?

Increasingly a number of businesses, both from traditional as well as newer, green-tech sectors, are answering that query in the affirmative.

A recent report by Dalberg, an international consulting firm, titled ‘Champions of the Low Carbon Economy — Why CEOs are ready for a global climate agreement,’ undertook a survey of 40 global companies to conclude that business was eager for the opportunities an ambitious deal at Copenhagen would engender.

Three Indian groups were included: the Tatas, the SUN group and Praj Industries.

The common conclusion of the interviewed CEOs was that fighting climate change could be profitable, but a global deal would be necessary to secure the regulatory certainty required by business to truly commit to a new model of growth.

Pramod Chaudhari, Executive Chairman of Praj Industries, for example, envisioned a “2-3 times worldwide growth (for Praj) in the subsequent four- to five-year period, once a strong agreement and roadmap is in place.”

“The energy revolution is one of the greatest economic opportunities of our time,” added SUN Group’s Uday Khemka. “It will make the tech sector’s growth seem like a minor economic boom.”

Khemka warned however that “the failure to establish certainty and a price on carbon could result in a categorical disaster, because this could fundamentally undermine the confidence in clean energy investing and move the sector back a generation.”

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