Read an interesting article in today’s Financial Express (Nov 29) that the government of India is considering providing tax breaks to companies if they can prove that the total carbon content of their operations had been on the lower side. In this context, it is reported that the ministry of company affairs would direct the companies to report about their carbon footprint in their annual reports.
Hmmm…sounds good, wonder how much it will really mean? First, the lifecycle carbon footprint accounting is not an exact science right now, and I think there are many ways companies can fudge and obfuscate in order to gain benefits. If it is just a question of equating the amount of carbon use to amount of electricity use, perhaps it is not that difficult. But if one were to look at lifecycle accounting for carbon, I could claim that the furnitures bought by our company were made of wood that required lot less fertilizers and hence much less carbon emitted overall. I am not saying these types of data could not be figured out at all, it is just that a government auditor could end up spending a heck of a lot of time and still not be very convinced about anything.
But let me put my pessimist hat aside and congratulate the government for even thinking of this. I could be proved completely wrong (let’s hope that happens!) and companies could indeed be able to benefit from being able to reduce their overall carbon footprint.
Well begun, they say, is half the game won.