In a development that could give a fillip to the sustainability initiatives of small businesses, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) has set up of the ‘Centre for Sustainability Leadership’ with Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) as its Founding Member.

The Centre aims to help accelerate India Inc.’s climate action in line with Government’s net-zero commitments embodied in the ‘Panchamrit’ framework, the company said in a statement. The Centre aims to institutionalize sustainability leadership across FICCI members focusing particularly on decarbonization, green entrepreneurship, and nature-based solutions, the company added.

Catalyst for change
The Centre will serve as a catalyst for change, by facilitating sustainability journey of corporate India, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs), start-ups and large corporates. It will endeavour to mainstream climate technology solutions by showcasing innovations by sustainability startups in India.

The Centre will also work towards adoption of sustainable consumption and circular economy in line with Government’s ‘Mission LiFE’ mantra. Acknowledging PM Narendra Modi’s vision that ‘Lifestyle for Environment’ needs to become a mass movement, the Centre will help companies adopt pathways that promote sustainable consumption, sustainable production, and sustainable lifestyles. Mr Subhrakant Panda, President, FICCI said,

“The Centre will help realize social and environmental co-benefits, further strengthening FICCI’s commitment towards inclusiveness and building sustainable businesses. It will facilitate progress towards climate neutrality for industry with special focus on SMEs, the backbone of Indian economy and integral part of global value chains. Centre’s specially curated programs will help businesses understand risks and opportunities associated with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) norms, and equip them with necessary skillsets to monitor and improve their performance in this regard.”

The Centre’s goals will be achieved by building capacity of Corporate India through intensive training programs, expert workshops and offering bespoke solutions for climate action. In addition, the Centre will also create a ‘Knowledge & Information Hub’ featuring global best sustainability practices, emerging policies, and innovative climate technologies. It will also support companies in complying with enhanced reporting and disclosure obligations on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) indicators including direct / indirect greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency, water and waste management, amongst others.

Mr Sanjiv Mehta, CEO and Managing Director, HUL said, “The Centre for Sustainability Leadership will usher in transformative change by helping Indian businesses to meet sustainability goals and achieve Net Zero in alignment with the Government’s targets. As a Company, HUL has always strived to be people and planet positive and firmly believes that responsible business is the only way forward. This ambitious goal cannot be achieved by a single enterprise in isolation, and a stronger, collective push is needed to ensure that value chains subscribe to sustainable practices.”

The Centre ultimately aims to unite a community of practitioners, experts, and sustainability leaders, creating a powerful force for change in the fight against climate change.

By Venkatesh Ganesh

Writes on Renewables, Tech, Infrastructure. Stints with news outlets such as Hindu BusinessLine, HT, Indian Express.