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Transition to net-zero must be inclusive to avoid accentuating social inequality, says ITC CMD Puri

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The process of the world’s transition to ‘net-zero’ must be inclusive to avoid the challenge of social inequality and the ‘exemplary progress’ brought about by India in the area is worth watching for the global community, ITC Chairman and managing director Sanjiv Puri said Monday. In his speech at Business-20 (B20) India Founding Meeting in Gandhinagar, Puri also called for collective efforts in the G-20 and the global community to find solutions together for a sustainable future.

“The fact that the world needs to transition to net-zero, the fact that the world needs to move to a more sustainable and greener future is widely recognized and understood. But as we all know, the progress has not been enough,” Puri said at the meeting organized by CII.

There are challenges, there are critical, financial and social issues that need to be addressed to accelerate progress, he added.

“It is important in this complex journey that the process is inclusive, no country, no community, no company should be excluded from the process, otherwise the whole challenge of social inequality will only be accentuated,” Puri warned.

In this context, he said, “I think it is worth looking at how India has made exemplary progress in this area. India is on track to deliver on the NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) that India has It is, in fact, the only G-20 country capable of doing so.”

While India has made significant progress through targeted policy interventions, he said: “It has equally recognized the need for an inclusive process. The focus on SMEsthe focus on resizing, upskilling, I think the entire Indian digital stack provides the means for collaboration and inclusive growth.”

Tata steel CEO and General Manager TV Narendran agreed that there was a need for a sustainable future by involving all stakeholders.

“There are millions of people who work in the coal or fossil fuel ecosystem. How do you rescale those workers as you transition to renewable energy, or how do you make sure you deal with the socio-economic impact of the changes we are seeing in particular in developing countries, where the socio-economic impact will be immense,” he said.

He claimed that there are multiple areas that “we need to work on and I think it’s necessary to get into the details now and get to the milestones that we need to achieve in the next few years even as we reach the goals you’ve set for the coming decades.”

Calling the journey ahead “complex” with focus on many areas needed, Puri said: “It requires all of us collectively, in the G-20 and the global community to come together and find solutions in a collaborative way, while we keep our own promises.”

He cited the example of cooperation in the International Solar Alliance and said it brought the world together to harness the power of solar energy. “Likewise, there are many other areas where we need to work together, put our heads together and make progress,” Puri said, adding that corporations as major economic organs of society should take the lead.

He went on to say: “We (companies) are also users of many social resources. It is good that there is more interest, more trust among companies, but I think the movement needs to be made much faster, the movement needs to be made much more inclusive much more widespread.”

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