As businesses and corporates undergoes a paradigm shift leveraging ESG measures to compute the ethical and sustainable impact of their investments, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) Centre of Excellence (CoE) for IoT & AI in collaboration with KITS (Karnataka Innovation & Technology Society) and Nasscom launched the 2nd edition of the Enterprise Innovation Challenge (EIC) with a focus on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals.
Initiated in 2021, EIC aims to leverage the innovations created by Indian entrepreneurs and nurture sustained engagements between innovative start-ups and enterprises. In the virtual inaugural session of the EIC Challenge esteemed panelists called for a greater role of technology in nation’s ESG goals. The use cases will undergo rigorous brainstorming and evaluation until the most commendable and cost-effective innovative solution is shortlisted. Interested entities will avail these solutions for augmenting, improving, and scaling up the ESG challenges defined by the enterprises
Calling for greater role of technology in achieving ESG goals, Mr Abhishek Singh, CEO, Digital India, MeitY, said “As we mature into a truly global economy, ESG will be one of the top priorities for our industry and for all of us. Recently at COP26, our Hon’ble Prime Minister made the net zero commitment and this will require each one of us, including government and the industry to put our best foot forward to ensure that we are able to put forward a sustainable agenda which not only takes care of our present day needs but also the needs of the future. Even in corporate governance, what we really need is that if our unicorns have to become real value adding companies and if our startups have to go up and become the best in the world, the adoption of ethical corporate governance standards become very important part of it. I am sure that the solutions coming out of the Enterprise Innovation Challenge will help not just corporates but also the Government.”
Besides Mr Abhishek Singh, CEO, Digital India MeitY, the inaugural session also saw the presence of eminent personalities like Ms Debjani Ghosh, President, NASSCOM; Dr Vibha Dhawan and Director General, TERI (The Energy & Resources Institute), Mr Arun Misra, CEO, Hindustan Zinc, Ms Mona Soni, Global Head of ESG Technology, S&P Global Sustainable1, Mr Sandeep Chandna, Chief Sustainability Officer, Tech Mahindra and other eminent industry experts.
In her inaugural address, Ms Debjani Ghosh, President, NASSCOM, said “Today ESG has become a top priority not just for governments but also for our clients, investors as well as for employees across the Tech industry. There has been a sharp rise in conversations around ESG, companies are not just becoming alert to ESG performance of vendors or partners that they are willing to work with, but investors also are using ESG as metrics to drive investments. In India alone, the assets under management for ESG funds rose by 2.5 times in just a year. From 275 million USD in Fiscal Year 20, the assets under management for ESG funds went up to 650 million USD in Fiscal Year 21”
Dr Vibha Dhawan, Director General, TERI (The Energy & Resources Institute) said “To move in the right direction for ESG, one of the most fundamental and crucial thing is mindset. As a society we need to adopt the right mindset to achieve our goals. From an industrial perspective, it is not only the production and processes but also the raw material which goes in which needs to be looked into from our ESG goals perspective.”
Mr Arun Misra, CEO, Hindustan Zinc, said “Judging companies by their ESG score has picked up immense momentum. In our industry Digital technologies are playing a critical role in driving ESG goals but it also has to involve society by spreading awareness around on these goals.”
Ms Mona Soni, Global Head of ESG Technology, S&P Global Sustainable1 said “More than ever, investors and companies seek evidence-based insights, high quality data and advanced analytics to support the decisions driving their strategies linking sustainability and business performance. Technology will be a key lever in accelerating progress and supporting innovation in this rapidly evolving ESG market.”
The MeitY initiative, in collaboration with KITS (Karnataka Innovation & Technology Society), Government of Karnataka and Nasscom which aims to foster innovation in the space, also presented some unique use cases like ‘Market transformation towards Sustainable Palm Oil’ establishing the linkage between sustainable palm oil and biodiversity conservation, climate and how it can help attract youth attention and possible action on this issue. Another use case by Novartis titled ‘Environmental sustainability – thermal renewable energy’ focused on looking for scalable and reliable alternatives to natural gas, diesel, and other carbon-generation sources to produce thermal energy. And the Use Case of Diageo ‘Accelerate to a Low Carbon World– Moving towards NET ZERO CARBON’ highlights its efforts towards achieving NET ZERO Carbon in its direct operations by innovative to reduce carbon in the value chain by 50%.