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Catalyzing institutions' journey to net-zero

Naveen Unni, partner and leader of the sustainability practice, India, at McKinsey & Company shares how untapped low-carbon business opportunities can help institutions create sustainable businesses and the beginning of their net-zero journey. 

Naveen Unni, Partner, McKinsey & Company.

Q. What will be the role of businesses in supporting India to meet the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) under the Paris Agreement? How should businesses navigate dependencies on supply chain partners, policy environment, and the broader business ecosystem, to drive change at an ecosystem level?

A: As per Climate Action Tracker, India is on track to meet its "fair share" range of NDCs under the Paris agreement, which is 2-degree Celcius compatible. However, this will not be sufficient to meet the 1.5-degree Celcius or below targets that the world needs. Businesses have a key role to play in helping achieve these targets – by first setting ambitious targets for themselves and by influencing the broader ecosystems in which they play to act to prevent climate change. Businesses can also be role models and influence the broader public and policy debates in India required to make change possible.

Q. What are the three key developments in the next decade which will enable India to accelerate its decarbonization journey?

A: The three key developments in the next decade that could enable India to accelerate decarbonization include:

  • Continued move towards renewable forms of power (including storage) and away from fossil fuel generation
  • Accelerated electrification of industry and mobility, and
  • Increased consumer and regulatory pressure to go green

Q.How has McKinsey & Company's commitment to climate action impacted your organization's overall business strategy?

A: We are committed to net-zero and aspire to be a leading catalyst and advisor to institutions on the journey to net-zero. We work in five main ways to deliver extraordinary impact for our clients and the planet: sustainability strategy and portfolio optimization, green business building, decarbonization transformation, net-zero financial institutions, and sustainable investing. We believe that working actively with organizations in helping them achieve net-zero is how we can best support the world getting to net zero.

Businesses have a key role to play in helping achieve these [climate] targets – by first setting ambitious targets for themselves and by influencing the broader ecosystems in which they play to act to prevent climate change.

Q. Can elaborate more on your work on sustainability in India?

A: Our work on sustainability in India focuses on creating a robust fact base and leading the conversation on decarbonization in the country while working with private and public sector organizations to create and deliver their ESG (environment, social, and government)/decarbonization strategies. We also work with portfolio companies and investors to fully understand their portfolio carbon footprint (scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions) and put in place a plan to make their portfolios more sustainable.

Q. As we face increasing climate vulnerabilities, what is your message to Indian businesses? How can we build our resilience and build back better for low-carbon growth across the country?

A: Our message to Indian businesses, as we come back from one of the biggest economic shocks this country has faced is: can we leverage this moment to create more sustainable businesses and a more sustainable world? New low-carbon business opportunities are springing up around the world, e.g. can we use our solar energy and long coastlines to create a successful green hydrogen industry? We have to be bold and creative to create the next generation of businesses to overcome this once-in-a-generation crisis.

Interviewed by The Climate Group, as a part of India's Road to COP26 Summit. Edited by Shraddha Kakade, Asst. Editor, ETN Magazine.

Author : Shraddha Kakade
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