India outperforms global average in UN sustainability goals

Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri on Friday said while significant portions of the world struggle with access to clean water and sanitation, India has made remarkable strides in addressing these issues.

Despite the vast financing gap in achieving sustainability goals, he said, adding that India has been proactive in mobilising resources and implementing impactful initiatives.

While speaking at the UN Global Compact Network India’s (UNGCNI’s) 18th National Convention, he highlighted the remarkable progress made by India in achieving SDGs in the last decade.

Emphasising on the correlation between India’s and Sustainable Development Goals’ success said, “If India succeeds, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will succeed. And if the SDGs are to succeed, India has to succeed.”

India is the most populous nation in the world, has the fifth-largest and fastest-growing economy, and is fast becoming the most preferred investment destination. “Outcomes in India will determine the outcomes of the world.”, he noted.

The Minister said that over 250 million people have been lifted out of multidimensional poverty, a testament to the nation’s commitment to inclusive growth.

He said that the Missions such as the Swachh Bharat Mission, and AMRUT have utterly and totally transformed the water and sanitation landscape of the country, making it open defecation free. With rigorous 3rd party verification, these achievements are not just self-proclaimed but backed by solid evidence, he added.

Talking about the efforts of the Government towards women empowerment, Puri said that so far, all the schemes in India have been women centred but now there has been a shift towards women led schemes. He mentioned the historic Women’s Reservation Bill introduced last year to ensure an equitable participation of women in political processes.

The Minister also spoke about India’s progress on its sustainability targets. Referring to the outstanding journey of ethanol blending in the country, he said that in the case of ethanol blending in petrol and diesel, we had set a target of 20% blending by 2030, but we had to bring it forward to 2025-26 because of the outstanding progress made.

He also mentioned the efforts of the Government towards building an enabling ecosystem for emerging technologies such as battery energy storage systems, green hydrogen electrolysers, e-mobility, and waste-to-energy through manufacturing incentives and innovative financing policies. He said that India’s net zero target of 2070 will be achieved before the deadline.

Along with the Government, the Minister acknowledged the role of the private sector including businesses and industries in achieving SDGs. Combining purpose with profit can generate a unique competitive advantage to meet the expectations of consumers, investors, and employees, he said.

The minister highlighted that the reputations of businesses are now linked to their public commitment to the SDGs, both for investors as well as for consumers. Not just consumers, even investors are increasingly paying attention to environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks when making decisions, he noted.

He acknowledged the contribution of impactful Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives in pushing the SDG agenda forward. However, he said that CSR is not enough by itself. It is just the beginning. If companies and businesses are to create meaningful change, they must look at incorporating sustainability in their operations as well, he said.

He mentioned the example of ONGC which has integrated sustainable practices into its core operations to enable a reduction in Scope-1 and Scope-2 emissions by 17% in the last five years of its operations.

The convention was held under the theme “Advancing Sustainable India: Driving Change with Forward Faster 2030”.

Arun Kumar Singh, President, UN GCNI and Chairman and CEO, ONGC; Isabelle Tschan (Shan), Resident Representative, UNDP India; and Ratnesh, Executive Director, UN GCNI were among dignitaries present at the event.

Tags: Hardeep Singh Puri, India, Sustainability Goals, UNGCNI
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