Responsible Business Rankings
India’s Top Companies for
Sustainability and CSR 2021
Renewable energy (SDG 7)
With the push towards net zero and carbon neutrality, companies are opting for multiple measures to reduce their carbon emissions. One such widely adopted measure is use of renewable energy in operations which aligns with the GoI’s renewable energy target of 175GW by 2022 and 450GW by 2030.
Companies can utilize renewable energy in multiple ways to reduce their carbon footprint – a) establish captive renewable power generation facility, b) procure from power trading platforms or other green power generators, c) purchase renewable energy certificates (RECs) and/or d) use carbon credits from community projects to offset carbon in operations.
From our study of leading Indian companies, we find that companies mostly establish their captive renewable power generation facility for solar (both on-site and off-site) and biogas. For wind power, companies usually procure from a wind energy generating company through power purchase agreements and very few companies purchase RECs for carbon reduction. While manufacturing companies usually establish their own captive plant, many service companies in Information Technology industry reported that they procure renewable energy. Infosys has externally verified CSR projects that have resulted in 347,470 tCO2e offsets. The company plans to use these carbon credits to meet its carbon neutral commitment in future.
Indian companies utilize more than one form of renewable energy in their operations to manage their carbon emissions. Solar is the most deployed renewable energy source across almost all industries, except Consumer staples where biofuel is utilized by all companies by virtue of the nature of their operations. Many manufacturing companies also utilize waste heat as an energy source.
|Sector||Significant renewable energy sources used (% companies studied)|
|2019-20||Solar||Wind||Biofuel||Waste Heat Recovery|
Renewable energy is mainly used by companies in their core operations for lighting and power backup. Auto makers and consumer staples companies utilize it in their assembly lines and packeting centres, respectively. Some real estate companies include solar energy as part of landscaping in their residential and commercial projects. Banks find it very useful to power branches and ATMs located in remote places or where power failure takes place very frequently. And telecom firms like Bharti Airtel use it for their Main Switching Centres and Data Centres. In addition to the core application, some ancillary uses of renewable energy are for powering street lights, traffic signals in townships, canteen (solar water heaters, biogas, etc) and guest blocks.
- Avenue Supermarkets: 79 stores used solar power panels to meet part of their electricity requirement with a total installed capacity of 7 MW.
- J&K Bank: The Bank has taken the initiative of installing Solar PV cell based sources of power in its USBs at Ladakh, wherever feasible.
We observe that while renewable energy is widely adopted across industries, the disclosure as to its share in total electricity consumed in operations continues to be limited. Only 26 companies shared short-term targets to increase share of renewable energy in their operations. Most of them aspire to meet half of their energy requirement from renewable sources by 2030.
|Company Name||Renewable Energy Target|
|Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.||~15% by FY2022|
|Tata Motors||100% by 2030|
|Hindustan Unilever||100% from renewable by 2030|
|ITC||50% by 2030|
|L&T Infotech||50% by 2030|
|Tech Mahindra||50% by 2025|
|Adani Transmission||50% by 2025|
|NTPC||25% by 2032|
As a product or service offering
Given the potential of renewable energy to help mitigate global warming, companies across industries incorporate it in their product or service offerings too, where feasible. For instance, BEL manufactures solar cells for space applications; Havells manufactures solar and luminaries; Jaypee’s Hotel division utilizes solar water heater for guests; Shree Renuka Sugar has a power generation business from bagasse; and banks promote investments in renewable energy projects.
Utility companies are diversifying into solar, wind and biofuel projects, in line with the national commitment to generate 40% electricity from non-fossil fuels by 2030. NTPC has reduced coal consumption by co-firing with biomass and aims to blend up to 10% of biomass-based fuels with coal at coal-based stations.
Automakers have ventured into electric vehicles (EV) which has got a lot of push from the Government. Some of the recent policy changes are a) the approval of FAME-II (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles) scheme, b) the inclusion of automobile and components sector (including advanced chemical cell battery manufacturing) in the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme in Nov 2020 and c) the vehicle scrappage policy in February 2021. Over 14 Indian states have finalized or are in the process of finalizing EV policies that support the national electric mobility policies.
Auto makers have introduced EVs in various categories and are continuing to develop prototypes for more luxurious vehicles with advanced features. Marquee 2-wheeler manufacturers like Bajaj, TVS, Hero have released their e2W products in the market and have also invested in start-ups. Bajaj Auto has done a strategic investment in Yulu Bikes, a Bengaluru-based start-up that operates battery powered electric two-wheeler. Hero MotoCorp invested in a two-wheeler EV start-up - Ather Energy.
Along with direct sales of EVs, companies are deploying their vehicles in fleet services for faster adoption. Mahindra & Mahindra deployed 50 EVs on the Uber platform in Hyderabad and Tata Motors has tied up with Prakriti E-Mobility, an app-based EV taxi provider, to deploy Tigor EVs in New Delhi.
To fuel the development of EVs, component manufacturers are actively delivering on the new requirement through in-house R&D and/or collaboration. Bharat Forge bought stakes in Tork Motors and Tevva Motors and formed a 50:50 JV with REFU Elektronik GmbH to gain technical know-how in this domain and achieve a faster go-to-market strategy. Tata Motors has collaborated with Tata AutoComp for the localization of battery pack assembly and motor assembly.
E-mobility adoption has been influenced by the availability of charging infrastructure. We find a lot of momentum in this space with multiple industries participating in it. Energy companies with retail footprint (HPCL, BPCL and IOCL) are leveraging their existing facility to set up and expand the EV charging infrastructure. Utility companies such as Power Grid, Tata Power, Adani Transmission and CESC have set up few charging stations of their own and tied up with energy companies for utilizing their retail outlets. Indus Towers too aspires to leverage its spread of telecom towers to host EV charging stations. Separately, IT firm Tech Mahindra has built a platform called Intelligent Electric Vehicle Charging System (IEVCS) to enable customers to charge their electric vehicles and manage their EV’s power consumption.
In addition to public charging stations, Hero MotoCorp is exploring the opportunity to install charging stations at its customer touch points. And Tata Motors facilitates the installation and management of EV chargers across Jaguar Land Rover’s retail network of 27 outlets in 24 cities and at their customers’ residence or office.
With the increase in the EV uptake, battery recycling needs to be addressed. Here, Maruti Suzuki has established a mechanism for recovery of LiBs from the market, as well as their safe storage and scientific disposal. The Company has asked its dealers across India to return LiBs collected during service and has entered into an agreement with an international firm for recycling of the collected LiBs.
A notable mention on the demand side of e-mobility is the launch of the Tata UniEVerse, an entire electric mobility ecosystem—from charging infrastructure, battery cells, battery packs and electric motors, to financing options, customised for the needs of electric vehicle ownership.
Potential of EV in logistics is under-tapped by Corporate India
Though the e-mobility universe is developing and expanding, we find that corporate India is still testing EV’s potential to help reduce their emissions from logistics. Only 11 companies reported use of EV for movement within their facilities, employee commute and outbound logistics. Wipro became the first major Indian business to join EV100 and has committed to transition its global fleet to EVs by 2030. In 2019-20, they launched the program in four more cities and clocked 3.4 Million kms across 63,000 trips saving around 850 tons of CO2 eq.
|Company||EV in logistics|
|GMR Infrastructure||GHIAL is encouraging electric buses & cars for the passenger commuting and ground support operations at RGIA. 40 electric buses and a few electric cars were introduced by the Airport stakeholders.|
|Gujarat Gas||Started replacing its diesel driven transport vehicles with CNG as a fuel|
|HCL Technologies||CNG cabs for employees|
|L&T Infotech||CNG cabs for employees|
|Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone||Golf carts are also used instead of diesel driven cars|
|Tata Communication||Electric vehicles at Dighi campus, Pune|
|Adani Transmission||AEML has deployed six EVs to carry out its network management activities; has set up EV charging points at eight strategic office locations for its fleet|
|Tata Power||Electric Vehicles for internal transport within plant premises|
|Max Financial Services||Electric vehicle and carpool-friendly parking|
Bioenergy is a type of clean energy generated from organic matter, such as biomass, biodegradable agricultural & Industrial wastes, municipal solid waste, sewage/waste water etc. It is generated in the form of power and fuels like biogas, BioCNG, liquid biofuels, pellet/briquettes, etc. These find application as transport fuel, cooking fuel, heating in industries, etc.
GoI has five programs on biogas – Waste-to-Energy program, biogas scheme, national policy of biofuels, Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) initiative and GOBAR-dhan1.
Some companies generate biogas from their canteen food waste and utilize it for cooking, in place of LPG. Consumer staples companies utilize biomass in their boilers as a fuel and cement companies fire biomass in their kilns as part of waste co-processing. Indian Oil commissioned a 5-tonne per day bio-methanation plant at Faridabad in Sep 2019, which shall convert municipal bio-waste to CBG.
The national policy on biofuels and the SATAT Initiative together promote the development of green transport fuel – ethanol blended fuel, Compressed Bio-gas (CBG) and BioCNG. The revised biofuel policy 2018 aims to achieve 20% blending of biofuels with fossil-based fuels by 2030. It emphasizes on the promotion of advanced Bio-fuels (2G and 3G fuels) including CBG. We find that some of the leading energy companies (HPCL and IOCL) have initiated steps towards 2G and 3G bio fuels.
In response to these regulatory developments, energy companies have undertaken various projects. Some important ones are:
- HPCL has tied-up with start-ups which are engaged in constructing the agriculture supply chain for supply of surplus biomass and development of 2G bio-ethanol from agricultural biomass. Till Mar 2020, HPCL had released Letter of Intents for 51 CBG plants with total estimated production capacity of 76 TMTPA.
- IOCL plans to set up three 2G ethanol plants. It started dispensing CBG from two of its retail outlets under the brand name “IndiGreen”, with several more retail outlets earmarked for dispensing CBG across the country. The company is spearheading the Repurpose Used Cooking Oil (RUCO) initiative, which aims to produce biodiesel from used cooking oil.
- Adani Power’s Mundra operation implemented the pilot project to generate bio diesel from Micro Algal feedstock. Sample from first batch of biomass has been tested and analyzed.
Corporate India has many initiatives for utilizing renewable energy in its operations and products. But, they have very little disclosure on renewable energy programs for their supply chain. Most companies require their suppliers to comply with environmental norms, but less than 20 companies reported initiatives or guidelines that were specific to incorporating renewable energy in supplier operations. Automakers quantified the number of suppliers who have opted renewable energy and energy companies disclosed the number of solarized retail outlets.
Around 40% companies undertake or contribute to renewable energy projects for the community. These are usually for lighting (household/school/hospital/streets, solar lamps), clean fuel (biogas, solar electric chulhas, solar thermal chulhas, solar cookers, biogas plants), solar irrigation pumps, solar hot water system and solar dryers). J&K Bank donated a 14-seater battery operated vehicle to Sewa Bharti, a Non-Governmental Organization, for ferrying students from hostel to the school managed by the NGO at Katra.