We organised India's Roadmap to Net Zero summit, a two-day event, in New Delhi on July 13th and 14th. This event brought together leaders from Indian policy, business and civil society to celebrate India's accelerated ambition and action on climate.
Building on India's net zero announcement at COP26, this gathering was held to learn from and mobilise subnational climate strategies and business action. More than 90 delegates participated in the event, with diverse representation from business, government, civil society and media. Attendees heard from influential speakers as part of four sessions spread across two days. The summit served as a call for Indian stakeholders to take further climate commitments and leverage Climate Group's global initiatives as levers for bolder climate action.
Video recordings of all the sessions are available here.
Opening plenary: State climate leadership in India
The Opening plenary focussed on the role of state climate action and leadership needed for India to achieve the 2070 net zero goal. Ameya Prabhu, Managing Director, NAFA Capital & India Advisory Group, Climate Group began the session with a welcome address. This was followed by a special address from Karuna Gopal Vartakavi, President, Foundation for Futuristic Cities; Independent Director, Engineers India Ltd; and National In-charge, Policy & Research, BJP Women Wing.
During the session, we launched a compendium of best practices on climate action from Indian states. Featuring 10 success stories, the compendium highlighted the leadership of subnational governments in unlocking barriers to climate solutions.
The launch of the compendium was followed by a panel on subnational climate leadership in India. The speakers reflected on the need for strong institutional structures and political leadership in states for driving climate ambition.
State representatives stressed the need to engage people, departments and stakeholder groups to ensure holistic sustainable development. They also highlighted the importance of multi-stakeholder partnership and collaboration with academic and technical institutions, civil society and philanthropic organisations. The panel also reflected on the necessity of a just net zero transition and deeper support to subnational governments at the centre of grantmaking strategies. To this end, Climate Group’s continued engagement with the Indian states through global knowledge exchange, peer-to-peer learning and technical support was appreciated.
A multi-stakeholder dialogue to catalyse state EV policies in India
The second session of the summit was a high-level multi-stakeholder dialogue on catalysing state Electric Vehicle (EV) policies in India. It was a key moment to hear multiple perspectives on such a vital lever in India’s clean energy transition with participants from the national government, state government, developmental agency and corporate on one platform.
The discussion highlighted the current state of play with respect to state EV policy implementation and the role of each stakeholder in accelerating the transition. The panellists applauded the leadership of states in this journey, reaping the benefits of policies and leveraging international collaboration such as the India-UK partnership for global knowledge exchange and technical support.
Another focus area was on using renewable energy to power EVs and why it makes economic sense to promote clean-powered electric mobility in the country to decarbonise the transport sector. Apart from governments, the critical role of businesses in accelerating the EV transition in the country was also emphasised.
Overall, a key takeaway from the panel was the importance of convening multi-stakeholder dialogues as an imperative to support India’s journey to net zero, with state-level EV policy implementation being one of the key levers.
Dialogue Series: Electrification of medium and heavy-duty vehicles in India
The third session of the day was the second episode of the Dialogue Series, which is part of the electrification of medium and heavy-duty (MHD) vehicles in India initiative (developed in partnership with pManifold Business Solutions). The session highlighted the prioritised use cases that have the potential to be electrified in the medium and heavy trucking space. The speakers also explored the technical and operational aspects necessary to define the transition.
A presentation on the key insights into the Indian truck market and its prioritised use cases was followed by an engaging panel discussion by eminent speakers on the use cases (the parcel/market goods, perishable goods and mineral loads). Representatives from sectors such as cement and agri-technology talked about the business viability of the use cases and opportunities in decarbonising their supply chain.
One of the key threads from the discussion was the lack of electric truck models in the MHD segment in India and the lack of interest among large automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in the segment. A possible solution that emerged was to encourage OEMs to follow a transport-as-a-service model rather than a product-only model.
Addressing the issue of the high upfront cost of e-trucks, the panel underscored the need for incentives through lower interest rates and long tenure loans. Also, the need for success stories in these use cases became evident in order to nudge truck operators and logistics service providers towards electric transition in this vital segment.
Launch of SteelZero in India: Building demand for net zero steel
On the second day of the summit, we launched SteelZero in India in partnership with ResponsibleSteel. The session brought together steel producers, policymakers, representatives from steel buying sectors and civil society. The tone was set by keynote addresses from the two guests of honour – Amitabh Kant, India’s Sherpa to G20, and Sajjan Jindal, Chairman, JSW Group and the World Steel Association.
In his address, Sajjan Jindal welcomed the launch of SteelZero in India as an initiative with the potential to send a strong demand signal for low carbon steel. He emphasised the importance of steel decarbonisation and the need for collective action from steel producers, consumers as well as policymakers.
Amitabh Kant used his address to make a passionate case for the adoption of disruptive technology and made a note of India potentially becoming the first country in the world to industrialise without carbonising. He highlighted that India could not fulfil its vision of becoming fossil fuel free by 2047 without the decarbonisation of steel and underscored the role SteelZero could play in this effort.
An engaging panel discussion followed the key addresses. Major takeaways that emerged from the session are listed below.
- Businesses are showing the urgency needed for climate action. Maersk has advanced its target of becoming carbon neutral from 2050 to 2040.
- Being more expensive to deploy deep decarbonisation technologies for the production of low carbon steel at scale was highlighted.
- The speakers acknowledged the important role of policymakers and consumers in supporting this transition.
- Companies such as Maersk and L&T discussed their willingness to pay a premium price to procure low carbon steel.
- From the government’s perspective, it was underscored that steel decarbonisation is a necessity to achieve emissions and steel production targets.
- Mandatory emission targets for the steel sector can be phased up.
- The need to determine the taxonomy for green steel in India was highlighted. ResponsibleSteel is playing a leading role in this area.
SteelZero in India is supported by the India Climate Collaborative, Stichting SED Fund and the We Mean Business Coalition.