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India's Road to COP26

43 cities and urban clusters from Maharashtra join Race to Zero; UltraTech Cement joins RE100

23 September 2021, 14:13 BST 2 min read

Climate Week NYC 2021 today witnessed two noteworthy announcements from a state government and a business in India to help accelerate climate action. India's Road to COP26 event, organised in partnership with the UK Government, which holds the COP26 presidency, brought together several critical influencers from government, corporate and wider society to examine how Indian businesses can take up the huge opportunities available in renewables, electric vehicles and an efficient, decarbonised industry.

Divya Sharma, India Executive Director at Climate Group, said at the event: “Far more needs to be done, in light of the recent IPCC report on climate change. Businesses, investors, governments and people will have to come together to check global temperature rise, keeping it within 1.5 degrees, and moving to a low carbon economy.”

43 cities and urban clusters from Maharashtra join Race to Zero

Aaditya Thackeray, Minister of Environment and Tourism for Maharashtra, while speaking at the event, announced that 43 cities and urban clusters from Maharashtra are joining the UN’s global Race to Zero campaign to reduce its carbon footprint, a majority of which comes from its urban centres. Previously, only five cities from the western state were part of the campaign. With a population of 112 million, Maharashtra is India's second most populated and second most industrialised state. In 2020, 45.23% of the state's population was in urban areas, compared to 28.22% in 1960, resulting in rapid urbanisation and industrialisation.

Aaditya Thackeray, Minister of Environment and Tourism for Maharashtra, said at the event: "Joining the Race to Zero campaign is our contribution to the global fight against climate change. We cannot keep emitting carbon. We don't have the luxury of time. Maharashtra will set an example of how subnational governments can act on climate change despite being a massively industrialised state."

Earlier this year, to strengthen its climate action plan, Maharashtra joined Climate Group's Under2 Coalition, a global community of nearly 260 governments committed to ambitious climate action in line with the Paris Agreement. Maharashtra is also the first Indian state to partner with the EV100 campaign to accelerate the uptake of its EV policy.

Bhumi Pednekar’s take on climate action

In an exclusive segment, Influencing India: Shifting Mindsets with Bhumi Pednekar, the actor and founder of Climate Warrior, spoke about the role influencers like her play in mainstreaming the conversation on climate action in India.

While talking about her initiative, Climate Warrior, Bhumi Pednekar highlighted the need for urgent action as a response to the climate emergency: “As an influencer, I think it is very important that everything about you reflects your take on the climate crisis. Your lifestyle choices, things you support, things you read, things you promote need to speak about the emergency that we are in, because we truly are in one.”

UltraTech Cement commits to RE100

During the event, UltraTech Cement, the largest manufacturer of grey cement, white cement and ready-mix concrete in India, announced its commitment to Climate Group's RE100 initiative with a target to meet 100 percent of its electricity requirement through renewable sources by 2050. Their RE100 commitment is the biggest by an India-headquartered company across all business sectors. 

E. R. Raj Narayanan, Business Head and Chief Manufacturing Officer at UltraTech Cement, said: "The RE100 announcement is in line with UltraTech's focus to institutionalise its carbon reduction initiatives through measurable targets and commitments. RE100 provides us with an opportunity to access knowledge on emerging technologies. These would help us fast track the transition to 100% RE for our electrical energy requirements."

Across all business sectors, UltraTech is among the top 20 RE100 members globally in terms of overall electricity consumption. And they join over 330 other companies globally that have joined RE100.

India's Road to COP26 event saw participation from several key speakers, including Ken O'Flaherty, COP26 Regional Ambassador, Asia-Pacific and South Asia, UK Government; Prashant Jain, Joint MD & CEO, JSW Energy; Seema Arora, Deputy Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry; and Vinod Rohira, CEO, Mindspace Business Parks REIT.

Earlier during Climate Week NYC 2021, Chalet Hotels became the first hospitality company globally to join Climate Group's RE100, EP100 and EV100 initiatives.