The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Centre of Excellence (CoE) for IoT & AI, in collaboration with KITS (Karnataka Innovation & Technology Society) and IT industry’s apex body Nasscom on Friday launched the second edition of the Enterprise Innovation Challenge (EIC) with a focus on the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals.
Initiated in 2021, EIC aims to leverage the innovations created by Indian entrepreneurs and nurture sustained engagements between innovative startups and enterprises.
During the virtual inaugural session of the EIC challenge, panellists called for a greater role of technology in the nation’s ESG goals.
Abhishek Singh, CEO, Digital India, MeitY, said that as we mature into a truly global economy, ESG will be one of the top priorities for our industry and for all of us.
“Recently at COP26, our Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the net zero commitment and this will require each one of us, including government and the industry to put our best foot forward to ensure that we are able to put forward a sustainable agenda which not only takes care of our present day needs but also the needs of the future,” Singh elaborated.
“Even in corporate governance, what we really need is that if our unicorns have to become real value-adding companies and if our startups have to go up and become the best in the world, the adoption of ethical corporate governance standards becomes a very important part of it,” he added.
According to Debjani Ghosh, President, Nasscom, ESG has become a top priority not just for governments but also for our clients, investors as well as for employees across the Tech industry.
“In India alone, the assets under management for ESG funds rose by 2.5 times in just a year. From $275 million in FY20, the assets under management for ESG funds went up to $650 million in FY21,” said Ghosh.
Dr Vibha Dhawan, Director General, TERI (The Energy & Resources Institute) said that in order to move in the right direction for ESG, one of the most fundamental and crucial things is mindset.
“As a society we need to adopt the right mindset to achieve our goals. From an industrial perspective, it is not only the production and processes but also the raw material which goes in which needs to be looked into from our ESG goals perspective,” she emphasised.
The MeitY initiative also presented some unique use cases like ‘Market transformation towards Sustainable Palm Oil’ establishing the linkage between sustainable palm oil and biodiversity conservation, climate and how it can help attract youth attention and possible action on this issue.
“Judging companies by their ESG score has picked up immense momentum. In our industry, digital technologies are playing a critical role in driving ESG goals but it also has to involve society by spreading awareness around these goals,” said Arun Misra, CEO, Hindustan Zinc.
According to Mona Soni, Global Head of ESG Technology, S&P Global Sustainable, technology will be a key lever in accelerating progress and supporting innovation in this rapidly-evolving ESG market.