Empowering Innovation in the Climate Space


  • Sumeet PopliCo-Founder and CFAccacia
  • Kunal PrasadCo-Founder and COOCropin
  • Rudra Dalmia, Co-Managing Partner, Green Frontier Capital 

As renewable energies gain widespread cost competitiveness across the world, developing an ecosystem of green fuels and industries is crucial and requires holistic thinking in terms of understanding inter-dependencies among physical and financial sectors of the economy. This panel discussed cross-sector public private partnerships and an innovation ecosystem required to support start-ups and new tech, and for the businesses to initiate dialogues and influence policy framework that enables de-risking and incentivising investments.

The session witnessed the three panellists talking about the solutions their firms provide along with the challenges they can spot and what the future looks like.

Given the real estate and infrastructure contributes to over 40 per cent of the global CO2 emissions, the moderator probed Sumeet Popli by questioning how Accacia is playing a role to alter and reduce this estimate. Sumeet Popli shared the basis of the concept of how Accacia is trying to integrate the entire ecosystem for the real estate sector. They are trying to develop a platform to help individual asset owners and developers understand CO2 emissions coming from the individual assets they own. Additionally, the platform seeks to bind all the science known in this field to estimate what needs to be done on their assets, accordingly, recommend decarbonisation strategies. Highlighting a genuine challenge, he added that the real estate sector lacks a mechanism to calculate the number of CO2 emissions manufacturers are generating on their product. He further highlighted that approximately 30 per cent of emissions are coming from the built environment, from the buildings we are sitting in. Once declarations come in from manufacturers, then the reduction and improvement process can take place.

Kunal Prasad discussed in detail the challenges he faced in 2010 when they wanted to connect with everyone at the grassroot level, however, the required level of technological progression had not taken place. Talking about the present scenario, he added that the agriculture sector understands the level of impact tech and digitalisation can create on banking, insurance, farming, reduction in risk, better supply chain management, awareness levels, and improvement in productivity for the small holder farmers.

Rudra Dalmia began by applauding the recently launched Green Hydrogen Mission as one of the most forward-thinking projects with optimal capital investment. Talking about the way forward, he cited one of the major bottlenecks as being a unit of measurement, to measure impact value. He argued, there is no real measurement framework out there, even for ESG. If one cannot measure it, you cannot change it. Further, he added that India needs to come out with its own standards, instead of following the international ones. Right incentives even for farmers can be created, only when impact can be measured. While commenting upon the value of PPPs in the climate change space, Rudra Dalmia added that there is a need to reduce the blended cost of capital for climate entrepreneurs, it can only happen if the government also steps in and cheaper green bonds can be attracted from other countries. Lastly, he termed the incentive schemes and PPP models followed both in Surat and Ahmedabad as best examples for India.

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Net Zero – What Role of Governments and What Role for Technology?

Sameer Sinha, Chair, India Green Building Council
Pathik Patwari, President, Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Achieving net zero is both a technological and a financial challenge. The decade is for the global south to come together and exchange knowledge, to upscale climate-friendly solutions towards a net zero economy. How can governments and institutions tap into the immense potential of new technologies to decode climate mitigation practices in both, rural and urban spaces?

Sameer Sinha started off by briefly discussing the Vision of the Future Report published in June 2022 highlighting the strategic partnership agreement between the Confederation of Danish Industry and the Indian Green Building Council. He shared how the study seeks to comprehend the impact of green buildings on the occupants of those buildings. The results showcase happier, healthier, and more productive individuals. Given the positive findings, the project has been extended for another four years. The next phase of the study seeks to quantify these findings and its impact on operations.


While commenting on the economics of sustainability, he added that it’s cheaper to be sustainable; cheaper to build, cheaper to operate. One must be sensitive and environmentally conscious if you want to conduct business in today’s time. The next generation is committed towards a far more responsible way of living. 80-90 per cent of the funds coming into India, are already mandated to be green. All the big corporations in India are all talking about ESG, financials are limited to just the last 2-3 pages.

Stepping into the conversation, Pathik Patwari added the industrial voice. He added that India is a country which worships the sun, water, and earth. The country does not need any preaching or teachings but a reassigning of the way we are conducting things. Further, he commented on how India is the manufacturing hub for the world and won’t shy away from taking up responsibilities regarding climate change mitigation. Applauding the support the Indian Government, and the State Government of Gujarat, is providing to start-ups and MSMEs, he added that well defined policies coupled with righteous fund management is helping to keep the carbon footprint in check.

Towards the end, in their concluding messages, Sameer Sinha talked about how the sector will witness immense growth soon. At the same time, more attention needs to be diverted towards water and exchange of knowledge, tech and research from other countries. Pathik Patwari commented that India is already developing and directing a multitude of policies towards the MSME sector and employing a bottom-up approach. Once the pyramid is stronger, percolation of technology and solutions will become smoother.

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The Current State of Affairs: Opportunities and Challenges for Africa

Keynote Speaker: His Excellency Dr Kandeh Yumkella Former UN Under Secretary General and Special Representative Sustainable Energy for All, Sierra Leone.

As international geopolitics and energy dependence influence the energy transition towards a green economy, we look at some of the policy shifts in African nations to attract major investments in green fuels and start-ups and the lessons to be learned.

When the question of the fuel price crisis across the globe came up during the World Climate Institute’s first Global Dialogue Series on Climate Leadership, H.E. Yumkella termed the current state of affairs in the energy sector in Africa as “concerning.”

He highlighted the impact Covid-19 has had on the African continent, primarily in the energy sector. “Investments in energy in Africa dropped by 30 per cent owing to the Covid-19 crisis and this has further slipped given the Russia-Ukraine war. Further highlighting how the lack of investment has crippled the transition to renewables and green fuel in Africa.

But all isn’t as gloomy as it seems”, he went on to add, focussing on the success stories of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda as shining examples in the bilateral and multilateral partnerships for transitioning to green energy.

His Excellency did not hold back on his criticism of the speed at which the transition is happening and the support the world is giving to Africa. He highlighted that only 2 per cent of the total renewable energy investments across the world come to Africa while the potential for solar and wind in Africa is highest across the globe.

He ended his remarks with a call for global investment in green infrastructure in Africa to further the efforts for fight against climate change.

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Global Green Transition and Global Green Economy


Barry Gardiner, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom and Director, Climate Parliament
His Excellency Freddy Svane, Ambassador of Denmark to India, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark

This session expanded on North-South strategies to tackle climate change, as well as the collaboration opportunities that need to be accelerated to bridge the gap of green transition. The conversation also highlighted India and Denmark’s partnership and initiatives for the future.

Highlighting the aspects which resulted in Denmark becoming a completely renewable-energy powered nation, His Excellency stated three factors: visionary politicians, research and development, and a proactive business sector.  He added these factors have resulted in a sustainable model. Commenting on the same theme in context to the UK, Barry Gardiner added that while they are not anywhere near Denmark, 43 per cent of power system in the UK is electrified via renewables. Additionally, there have been certain periods, wherein, they haven’t had any fossil fuels on the system.

When probed to comment on the opportunities between the Global North and South, His Excellency applauded the Green Strategic Partnership between Denmark and India. It’s envisioned in a way wherein the Danish skill sets and knowledge in the green transition space, support India across sectors to accomplish its domestic missions while greening the economy. In terms of the work being done at the Danish Embassy in India, His Excellency added that the diplomats are not limited to their office buildings but are going to the ground to better understand challenges, thereby, come up with the right kind of strategies to tackle the same.

The moderator then positioned a key question wherein she asked the panelists how we can bring those leaders and countries on board which might not always have the same outlook vis-à-vis climate change.

To this, Barry Gardiner added that we first need to acknowledge that we have a common problem. However, the world instead started off with pointing fingers at each other and played the blame game at COP 15 in Copenhagen. It only turned upside down at Paris, wherein the leaders realised that the solution does not lie in pointing fingers at others, but rather in voluntary commitments. The issue needs to be resolved together. Therefore, it is now about saying, yes, it’s a common problem but we have different responsibilities, which further need to be assigned through fair assessments based on both net carbon emissions and historic responsibility.

Towards the end, while summing up their thoughts, His Excellency added, “there is no solution to climate change at a global level without India’.

Shaping the Climate Vision: Initiatives and Delivery

Keynote Speaker: S.J. Haider IAS, Principal Secretary, Department of Climate Change, Government of Gujarat

India’s transition to green economy isn’t just restricted to its leadership and the vision but also on the implementation and delivery pathways.

The Gujarat Government has a dedicated climate change department since 2009 which has enabled the government to design policies that can transform the state into an inclusive model for augmenting climate change.

Speaking at the World Climate Institute’s first Global Dialogue series, titled, Global Leadership in Climate Action – Lessons & Opportunities, S.J. Haider, Principal Secretary, Department of Climate Change, Government of Gujarat spoke about what the state’s transition journey to a greener economy has been like to date. “45 per cent (19 gigawatts) of Gujarat’s energy is generated from renewables,” he explained, “More than 400,000 households have been installed with solar rooftops, something that moves the onus of transforming to renewables solely from the government to that with the population of Gujarat”

The schemes percolate far and wide and are aimed towards reaching the grassroots for transforming the energy ecosystem of Gujarat.

On all fronts, from sensitising people to research and development of new technologies, the Government of Gujarat is keeping no stone unturned in moving towards a net-zero target.” He added.

A case in point is Modhera, a village in Gujarat, which is also the first village in India to run completely on solar energy. The village serves as a model for other parts of the country to follow suit while also empowering the rural population in India to take the lead in the fight against climate change.

Bearing the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in mind, we need to design policies and scheme going forward to achieve the targets set at the Paris Agreement,” commented S.J. Haider while discussing the way ahead for governments to achieve the 1.5-degree celsius temperature rise limit set during the Paris Climate Summit.

He also mentioned the need to propagate India’s latest initiative LiFE, which was launched during COP28, across the globe to bring citizens under the ambit of policy design for climate change.

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Climate Leadership – What Now, What Next?

Keynote Speaker: Barry Gardiner, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom and Director, Climate Parliament

World leaders have been empowering initiatives and dialogues toward a low-carbon economy to further/boost climate action. With the world looking more and more to the south to lead on climate action and COP28 a year ahead, where do the future course of action and opportunities for collaboration lie?

The World Climate Institute’s first Global Dialogue Series on Climate Leadership hosted on 6 January 2023 in Ahmedabad, India kicked off on an incisive note around the leadership in the climate space. When asked to describe the current state of climate leadership in one word, Barry Gardiner termed it as ‘unscientific’. He added that as per scientists, there is a limit to the amount of emissions we release in the environment. However, the global leadership is acting as if we can stand up to the laws of physics. He further argued, we need to realise that we cannot argue with the planet. Additionally, the target setting mechanism vis-à-vis climate change mitigation commitments is a bit problematic. Often, either the targets which are set are not adequate, or when the targets are adequate; appropriate policies are not placed.

The world is already at the tipping point. Highlighting the impact of climate change in India, he pointed out the heatwaves and droughts the country has been experiencing. Additionally, India has lost 70 million hectares of productive land due to climate change, gravely impacting the farming population.

However, instead of painting a picture of doom, Barry Gardiner believes in bringing about change by going in public and motivating them by stressing upon the huge economic opportunities which come with the green transition. For example – relative costs of producing electricity via solar energy over fossil fuels.

Talking about the role of parliamentarians in this context, Barry Gardiner commented ‘they hold the government’s feet to the fire’. They hold the governments accountable vis-à-vis appropriate targets are set and ensure the countries meet these commitments.

Commenting on the kind of opportunities the African continent offers, he highlighted how COP 28 was built as an African COP, the influence and level of participation from African countries did change the outcomes.

Regarding the leadership displayed by India, he shared how India shaped conversations at COP28 for the better. Instead of phasing down just coal, India proposed to phase down fossil fuels at large. Additionally, with India at the forefront of global initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance, Barry Gardiner complimented the leadership role taken up by the countries from the Global South.

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World Climate Institute Meet calls on Leaders to Place Equity at Heart of Energy Transformation

The First Meet of 2023 on ‘Global Leadership in Climate Action’ under the WCI Global Dialogue Series was held in Ahmedabad

“We need leaders who will place equity at the heart of our energy transformation”: Hon. Barry Gardiner, Member of Parliament, UK at the World Climate Institute Meet in Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad, India, January 6, 2023: The World Climate Institute (WCI) hosted the first meet in 2023 on ‘Global Leadership in Climate Action’ under its Global Dialogue Series with the Hon. Barry Gardiner MP, Director of Climate Parliament and Former Shadow Secretary of State Energy & Climate Change for the UK Government, as the special guest. The event was organised in association with the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) and the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) and was held in ITC Narmada, Ahmedabad.

The other speakers were H.E. Freddy Svane, Ambassador of Denmark to India; S. J. Haider IAS, Principal Secretary, Department of Climate Change Government of Gujarat; Sameer Sinha Chair India Green Building Council; Pathik Patwari, President, Gujarat Chamber of Commerce; His Excellency Dr Kandeh Yumkella, Former UN Under Secretary General and Special Representative Sustainable Energy for All.

Climate Action, Innovation and Financing the Future

With COP27 having set the tone for the upcoming year, the event explored the leadership opportunities in climate action and how developing nations can take the lead in achieving Paris climate goals of limiting the temperature by 1.5 degrees Celsius. The event hosted wide-ranging conversations around leadership in climate action, innovation in the climate space, financing the future of green industries and speeding up the climate revolution.

The event began with a conversation with Barry Gardiner on Climate Leadership. Commenting on the event, he said, “The WCI dialogue made clear that the world needs urgent transformative action. Global leadership is not about setting targets and hoping someone else will deliver them. We need Leaders who will place equity at the heart of our energy transformation. That means ponying up the finance to meet the emissions reductions targets that will bring us in line with the Paris goal of 1.5degrees.”

Speaking on ‘Empowering Innovation in Climate’, H.E. Freddy Svane, Ambassador of Denmark to India, said, “Denmark is very proud of its collaboration with India in climate action as part of our Green Strategic Partnership. I am grateful to the World Climate Institute for bringing some of our groundbreaking initiatives to the forefront of global discourse. We look forward to deepening this relationship”.

Building Partnerships for Climate Action

Sameer Sinha, Chair India Green Building Council, added his remarks on innovation in the climate space and said,”Green Building is not just about construction, it’s about green, clean, safe and fulfilling lifestyles. This is very much also the message within Prime Minister Modi’s LiFE initiative (Lifestyle for Environment)” said the Chairman of India Green Building Council, Sameer Sinha.

“We are delighted to partner with the World Climate Institute to bring the full potential of global green business opportunities to our members, and thereby ensuring Gujarat and India positions itself at the cutting edge of innovation in clean technologies” said the President of Gujarat Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Pathik Patwari.

The Road to COP28

The meet addressed pertinent issues such as maximising value-creation by developing economies, policy incentives for green initiatives and role of governments and institutions to tap into the potential of new technologies to decode climate mitigation practices in rural and urban spaces. It concluded with an agenda-setting conversation on the road ahead, emphasising on how the road to COP28 looks like and who will be the key enablers and achievers in the current climate discourse.

About World Climate Institute

The World Climate Institute is a London-based think tank that advances equitable climate action through facilitating and implementing collaborations between governments, businesses and society. The Institute supports national governments in their endeavors to achieve their NDCs, SDGs, and their GFANZ and Paris Climate commitments. WCI maps policy synergies between governments, businesses and civil society to advance equitable climate action. The programs identify country specific objectives around three main thematic areas of energy generation & transition, energy efficiency & demand reduction, and land use change & adaptation.

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