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August - September 2006

Business Forum

UK Minister Engages Indian Business Leaders on Climate Change

On Monday 26th June 2006, Labour Friends of India (LFIN) hosted an agenda-setting meeting on climate change with Barry Gardiner MP, Minister for the Environment and The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in the House of Commons.

At the roundtable event, British Parliamentarians, business representatives and experts, interacted on what is rapidly becoming the hot topic of the day - climate change - and the role played by the world’s fastest growing economy in driving forward the low-carbon economy of the future.

The importance of this debate was emphasised by Stephen Pound MP, Chairman of Labour Friends of India, who commented “We believe that engagement with Indian business is extremely important if we are going to make progress on issues concerning the environment internationally. Not only is this is a view vigorously espoused by UK government but is driven by the knowledge that as India’s industrial power increases, she must also be seen to be balancing the effects of this growth with steps to mitigate the effects of economic expansion on the climate. As friends of India, we are encouraged that India is using her increasing influence on the international stage, and the opportunities afforded under the Kyoto Protocol to be at the forefront of research under the Clean Development Mechanism option.

Mr Pound continued, “Although India is not party to any specific commitments to reduce emissions, she is committed to undertaking voluntary projects and it is this commitment which we welcome. We also welcome the immense opportunity that this poses to India’s business leaders, and urge them to continue embracing the challenge of helping to turn the government’s long-term goals into a short-term reality.”

Mr KB Shankar, Head of South Asian Banking at HSBC Bank and Event Sponsor also spoke of the role that Indian business has to play in India’s efforts to tackle climate change. He said “Corporates, by incorporating the environmental agenda in their decision making process, can encourage innovation and take many small steps to change human behaviour in their personnel and customers, highlighting the influence that business can have on the public’s attitude to their environmental obligations.” Mr Shankar highlighted that HSBC became the first global bank to achieve carbon neutrality and two weeks ago was named as the winner of the FT Sustainable Banking Awards in recognition of its leadership in merging social, environmental and business objectives.

Mr Vikas Pota, Managing Director of Saffron Chase added “There exists an opportunity for Indian business to be at the forefront of the development of clean and efficient technology. Realising this opportunity will be the key to continued and sustainable economic growth. It is vital that Indian business receives the international support it needs for the development and transfer of clean technology.

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