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India Inc spent 1 trillion on CSR over seven years

Rajesh Verma, secretary in the ministry of corporate affairs, said investments in ESG will play a key role in not only meeting the $5 trillion economy goal, but also sustainable development goals (SDG) by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2070.Premium
Rajesh Verma, secretary in the ministry of corporate affairs, said investments in ESG will play a key role in not only meeting the $5 trillion economy goal, but also sustainable development goals (SDG) by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2070.

  • Funding sustainable development and environment key to meeting socioeconomic goals, says Rajesh Verma, secretary in the ministry of corporate affairs

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Indian companies have spent more than 1 trillion in corporate social responsibility (CSR) since the framework for corporate spending on community came into force in 2014-15, Rajesh Verma, secretary in the ministry of corporate affairs, said.

Investments in sustainable development and environment will be key to meeting India’s socioeconomic goals, Verma said at industry lobby Ficci's environment, sustainability and governance (ESG) summit on Wednesday.

 Verma said investments in ESG will play a key role in not only meeting the $5 trillion economy goal, but also sustainable development goals (SDG) by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2070.

Verma said the ministry will continue to offer an enabling environment for companies to become globally competitive and be aligned with the SDG goals.

“The current and emerging challenges facing humanity—Covid-19, climate change, resource scarcity and growing inequality—have taught us that an interdependent world can only survive and thrive if everyone behaves responsibly and is accountable to each other. With several companies being larger than even some nation states in terms of turnover, the responsibility of businesses to stakeholders will only increase in coming years," Verma said.

“Covid 19 has reaffirmed that businesses have to be inclusive and sustainable. It has provided us an opportunity to revisit our relationships to the nature." 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Tuesday urged lenders to fund projects aligned with national priorities such as net zero emission. 

Modi said these challenges have taught the importance of not remaining in silos, becoming resilient, acting responsibly and fostering inclusiveness and sustainability.

Citing an RBI bulletin of October 2021, Verma said the global issuance of green bonds had surpassed $250 billion in 2019.

“That means, about 3.5% of total global bond issuance, which was more than $7 trillion, was green bonds. Overall, developed economies have contributed the major part of green bond issuance but among emerging economies, India occupies the second spot after China in the cumulative emerging market green bond issuance," he said, highlighting the growing role of green finance.

Verma said India has made improvements in NITI Aayog’s SDG India index in spite of the pandemic. India’s performance in that has improved from an overall score of 57 in 2018-19 to 66 in 2020-21, which means the distance to be covered to reach the goal has reduced, Verma said, adding that many companies are also making CSR spending in excess of the statutory requirement under the Companies Act. 

The law allows credit for the excess spending in a year which can be set off against future spending obligations.

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