In a world grappling with the urgent need for sustainable development, corporations in India are stepping up to champion climate literacy among their workforce. With a growing emphasis on environmental stewardship and corporate social responsibility, companies are investing in initiatives that nurture climate-conscious leaders and employees who can drive positive change. These endeavors address the challenges of achieving carbon neutrality, strengthening the commitment towards a greener and more sustainable future.
One notable example of such efforts is HCLTech's Sustainability School, a climate literacy learning series designed for its employees. Launched in November 2022 and designed by Axa Climate, the programme aims to raise awareness of the impact of climate change among HCLTech’s 220,000+ employees.The company is committed to achieving net-zero by 2040, a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement goals.
Accenture's 'Eco Action' initiative is making waves by encouraging staff participation through a competition called Sustainability Innovation Challenge, Eco-volunteering and through campaigns like Making Climate-smart Choices such as daily eco actions of shopping locally, reducing electricity consumption at home and committing to waste-free and meatless days.
Schneider Electric has launched the Schneider Sustainability School which offers an online training program where you can gain knowledge, take action and learn to incorporate sustainability as part of your business.
Internal programmes such as these when engaged regularly by employees have the potential to foster a sense of responsibility among them and build a green tribe within the big players of India Inc. Once the seed of sustainability is sown and the awareness is heightened, the climate knowledge would percolate down to decision-making on an everyday basis. For example, imagine a climate-conscious:
- Facility Manager keen on composting, reduce, reuse and recycle, who would ensure engagement with the right partners for responsible waste management.
- Procurement person, who would assess materials for their ability to be recycled or composted.
- Product Designer, who would recognize their prime role in building a circular economy and reduce waste generation from the point of design.
- Human Resource Department that would organize only zero-waste office parties and conferences!
By empowering employees to become integral contributors to the global sustainability agenda, these corporations are setting a remarkable precedent for the entire business community.
As this trend gains momentum, one can hope to witness more established organizations joining this list, further amplifying the impact of climate literacy in shaping a sustainable world. Together, with knowledge, awareness, and collective action, India Inc is poised to be a driving force in building a greener, more resilient planet for generations to come.
Hasiru Dala, the not-for-profit, has also launched its own initiative called Waste Workers as Climate Champions in India. Under this programme, waste pickers and other informal waste workers have been identified for in-depth training and capacity building on climate and environmental law. The project aims to enhance and protect the role of waste pickers in developing local and national agenda for waste management in India towards the adoption of sustainable Zero-Waste solutions for the waste and the climate crisis. At a larger scale, the Hasiru Dala team is seeking to promote a Zero-Waste system parallelly with Just Transition, by generating green jobs that support sustainable economies and build climate resilience at the levels of cities and communities.
The program has strategies planned for:
- Capacity-building for waste workers and waste pickers on environmental governance and climate advocacy.
- Development of a strong movement of waste pickers as climate activists and champions driving local and national climate agenda and solutions
- Partnership-building with national and international climate movers to amplify the call to mainstream the rights and issues of waste pickers in local and national strategies, program, and policy.
Through workshops and training programmes, the Waste Workers as Climate Champions Program is a first-of-its-kind initiative empowering them with the knowledge of climate change and to voice their rights on environmental matters.
The list can go on. Just as every organization can do their bit to go sustainable, every individual within the pursuit of their work can implement sustainable practices or make climate-conscious decisions if climate literacy becomes the norm.