Cities and Climate Action Workshop by Shakti and BIOCON

Biocon Foundation and Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation jointly organised a workshop on July 7, 2023 at Bengaluru aimed at establishing collaboration among CSR and Philanthropies to take concerted action addressing the challenges posed by climate change to the economic growth engines of India – our urban centres.

Indian cities are on the frontline of the climate crisis facing worsening air quality, extreme weather events (heat waves, linked to climate change, coastal flooding that can result in the loss of life and damage to economy.

It is crucial for cities to develop and implement equitable, inclusive, and sustainable pathways toward ambitious climate action to safeguard people and investments. The development pathways adopted by Indian cities in 2020-2030 will be decisive in determining the future of urban energy and emissions. Estimates suggest a doubling of urban population by mid-century, to reach 40 per cent by 2030 and 51 per cent by 2050.

With most of urban India yet to be built, cities have a unique opportunity to lock in low carbon and resilient development pathway. By adopting ambitious policy measures, Indian cities have the potential to address material consumption, environment and emissions.

The workshop hosted by Biocon Foundation and curated by Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation focused on highlighting the role that corporates and philanthropies play in supporting cities plan their climate action roadmap. The workshop was attended by diverse CSR and Philanthropies and urban experts. Watch video

The workshop discussed the groundwork for establishing a pooled-in framework that will enable philanthropies to collaborate and scale actions with stakeholders at the city, state, and national levels to:

  • Build leadership and unlocking institutional mandates for climate action in cities.
  • Build and implement ambitious sectoral climate policy/strategy, climate action plans.

Few essential takeaways and learnings from the workshop were

  • CSR funds are often directed towards specific projects. Programme approach is required to effectively address broader and long-term transformational needs.
  • Collaborative efforts between CSR organizations and philanthropies can jointly pursue a unified programmatic objective for the cities’ climate action. Essential pillars of such an approach are:
    • Aligned systems approach.
    • A shared vision- big comprehensive goal.
    • Coalition of entities with complementary skills and knowledge.
    • Efficient Framework for fund pooling and its deployment.
  • Encouraging behavioural change is imperative to ensure active citizen participation in climate action initiatives. Efforts should be directed towards fostering a mindset shift.
  • Further consensus building is required amongst philanthropies on the framing of narratives surrounding urban centres and the climate-related challenges they encounter.

Speaking about the significance of the workshop, Ms Maninder Kapoor Puri, Head of Human Resources stated, “Over the last many years Biocon has created an impressive portfolio of initiatives to address community issues. With increasing urbanisation, communities are best served by addressing urban issues.”

Dr Anupama Narayan Shetty, Mission Director of Biocon Foundation, stated, “the window to act for cities is now. The Biocon foundation is pursuing actively strategies for the convergence of ESG and CSR that support initiatives for urban city needs.”

Highlighting the importance of the workshop, Mr Manu Maudgal, Head of Corporate and Philanthropic Engagement, Shakti, said “Cities are growth engines of India’s economy. Nurturing low carbon growth pathways in cities can support economic growth, raise community and climate goals. Shakti offers effective pooled philanthropic partnership models to accelerate such growth pathways.”

Director of Climate Policy-Climate Finance at Shakti, Mr Shubhashis Dey emphasised, “Understanding and incorporating climate risk is now a necessity in urban communities and cities planning. This requires committing to developing use cases, that holistically address climate risk in a concerted manner for enhanced public good.”

Virtual Workshop by Shakti and BIOCON

Following the initial workshop held on July 7, 2023, at the Biocon Campus, which centred around comprehending the roles of corporate entities and philanthropic organizations in facilitating cities climate action, the Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation and Biocon Foundation have successfully orchestrated the second instalment in their virtual workshop series. This subsequent workshop, held on September 21, placed a significant emphasis on the strategic intervention domains for philanthropic and corporate entities to support the cities become climate resilient. Moreover, it fostered discussions regarding the collaborative framework within which these organizations can unite to bolster cities’ climate action initiatives.