Corporate and Philanthropic Engagement

As India embarks to balance growth with sustainable development, it must be recognised that the developmental path undertaken by India has no historical precedent or ready lessons that can be drawn from developed countries.

India must carve out its own niche, become a harbinger of the new economic growth. The country’s victories and triumphs will lead the way for the developing world to pioneer pathways for sustainable economic progress.

The corporate sector is expected to shoulder the responsibility and take the lead in raising investments towards efficiency and clean technologies and deliver on the economic development paradigm. Substantive capital spending will be required over the next few decades to translate the low carbon development commitment to on-ground action. Estimates forecast that, India will need large, front-loaded funding (3.5–6 per cent of GDP) and that cumulatively, the nation will require over $ 2.4–3.5 trillion[1] (roughly $ 90–120 billion per year) for the required transitions to meet the current low carbon development  goals.

It is crucial that the Government develops and implements robust policies based on evidence and data, to enable and facilitate the flow of such investments. There should also be a focus on augmenting the implementation capacities of national and sub-national institutions on multiple themes.

The Challenge

Mobilising Domestic Philanthropic Capital

For transformation scale and size, India requires an increase in credible knowledge and policy research institutions. As a nation, there is a need to venture into unchartered territory; this will have huge scope for innovation, disruptive ideas, and game-changing paradigms.

The current global philanthropic flows directed towards India’s climate and clean energy are small—about $ 60 million per annum[2]. Although in recent years, domestic philanthropy has grown considerably to approximately $ 13 billion per annum[3], the funds flowing towards policy research do not attract much attention due to the lack of tangible short-term impacts. This is because domestic philanthropies have traditionally sought tangible social sector goals pertaining to activities in and around the community, workplace, and employees.

However, building knowledge capacities via policy research, especially at the sub-national level, is a necessary long-term investment. More pooled-in philanthropic capital needs to be brought onboard and directed towards strengthening institutional research capacities for evidence-based analyses; these institutional capacities must be nurtured and grown into credible knowledge providers.

Domestic philanthropic allocations, even if partially re-directed, can facilitate India’s sustainable transition by focussing on a few big bold transition bets that can unleash innovation at scale and speed. This will require incubation and support for national and sub-national institutional capacities and systems to enable policy and practice to act in concert.

Alongside, policy support, domestic philanthropy can also direct capital to support multiple — and even conflicting — ideas and solutions that can shape the marketplace of low carbon development led ideas.

Shakti seeks to actively engage with domestic philanthropies to develop programmatic interventions that enable the leveraging of expert knowledge to support decision makers.

Our Goals

Crafting a Philanthropic Pivot

  • Philanthropy is a means to an end.
  • Shakti offers bespoke solutions to climate and energy issues of national import.
  • Shakti is trusted for its minimalist approach and maximalist impact.

An in-house team established in Shakti actively develops an understanding of the value proposition that Shakti can offer to domestic philanthropy, including building a narrative to catalyse thought leadership and ecosystem towards India’s climate/clean energy transition, through:

Frameworks, instruments and platforms around which convergence and collaboration can be built.

  • For example, Making India’s Intellectual Infrastructure (MITTI), which seeks to develop a unique public-philanthropic platform to augment policy research in India.

Developing direct engagement with domestic philanthropies.

  • Interactions via public forums and one-on-one interactions are being explored and a few exclusive convenings are being planned to build trust and word-of-mouth recall for establishing Shakti as the go-to platform for efficient programme design and management.

Evolving a value proposition and narrative suited to domestic philanthropy.

  • Developing a deep understanding of philanthropic pain points and fund deployment priorities to evolve value proposition.
  • Showcasing Shakti’s impacts through curated narratives or alignment with suitable partners.

Shakti has registered with the with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to take up CSR initiatives.

[1] Decarbonizing India, McKinsey Sustainability, October 2022
[2] Estimate drawn from an analysis conducted by Climate Works Foundation
[3] India Philanthropy report, Bain India, 2023, CSR ($3.3 billion); Family Philanthropy ($3.6 billion)