Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members


Given that CEOs play a central role in every organization, very few have reacted to this massive shift towards an emphasis on ESG principles. Over the years, companies need to look at ESG investment as more than a cost or a loss in profits. There are several reports that show how companies are making their plans in silos without having concrete goals and actions to turn the pledge into progress, while some major firms are transitioning faster into a net-zero future than others.

Nadir Godrej, the retail scion and model industrialist and veteran, continues to serve as an inspiration to budding merchants with his tremendous contributions to the Indian industry. He is the Chairman of Godrej Industries Ltd. and Godrej Agrovet Ltd. He has developed the animal feed, agricultural inputs and chemicals businesses of Godrej Group and has been very active in research.

He is deeply committed to the Good and Green strategies and achievement of set sustainability targets for the Godrej Group. He was in conversation with Queenie Nair, ET Edge Insights as he divulges his outlook on ESG goals and the future towards net-zero.

Could you tell us about your passion and your journey of taking India towards a net zero?

Since we purchased land in Vikhroli and began protecting the mangroves there, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been a top priority for our firm. The environment and social responsibility have played a significant role in our group because my uncle Zorab was an environmentalist and actively participated in the founding of the Tiger Project. I became heavily involved in the development of our Good and Green Program in 2010, which had as one of its goals carbon neutrality, and we discovered that we were frequently saving money as a result. The high utility rates, the price of diesel, the price of carbon, and other hidden costs in India make our task quite simple. It is all good, and I am confident that you can manage your corporate social responsibility in a way that advances both business and society. We also have mandatory Corporate Social Spends, which required us to spend 2% of our profits. We use these Spends to have multiple Social Spends as well as some Business Benefits.

What kind of forward-thinking do corporate leaders require to drive ESGs within their organizations?

They must be persuaded that doing the right thing is not just morally correct, but also financially advantageous, and they must come up with clever ways to benefit society, business, and the environment. All of this is doable; it simply takes effort and careful consideration.

Being environmentally aware is important because it helps you identify the problems that need to be addressed and, once you do, finding solutions becomes much easier. The earlier issue was that we weren’t considering them.

What is that one big learning you have had from your journey? What is it that you really learnt throughout the process?

Energy efficiency offers the best returns. Where are the projects with a lesser ROI, I would constantly ask the teams as I observed every energy efficiency project had a 100% ROI. That is where one ought to begin. Green energy is the finest, but I’m still unsure if we or the nation are doing enough to promote it. As I previously stated, non-green energy in India is significantly taxed, and there is a hefty carbon tax on petrol.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members