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During the inaugural session of United Nations Global Compact Network (GCNI) 16th National Convention, ONGC CMD and GCNI President Subhash Kumar noted that realizing the promises of Target 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) require significant scaling up. Mr Kumar stated that, in the process, all stakeholders must act together to ensure that the benefits of development reach everyone, everywhere, leaving no one behind.

“The course ahead must be charted together, through a “whole-of-society” approach, building on partnerships with all stakeholders. I am hopeful, together we can progress as one and accomplish the SDGs on time,” said Mr Kumar.

Eminent panelists at the inaugural session of UN GCNI 16<sup>th</sup> National Convention
Eminent panelists at the inaugural session of UN GCNI 16th National Convention

The two-day UN GCNI 16th National Convention was virtually inaugurated on 15 December 2021, with the theme “Target 2030: Assess, Act, Accelerate”. Eminent speakers at the inaugural session included Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri, ONGC CMD & GCNI President Subhash Kumar, ONGC Director (HR) Dr Alka Mittal, Chief of Outreach and Engagement of UNGC Sue Allchurch and MD – Growth & Strategy – Sustainability, Accenture Vishvesh Prabhakar.

ONGC CMD Subhash Kumar mentioned that the UN Global Compact’s ‘Ten Principles’ – drawn from UN conventions and declarations in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption – offer foundational values and guidelines for adopting business policies in line with the responsible management. “On the other hand, the UN-SDGs provide powerful aspirations for improving our world, clearly laying out where we collectively need to go and how to get there. Clearly, there are primary linkages between the UN Global Compact Ten Principles and the contribution that these can make towards the achievement of the 17 SDGs,” he added.

GCNI President and ONGC CMD Subhash Kumar addressing the virtual gathering
GCNI President and ONGC CMD Subhash Kumar addressing the virtual gathering

Mr Kumar noted that especially in the post-COVID era, there is a need for sustainable development, and strategies to be adopted at par with the emerging ecosystem. “While we are on the course of building-back better after the pandemic, it is important for all of us to embed core principles of sustainability into our business strategy and translate into focused actions towards achieving the SDGs.”

Sharing his recent participation at major global energy events like the ADIPEC CEOs’ Roundtable Conference at Abu Dhabi and the World Petroleum Congress in Houston, Mr Kumar shared that there is near-unanimity among energy experts that the coming energy transition is meant to be totally different. “Besides, the Energy Transition which we are currently going through shall have to be an inclusive one, looking at the issue from the prism of energy poverty and addressing the critical issues of energy security and energy affordability,” he added.

He asserted that Indian companies, both public and private, have undertaken several policy measures to actively pursue UN 2030 agenda as well as the SDGs. He mentioned that ONGC, the largest oil & gas producing and a premier National Oil Company is an extremely responsible corporate citizen. “Our CSR activities strategically cover 12 out of 17 SDGs under various flagships initiatives.”

Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said UNGCN’s core principles have served as the guiding light for responsible, accountable and sustainable corporate governance across the world. He noted that businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights, uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation, undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibilities.

Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri sharing his message at the GCNI Convention
Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Minister of
Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri sharing his message at the GCNI Convention

Mr Puri lauded ONGC and GAIL for playing anchoring role in the UNGCNI’s operations and efforts. “Indian oil & gas PSUs spend around Rs 1600 crore annually as a part of their CSR efforts on key developmental areas like health, education, sanitation, etc. During the pandemic the energy sector made tremendous efforts in supporting Indian health sector in many ways like, supply of oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders, cold chain logistics, COVID-19 equipment, organizing vaccination camps, etc.” said the Union Minister.

Mr Puri further spoke about India’s five strategies contributing towards climate actions – Panchamrit i.e. a) India will take its non-fossil energy capacity to 500 GW by 2030; b) India will meet 50 per cent of its energy requirements from renewables by 2030; c) India will reduce the total projected carbon emission by 1 billion tonnes from now till 2030; d) India will reduce the carbon intensity of the economy by less than 45 per cent; e) by 2070 India will achieve the target of NetZero.

“Today India fourth in the world in installed renewable energy capacity. India’s no-fossil fuel has increased by 25 per cent in the last seven years and now it has reached 40% of our energy mix,” said Mr Puri. He also encouraged industry leaders to invest their resources in R&D to develop novel and low cost solutions for India’s greatest challenges.

ONGC Director (HR) Dr Alka Mittal noted that the 16th National Convention focuses on certain key areas which are critical for achieving the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development goal to uncover opportunities for all stakeholders to drive collective, cohesive and collaborative action towards gaining ground across the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“At the present times, the need to address issues like climate change, economic growth, equality, health, clean energy, etc. is more than ever. The pandemic has created a new normal with some negatives and some positives and the government and organizations had to address multi-faceted issues. However, the most positive outcome is that it brought us together through various different platform which gives us opportunity to collaboratively commit towards the SDGs and share our views on the same,” said Dr Mittal.

ONGC Director (HR) Dr Alka Mittal sharing the overview of the convention
ONGC Director (HR) Dr Alka Mittal sharing the overview of the convention

Dr Mittal stated that India being the world’s third largest consumer of energy, to achieve the targets of 2030, it needs to balance between its significantly increasing renewable power capacity and at the same time cutting down on the use of coal and crude oil, while ensuring the country’s energy need are adequately met.

“Good governance standards like transparency, accountability, responsibility and ethics are the basic pillars of organization’s growth objectives. Driving a strategy for the future and chattering through the challenges of the time requires very strong focus on sustainability and good governance,” she added.

Dr Mittal highlighted that the pressing need for India cooperation with developed countries for technology transfer, becoming more and more efficient in terms of energy usage, and favorable policies to support industry transition towards sustainability. “Business leaders should realize that there is a business value to sustainability in terms of cost-savings, lower risks, supply chain security, access to new markets, customer loyalty and overall enhanced brand value.”

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