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View | How businesses can implement circular economy practices for a greener tomorrow

View | How businesses can implement circular economy practices for a greener tomorrow

View | How businesses can implement circular economy practices for a greener tomorrow
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By CNBCTV18.com Contributor Nov 9, 2022 11:15:47 AM IST (Updated)

To work towards a greener and more sustainable tomorrow, it is imperative that we completely move away from a linear to a circular model, which will also help harness the numerous economic and ecological advantages associated with it.

Moving from a model that “takes, makes, and wastes” to one that “reuses, recycles, and repairs” is a significant but necessary transition for India. 

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India has embarked on the path towards advancing its journey from a linear to a circular economy with a focus on recycling, restoration, and regeneration. To expedite the transition, the government has established 11 committees that focus on specific areas ranging from e-waste to hazardous materials to agricultural and municipal waste, lithium-ion batteries, solar panels and end-of-life vehicles, etc. 
To work towards a greener and more sustainable tomorrow, it is imperative that we completely move away from a linear to a circular model, which will also help harness the numerous economic and ecological advantages associated with it. It is estimated that its adoption in India will result in yearly benefits of $624 billion by 2050 and a 44 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. 
Adopting favourable policies and initiatives
Every successful journey has a destination. This is why every business must set sustainability goals and commitments that are SMART — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
While the goals should be set in line with business priorities and employee engagement, they cannot be achieved alone. With strong sustainability policies and synergy between partners, it’s easier to work towards solutions. Moving to circular models is a collaborative effort and whether with NGOs, industry, government, or academia, building partnerships can enhance the reliability, repairability, and useability of green products and practices. 
We know that operational sustainability is achieved by moving to renewable sources. So, with solar and wind in abundance, businesses can set a target of 100 percent renewable energy to power offices and data centres. Companies should also consider undertaking waste management initiatives such as converting food waste into biogas or enhancing water conservation. 
Another important aspect is water recycling and restoration. It is estimated that a person in urban India needs up to 135 litres, and in rural India, up to 55 litres of water per day for basic requirements. Going by this data, the 380 million litres of water that Intel India restored in 2021, which is four times our water consumption, can meet the water needs of about 8,000 urban people or 20,000 rural people for the entire year. While it’s a small contribution towards the bigger goal, it’s imperative for us as industries and companies to rapidly enhance water restoration. 
Driving sustainability by leveraging technology 
Technology can act as a catalyst in accelerating India’s transition to a circular economy. Each of India’s sustainability goals for 2030 — to reduce the carbon emissions intensity of GDP by 45 percent from 2005 levels and to enhance non-fossil fuel-based energy capacity to 50 percent — is achievable with the technologies currently at our disposal.
The future of a sustainable and efficient data centre hinges on innovative technologies like immersion liquid cooling. Data centres represent approximately one percent of the global electricity demand and account for about 0.3 percent of global carbon emissions. Research shows that immersion cooling with energy reuse could reduce carbon emissions by 45 percent compared to traditional data centre usage.
Moreover, by leveraging technology, we will also see innovation in design and engineering, material sourcing, and manufacturing, which will pioneer more sustainable products generation after generation.
Accelerating India’s sustainable future
The bottom line is that it is imperative to do more, and with greater urgency, to enable India to meet its 2030 goals. More than anything, we must protect our planet, but there is a strong business case for it too. Improving sustainability can increase operating profits by as much as 60 percent, which goes hand in hand with the finding that 81 percent of global consumers strongly feel companies should help improve the environment.
Sustainability is a long-term, hard-fought commitment that will benefit everyone in every corner of the world. Every country and every organisation has its part to play, and they must work together to drive change. India’s sustainable development goals are achievable, but it is up to us how soon we get there.
— The author, Nivruti Rai, is the Country Head at Intel India. The views expressed are personal.
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