Charting a sustainable course: The green credits journey - Hindustan Times

Charting a sustainable course: The green credits journey

ByHindustan Times
Oct 03, 2023 01:19 PM IST

This article is authored by Shailendra Singh Rao, founder, Creduce.

India's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have surged significantly in recent years due to a rapidly expanding population and a booming economy, making India the third-largest contributor to GHG emissions globally. To mitigate the growing environmental concern, the Green Credits programme has emerged as a pivotal initiative to promote sustainability and combat climate change.

That's the finding of researchers at Colorado State University who say booming indoor marijuana production in the United States is a major and growing source of greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.(Unsplash) PREMIUM
That's the finding of researchers at Colorado State University who say booming indoor marijuana production in the United States is a major and growing source of greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.(Unsplash)

The Green Credits programme is a revolutionary concept revolving around the idea of quantifying and trading environmental benefits. It allows individuals, organisations, and governments to invest in and support initiatives that reduce greenhouse gas emissions conserve natural resources and promote sustainable practises. Green Credits can take various forms, such as carbon credits, renewable energy certificates, and water quality credits. These credits represent tangible evidence of positive environmental actions.

The Green Credits programme plays a pivotal role in advancing sustainability. By placing a financial value on environmentally friendly actions, it incentivises individuals and businesses to prioritise sustainability in their operations. This not only leads to a reduction in carbon emissions and resource consumption but also fosters innovation in green technologies and practises.

Furthermore, sustainability is closely linked to global efforts to combat climate change. Green Credits contribute to greenhouse gas reduction goals set by international agreements such as the Paris Agreement. They provide a practical means for countries and organisations to meet their emission reduction targets while simultaneously promoting economic growth.

The concept of Green Credits has evolved over time. The roots of the Green Credits concept can be traced back to the early days of environmental awareness and conservation. In the late 20th century, as concerns about climate change and environmental degradation grew, there was a need for innovative solutions to address these issues.

The first iterations of Green Credits focused primarily on carbon reduction. They were developed as a response to the growing recognition of the role of carbon dioxide emissions in climate change. These early carbon credits aimed to incentivise businesses and individuals to reduce their carbon footprint by offering financial rewards for emissions reductions.

Over the years, the concept of Green Credits expanded to encompass a broader range of environmental benefits. Today, Green Credits can represent actions such as the preservation of biodiversity, the restoration of ecosystems, and the promotion of clean energy sources. This evolution reflects a growing understanding of the interconnectedness of environmental issues and the need for comprehensive solutions.

The Green Credits programme offers a range of compelling benefits. It provides individuals and organisations with the potential for financial incentives, helping offset the costs of eco-friendly projects and creating additional income streams. Furthermore, participants can take pride in their contributions to environmental conservation, including carbon reduction, habitat preservation, and water quality improvement.

For businesses, engagement in the programme showcases corporate responsibility and a commitment to sustainability, enhancing reputation and attracting eco-conscious customers. Additionally, Green Credits supports compliance with environmental regulations and emission reduction targets while also granting access to a growing sustainability-focused market. The programme's emphasis on eco-friendly solutions fosters innovation and research in sustainable practises and technologies.

Moreover, it appeals to consumers who prioritise sustainability, potentially boosting sales. Most importantly, participation in Green Credits reflects a global collaboration effort to combat climate change, uniting individuals and organisations in a shared commitment to a more sustainable future.

The Green Credits programme, like any initiative, faces its share of challenges and criticisms. Common concerns revolve around carbon offset integrity, where sceptics question whether offset purchases might lead to a false sense of emissions reduction; additionality, with doubts raised about whether credited actions would have occurred anyway; verification challenges, varying in rigour and reliability; market manipulation risks affecting credit prices; equity and access disparities favouring larger corporations; programme complexity hindering engagement; and questions about the long-term sustainability of environmental benefits. Recognising these concerns is crucial, as it paves the way for continuous improvement and transparency within the Green Credits programme, addressing these challenges to maximise its effectiveness.

The Indian government has been actively promoting the Green Credits Programmeme through various policy measures. This support includes tax incentives, subsidies, and regulatory frameworks that encourage participation. On June 27, 2023, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) released a notification for the draft Green Credit Programmeme Implementation Rules 2023. The notification outlines plans for a nationwide Green Credit Programmeme aimed at harnessing a competitive, market-oriented strategy for Green Credits. This initiative is designed to encourage voluntary environmental efforts from a range of stakeholders.

The world of Green Credits is evolving with technological advances like blockchain and IoT enhancing transparency. Green bonds will align more with Green Credits, offering funding for eco-projects. Recognition of natural capital's value will broaden Green Credits' scope. Circular economy credits, tied to recycling and waste reduction, may rise. Decentralised finance and blockchain enable easier participation, and expanding Green Credits in developing nations can transform sustainability and poverty alleviation.

India made a visionary commitment to attain zero carbon emissions by 2070 during the November 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) summit, to reduce emissions by one million tonnes over the next decade. Going forward, Green Credits emerge as the catalyst poised to usher in the era of zero carbon emissions, driving forward global environmental conservation and sustainability. Their ongoing expansion and transformation hold the key to crafting a future where our planet thrives, becoming greener, more inclusive, and more sustainable than ever before.

This article is authored by Shailendra Singh Rao, founder, Creduce.

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