Blog 1 – EU Excellence in India – catalysing sustainability through business activity and collaboration

EU Excellence in India –

catalysing sustainability through business activity and collaboration

The on-going pandemic, CoVID19, has put the world in a mode of crisis. At the same time, this transition to the ‘new normal’ currently also brings about disruption and a reset focus. Never before, in recent history, has there been more awareness and acceptance globally for the importance of creating more sustainable, resilient, just and hence greener models that define the way we live, do business, run governments, develop partnerships, and strike global alliances.

From our distinct perspective and lens of the Business Support Project – aiming to increase and foster business collaboration between EU companies and Indian counterparts in areas of on-going policy dialogues between both economic regions – this current paradigm shift across levels is a chance and opportunity for the EU and India business communities to take the next leap.

The EU Excellence in India

A decisive factor for being able to seize this chance, though, is to particularly support businesses who are committed to sustainability whilst also making a real impact, by creating prosperity.

The EU Excellence in India Programme was launched in January 2020 by the Business Support Project. It was done in close coordination with the European Union Delegation to India and EU Member State representatives as well as bilateral chambers, with a view to help utilise synergies among EU businesses which are committed to set climate and sustainability targets across their operations and value chain(s). The programme brings together EU businesses well-established in India, creating an exclusive group of ‘EU business champions’ across sectors.

Launch of the Programme at the World Sustainability Development Summit, 29th January 2020, New Delhi

Sustainability a catalyst for new business opportunities?

Those ‘champions’ are committed to innovative technologies, solutions, business models as well as value chains that are based upon the principles of sustainability revolving around non-exploitative, effective and viable consumption and utilisation of (renewable) resources without compromising on prosperity. This is a capability that is specifically being cultivated and evolved in the EU at various levels, and recently reinforced by the Green Deal Strategy (2019): ‘striving (Europe) to be the first climate-neutral continent’[1]

According to the Corporate Knights Global 100 annual ranking (2020)[2], 49 out of the 100 most sustainable companies globally are headquartered in the EU. Their performance with regard to resource management, financial management, employee management as well as ‘clean revenue’ (percentage of total revenue derived from ‘clean’ products and services) stands out in the global comparison.

Interestingly, a high commitment to sustainability does not imply any financial draw-back or even loss of competitive advantage as the ranking shows that those corporates also perform extremely well when it comes to profit generation.[3]

The EU Excellence in India Programme brings together exactly such leading business forces and already has eleven companies on board with many more in the process of joining the programme and its various collaboration-centric activities.

The concept behind the EU Excellence in India draws upon two key components of the new EU Strategy with India: 1) jointly tackling global challenges through a focus on sustainable development and the implementation of the Paris Agreement and 2) collaboration towards new business opportunities.[4]

When looking at these two aspects in the context of EU-India cooperation the strategic imperative of canalising efforts for supporting business activities in the field of sustainability becomes evident. The current challenges at a global scale underscore the significance of a partnership like the one persisting between the largest single market in the world and an emerging economy like India which shares core values and strategic goals with the EU. Pursuing a green, sustained, inclusive and gender-oriented recovery plan from the crisis can now become yet another joint objective that also sets the base for creating meaningful impact and the base for new business opportunities. Close collaboration with Indian industry partners, municipalities, ministries and authorities is essential to achieve this and truly make ‘EU Excellence’.

EU Excellence in India Blog Series

With this new blog series of the Business Support Project, we are proudly presenting the ‘EU business champions’ actively contributing to the programme and involved in its outcome oriented activities. We would like to share with you why the EU and India are natural partners, not only at a political or policy level. Glimpses into corporate initiatives, projects and success stories – even lessons learnt – shall create more transparency and awareness for what it takes but also what kind of benefits can be gained when doing business in India with a set focus on sustainability.

Those posts and contributions by EU business leaders in India – straight from their own pen or laptops – may inspire, may create connections or even mark the starting point for fruitful interactions with like-minded business leaders, both European and Indian.

The more champions we gather for our experience and knowledge exchange and our co-creation of sustainability-based initiatives and projects, the better. Drop us a line at projects@ebtc.eu with subject ‘EU Excellence’, if you are a ‘business champion”, if you would like to learn more about the programme and the companies linked to it.

 

[1] https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/european-green-deal_en

[2] https://www.corporateknights.com/reports/2020-global-100/2020-global-100-ranking-15795648/

[3] https://www.visualcapitalist.com/most-sustainable-companies/

[4] https://eeas.europa.eu/sites/eeas/files/eu-india_factsheet_february_2020.pdf

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