Shifting to a circular economy could cut the country's greenhouse gases by 44%, says The Ellen Macarthur Foundation
There is an awkward clash lying at the heart of India’s modernisation: between the brashness of an emergent consumerism that seems almost inherently wasteful, and the more traditional “make do and mend” culture, much closer to ideals of a circular economy, but associated with an austere, parsimonious rural lifestyle that holds little appeal for twenty-first century Indians.
Is there a best of both worlds? The Ellen Macarthur Foundation thinks so. Its recent report, “Circular Economy in India: Rethinking Growth for Long Term Prosperity” is an impressive litany of opportunities to do things differently. Focused on three key areas – construction, mobility and agriculture – it concludes that shifting to a circular model could, by 2050, cut greenhouse gases by 44%, dramatically reduce congestion and pollution, boost health outcomes and produce a net dividend of $624bn – equal to 30% current GDP.
The report has drawn support from a wide range of Indian companies and campaigners, and is filled with examples of transformative technologies that could help spin the economy round. Some will need some pretty far-reaching changes in established practice, whether it’s transforming farming methods, or persuading people out of their cars. They include:
• The rise of organic agriculture – the state of Sikkim has just gone 100% organic – and a shift to regenerative farming methods that conserve soil and water.
• That doesn’t mean abandoning modernity: some of the most promising examples use digital techniques such as GPS field mapping, and there’s huge potential in allowing farmers to collaborate and sell direct, cutting out the middleman.
• New energy efficient building techniques, which could shrink construction’s footprint dramatically.
• Integrated transport for cities, combining car sharing – such as Mahindra’s partnership with pool company Zoomcar, which makes the e2o electric vehicle available for rent by the hour, day or week - cycle routes and rapid transit networks.
• Working with the country’s informal network of waste pickers to help them become key players in the circular economy and so boost their income and working conditions.
This is one article in our in-depth India briefing. See also: India turns its face to the sun, Beyond philanthropy to real impact,and Infosys's passively cooled campus sparks green building frenzy.
circular economy India cities farming transport built environment CSR Mahindra