MUMBAI : While construction processes are increasingly adopting environmental improvements, waste minimisation practices and resource inputs, are getting less attention. One of the key objectives of the national mission on sustainable habitat, released by the Indian prime minister in 2008, was to extend the energy conservation building code to new and large buildings, to ensure energy efficiency in a significant way. There is an array of challenges and barriers ailing the green real estate sector in India, which get further amplified since its value chain presents different and conflicting views on the sector’s revival.
The objective of this study is to bridge this gap and to bring out insights that would help fuel sustainable growth in the green real estate sector. 72 per cent of respondents believe that the high costs of green real estate buildings are a major impediment to the growth of this sector. Close to 50 per cent of the same set of respondents also believe that the high cost incurred on green buildings, is just a notion and that the cost of green buildings is equivalent to that of normal buildings. This highlights a potential lack of understanding among stakeholders about benefits of green buildings.
The study further identifies key enablers that drive the sector’s growth in India today. These include enhanced brand value and reputation of the company; financial incentives from regulators; municipal bodies and a growing international trend to invest and reside in green buildings. However, the drivers work only for the energy conscious investors and constructors, thus, leaving a large part of real estate stakeholders untouched by the sustainability principles. The recommendations highlight the pertinent need to increase stakeholder awareness about the holistic benefits of green buildings.
The study recommends significant changes to overcome these barriers and highlights the urgent need for all stakeholders like real estate developers, financial institutions, real estate fund managers, green building and landscape architect companies, ESCos, construction material manufacturers and large pro-sustainability conglomerates, to come together to build and increase awareness on the tangible and intangible benefits of green buildings.
It also stresses on the need to have stricter enforcement of existing regulations, along with a national level policy on all future commercial real estate projects.
‘India’s Natural Capital Leaders – A Compendium’- Key highlights of the report:
The fast depleting stock of the natural capital globally, is making it imperative for the industry to look into ways to reduce its resource consumption to mitigate this impending risk. It is equally important for the industry to look at their resource consumption from a holistic perspective and incorporate consumption of natural resources like air, water, land, biodiversity and other dependent services, as part of their operations. The compendium aims to facilitate this process by presenting the best practices by various corporates in India as identified in the Eco-corporate category of the Natural Capital awards.
The research reveals that water is the most important aspect of natural capital from an overall industry standpoint. The latest report from the ministry of water resources suggesting that the per capita availability of water, has reduced to 1545 cubic metre as per the 2011 census, compared to 1811 cubic metre in 2001, in India. The compendium highlights case studies from industry leaders adopting a zero water discharge policy and aiming for a water positive status in their operations. Another such case highlights utilising the treated effluent water for providing irrigation in the surrounding area.
The research also reveals that reporting environmental performance is high on the agenda of leading Indian corporates, with industry leaders adopting international benchmarks in reporting. Around 90 per cent of these companies report their carbon emissions and adopt various carbon mitigation techniques. The cases listed in the compendium span across business efficiency improvement measures, to CSR initiatives and represent the best practices adopted by the companies to conserve natural capital and support livelihood. An important driving force behind exemplary environmental performance, is establishing an environment management policy framework endorsed by the board.