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Renewable Energy Policies in Growth Markets

President Trump’s White House has withdrawn the United States from the Paris Climate Accords, making good on a campaign pledge to throw the full weight of the Administration behind the US Coal, Car and Oil Industries. So how is that likely to affect Red Ribbon’s policy of pursuing Mainstream Impact Investment strategies in Growth Markets? Renewable Energy Projects are, after all, a core component of that strategy.

Well, the answer is “not a lot” because whatever else might be happening on Pennsylvania Avenue at the moment, the world’s fastest growing economy and the most significant Growth Market on the Planet has just pledged itself to continuing with the “largest energy transformation project in the world”.

Those are the words of India’s Energy Minister, Piyush Goyai, speaking at the opening of the Vienna Energy Forum last Month, and he went on: “Everything changed in 2015 with the Paris Climate Agreement. We must decouple economic growth from environmental impacts and leave a better world….every moment counts.”

India is planning to add 50% more solar and wind power infrastructure than is presently installed in the entire United States. It will also be replacing 770 million street and household lights and, for the first time in the country’s history, it will be bringing access to electricity to tens of thousands of poor rural villages across the subcontinent. As was announced at the Conference last month, India is also doing all of this at a much faster rate than had previously been thought possible (thanks in large part to the enormous infrastructure programmes already put in place by Prime Minister Modi’s Government).

That key dynamic between major economic investment and impact (an unprecedented investment in renewables, tens of thousands of the rural poor receiving a regular electricity supply for the first time and a growing economy) exemplifies what Piyush Goyai meant by “decoupling economic growth from environmental impact”; and the same philosophy is at the heart of Red Ribbon’s Mainstream Impact Investment strategies.

Critics have long maintained that conventional economics has focused far too much on money and markets; creating policies aimed at stimulating the economy without paying any attention to the impact those policies have on the local community and on society at large, still less on the wider environment. In sharp distinction, Mainstream Impact Investment adopts a much more holistic approach, recognising the essential interdependence between the economy, the community, society at large and the environment: because it simply doesn't make sense to cite interventions with a positive social or economic impact if the net result adds further distress to the environment. And this applies just as much to mainstream business as it does to so-called “green causes”: because both must strive to reduce the negative impacts of creating value for society. That’s what Mainstream Impact Investment means.

So it’s nice to see that Prime Minister Modi’s Government is thinking the same way.

Read the Paris Climate Accords here

Read about the Vienna Energy Forum here

Suchit Punnose

Suchit Punnose / About Author

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