Responsible Resurgence — a road to sustainable recovery
Over the last few years, climate change and sustainability have been increasingly integrated into governmental initiatives and business plans alike. However, to embark upon the transition to decarbonized operations, companies need the insights and progressive solutions of a responsible financing partner, and this forms the crux of why Asia’s Safest Bank believes that a sustainable business recovery needs to be banker-driven.
“Sustainability financing has to go beyond the first level of financing and is not just about financing alone. Businesses have to adopt digital platforms to bring in data and that data can drive visibility to ensure continued support. Large corporations should also ensure that their vendor and supplier ecosystem also practice sustainability. And financing is key to ensuring this transformation,” Divyesh Dalal, DBS Bank India’s Head of Global Transaction Services told Business Insider in a webinar. Apart from textiles and energy, DBS is also keen on supporting agriculture, transportation and a range of sectors in planning for a net-zero future.
Food security and food waste reduction
Anil Jena, the senior vice-president of Olam Agro too says that financing is key to the success of a sustainable business strategy in a resource-scarce world. The agro-commodity company is undertaking a key pilot project in northern Uttar Pradesh and parts of Haryana to drive sustainable rice production across 10,000 acres.
“We all know that rice consumes a lot of groundwater. Apart from providing technology, we also help improve procurement that is way above the minimum support price. However, we need aid to provide pre-shipment finance to farmers to be able to align the entire ecosystem of small farmers, traders and suppliers,” Jena said.
Enabling zero food waste across the supply chain is one of the key focus areas of sustainable finance for DBS Bank, which also works with startups innovating in this area with new technology. In 2020 itself, the bank created 200,000 kilos of food impact by reducing, recycling and redistributing. “One interesting project is where we provide financing for a company specializing in technology designed to optimize milk production by giving farmers information on when to milk cows by measuring temperature and other factors,” said Dalal.
In another initiative, DBS Bank India is working on providing additional livelihood opportunities to rural households by working with female micro-entrepreneurs. The project involves the processing of retail-rejected, but perfectly edible, fruits and vegetables. In this project a DBS-supported social enterprise, S4S Technologies is providing solar powered dehydrators for the processing units, which will be set up by women entrepreneurs. Launched in August ‘21, the project is estimated to prevent the loss of more than 200 tons of fruits/vegetables by the end of 2021.
Digitalization unlocking the net-zero transformation
Backed by a heritage of developing Singapore’s strong digitalization prowess, DBS finances small and medium sized businesses across India, helping them adopt new technology, contactless modes and digital solutions that not just ease access to credit, but also bring transparency and traceability to transactions. “Digitization and sustainability go hand in hand. It also helps tier-3 and tier-4 supply chains deepen further,” said Dalal.
Apart from reducing the contribution of agricultural and food waste to GHG emissions, the move to clean energy is key to restrict carbon impact and manage emissions targets. In addition to encouraging electric vehicles, expanding the base of wind and solar power production is also necessary to bridge the gap towards addressing climate change. To maintain remotely scattered clean energy sources, digitization is crucial, Juvenil Jani, the CFO of Sembcorp India told Business Insider.
“We have over a 1000 turbines spread across thousands of acres. To maintain and optimize these turbines, we monitor, control, stop and rectify them virtually on our platform. We track every component remotely and almost all maintenance, with the exception of replacing a part, can be done remotely. In times of excess wind, we also change their movement in the right direction,” informs Jani.
Clean energy sources, unlike traditional sources, are scattered across areas and hence bringing them under digital surveillance can optimize their functioning and hence improve their contribution towards a more sustainable future.
India presents a significant opportunity in the sustainable financing space, and DBS aims to partner with high-impact businesses to propel development while contributing to environmental resilience. “The focus is on financing projects that enable us to deliver economic value in line with our responsible banking ethos.” adds Dalal.
To summarize, as businesses are resetting and looking to mitigate risks from climate change in an ever evolving normal, finance is a driver, but digitalization is a key enabler in the path towards responsible resurgence.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored article in partnership with DBS Bank India
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