Mahindra Group’s ‘Alternativism’ Report Confirms Lack of Alternatives Blocks Climate Action

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Mumbai, November 11, 2019: A very large proportion of Indians say that they are aware of climate change, and are keen to address it. They also agree that their behaviour may not always reflect this concern. According to a research by the Mahindra Group, the principal explanation for this paradox is the absence of suitable environment-friendly products and services at an affordable price.

According to Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group, “We think that climate change is this century’s biggest business opportunity. Our basic philosophy is that a business must create shared value by doing good and doing well at the same time. We intend to create shared value by committing to the battle against climate change and by embracing the business opportunities that arise from it. It is time for action. Business cannot be divorced from the consequences of climate change on the world we share and the people we love.”

The Mahindra Group’s inaugural ‘Alternativism[1] report reveals that 4 out of 5 (80%) Indians are aware about the impact of plastic and waste management on climate change, while 3 out of 4 respondents (75%) claim to be ‘concerned’ about the risks that single-use plastics pose to the environment.

In addition, 83% of Indians describe themselves as ‘interested’ in making lifestyle changes such as carpooling, using public transport, or driving electric vehicles to conserve energy. With regard to water shortages, 70% of respondents are ‘aware and informed’ about the environmental issue of water conservation, while more than 2 out of 3 (68%) are ‘concerned’ about water shortages in the near future that countries, including India, are almost certain to face.

70% of respondents would like their employers to act on water conservation by using aerators, doing rainwater harnessing, and recycling waste water, among other initiatives. Indians’ expectations from the business community are very clear. 89% believe they would be able to address climate change more actively if companies offered alternative products and solutions.

According to the research, just over a quarter (27%) of Indians are able to find alternative products minimizing their use of plastic. 88% of respondents believe that it is the absence of affordable, eco-friendly alternatives that prevents them from being more environmentally considerate in their daily lives.

“As the research confirms, today’s generation of Indians are more environmentally conscious than at any time in our long history. However, to transform this awareness into action, consumers need viable, environment-friendly alternatives. The business community will be increasingly accountable not merely for the products it develops, but also the manner in which it behaves. The message is unequivocal; it is for business to take up the environmental baton,” says Anirban Ghosh, Chief Sustainability Officer. Mahindra Group.

The lack of alternatives is, in part, exacerbated by conventional thinking being applied to solutions that address climate change. True sustainability will only be achieved through unconventional, alternative thinking with respect to business models, production, materials, infrastructure, commercial propositions, valuations, etc. This process is not linear, there are no guarantees; and true ‘Alternativism’ is a state-of-mind, a readiness to experiment and speculate, a commitment to think differently and an opportunity to innovate.

The Mahindra Group is keen to promote greener options in view of the challenge posed by climate change. The Group has, for the past decade, worked towards offering greener products across its businesses including mobility solutions, energy solutions, green buildings, micro irrigation and other technology solutions.

[1] Data is based on research conducted by Innovative Research Services (India) Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, through face-to-face interviews with 2,006 respondents in five cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, and Kolkata. Interviews were conducted in July/August 2019. The findings are illustrative only.