UltraTech Cement Joins RE100, Target Still 2050 For Net Zero

Highlights :

  • Firms joining global initiatives to ‘commit’ to numbers is becoming tiring, considering how unambitious those targets look in the new reality of faster climate impact.
  • Firms must get out of the loop of hoping to do more at lower cost than even present costs, or ‘profiting’ from even these changes.

UltraTech Cement Limited, the largest manufacturer of grey cement, white cement and ready-mix concrete in India, has joined Climate Group’s RE100 initiative at Climate Week NYC 2021. As part of its commitment, UltraTech targets to meet 100 per cent of its electricity requirement through renewables sources by 2050. As the third largest cement manufacturer in the world, the move while positive in the context of the sector, will probably need a bigger effort from the cement major and its peers soon.

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RE100, led by Climate Group in partnership with CDP, brings together the world’s most influential businesses committed to 100 per cent renewable electricity. UltraTech has set a 100 per cent renewable electricity target for its entire global operations by 2050. Joining a group like the RE100 has been a useful fig leaf for large industrials like Ultratech, to make the transition without any undue pressure, as the RE100’s and the likes take care of that with governments worldwide. On issues like mandatory use of green hydrogen for some operations, these firms are already pushing back, waiting for costs to come down to a level that would make sense for them, not the ‘environment’ actually. With government level targets for net zero set for 2050, one would always expect corporates to stay ahead of those targets. Keep in mind that the same firms, when governments are unable to supply dependable power, easily set up massive captive generation facilities to meet their needs. Also, firms joining RE100 right from 2018 have been committing to the same 2050 goal, even as the situation on the ground is changing rapidly.

UltraTech has scaled up its contracted renewable energy capacity by 2.5 times in the past two years, with dropping costs. The Company has set a target to scale up its green energy mix to 34 per cent of its total power requirement by 2024, from the current levels of 13 per cent. All those numbers need to scale up massively, we believe.

 “We have made tremendous progress in scaling up the use of green energy in our operations. The commitment to move to 100 per cent renewable energy to meet our electrical energy requirements by 2050 is both a reflection of our confidence on the progress we have made, as well as our commitment to overcome the challenges ahead. With us now joining the RE100 group, UltraTech will become part of a high-profile global campaign that advocates for a strong business case in transitioning to renewable energy sources in building a decarbonized economy,” said Kailash Jhanwar, Managing Director, UltraTech Cement.

“The RE100 announcement is in line with UltraTech’s focus to institutionalise its carbon reduction initiatives through measurable targets and commitments. RE100 provides us with an opportunity to access knowledge on emerging technologies. These would help us fast track the transition to 100% RE for our electrical energy requirements,” said E. R. Raj Narayanan, Business Head and Chief Manufacturing Officer, UltraTech Cement.

In FY21, UltraTech took another important step with the validation of its GHG emission reduction targets by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). The Company is committed to reduce its Scope 1 GHG intensity by 27 per cent and Scope 2 GHG intensity by 69 per cent, both by 2032 from the base year of 2017. UltraTech’s GHG reduction targets also include UltraTech’s target to lower its CO2 intensity in cement to 462 kg net CO2 per ton of cementitious material (net CO2/t.cem.) by 2032. So far, a total of 6 per cent reduction in Scope-1 CO2 emissions has been achieved with the base year of 2017. UltraTech is also the first company in India and the second company in Asia to link its financial commitments with sustainability targets through the issuance of dollar-based sustainability linked bonds.

Mumbai-based ACC Cements is the other firm that has made relevant commitments based on SBTi

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Prasanna Singh

Prasanna has been a media professional for over 20 years. He is the Group Editor of Saur Energy International