New York | Eight Indians and Indian-origin persons, including World Bank President Ajay Banga and co-founder of Ola Electric Bhavish Aggarwal, have been featured in Time magazine's first-ever list of the world's most influential leaders driving business to real climate action.
'Time 100 Climate' list, which includes CEOs, founders, philanthropists, musicians, policymakers and government officials from across the world, comes ahead of the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference scheduled to take place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from November 30.
Along with Banga and Aggarwal, Rajiv J Shah, president of The Rockefeller Foundation; Geeta Aiyer, founder and president of Boston Common Asset Management, Jigar Shah, director of the US Department of Energy Loan Programmes Office; Manoj Sinha, CEO and co-founder of Husk Power Systems; Seema Wadhwa, executive director for environmental stewardship for Kaiser Permanente and Amit Kumar Sinha, managing director and CEO of Mahindra Lifespaces, are also on the list.
Banga, 64, who began his five-year term as World Bank Group president in June, is ushering in a new mission for the institution: eradicating poverty while fighting climate change, according to Time.
“If you can't breathe and you can't drink clean water, there's very little point in eradicating poverty,” he said at the 2023 World Bank Group-IMF Annual Meetings in Morocco.
India is the world's most populous country, and it is likely to be the most vital to transition to sustainable transportation. Some 70 per cent of the vehicles on India's roads are mopeds and scooters, and Aggarwal, 38, is leading the path to electrifying them, the magazine said. This year, Ola launched its most affordable electric scooter ever, priced at INR 79,999 (about USD 960).
Rajiv Shah's The Rockefeller Foundation works to ensure that all initiatives and investment strategies are focused through a climate lens. This year, the Rockefeller Foundation partnered with the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet to launch the Coal to Clean Credit Initiative. The aim is to develop a new carbon finance standard to spur a just transition away from coal-fired power plants to renewable energy in emerging economies, the magazine said.
"Wealthy countries not only need to fulfil the climate commitments they made to lower-income countries but also go beyond those commitments. In 2009, high-income countries pledged to deliver USD 100 billion per year by 2020 to developing countries for mitigation and adaptation measures. They fell USD 16.7 billion short of that pledge in 2020 alone," Rajiv Shah, 50, said.
Aiyer's Boston Common Asset Management is a woman-led, employee-owned sustainable investment firm with nearly USD 5 billion in assets under management. The firm prioritises investment in climate change mitigation and uses shareholder engagement to push portfolio companies toward more sustainable business practices.
"I hope the efforts to address and reverse biodiversity loss and invest in earth renewal gain traction. Ecosystems across the world are on the brink of collapse and millions of plant and animal species are at risk, including humans," she said.
Mahindra Lifespaces, the real estate and infrastructure development arm of Indian conglomerate company Mahindra Group. Incomes are projected to rise, and India could see 400 million new urban dwellers by 2050, a shift that will require massive growth in new building stock. This will increase pressure to develop sustainably—a challenge Amit Kumar Sinha is rising to meet. Since 2013, Mahindra Lifespaces says it has had an entirely green portfolio, prioritizing water efficiency, passive energy design, renewables, and more, Time said.
Manoj Sinha's Husk Power Systems operates 200 minigrids across Asia and Africa and reached profitability in India and Nigeria this year.
According to Manoj Sinha, the most important climate legislation that could pass in the next year is the imposition of a uniform carbon tax.
Kaiser Permanente is one of the largest healthcare providers in the US. By 2050, it aims to be net zero. Under Wadhwa's leadership, this year Kaiser Permanente's office in Santa Rosa, California, was recognised as the country's first net-zero medical facility.
"Putting health at the centre of climate action and viewing the climate crisis as a health emergency is the greatest opportunity ahead. According to the World Health Organisation, climate change is the greatest threat to human health, yet only 3% of Americans recognise that threat," she said.
"By linking climate and health, we can create a common ground that every individual, community, corporation, and governmental agency could understand and organise around. If every person looked at their choices and actions with a lens on the ultimate impact on their health, I believe we would be acting with a greater sense of urgency," she added.
The US Department of Energy Loan Programmes Office is responsible for the public investment of hundreds of billions of dollars into clean infrastructure and energy projects.
"The solutions to meeting the (US) President's decarbonisation goals are already within our grasp. It's a matter of doing rather than waiting for a breakthrough," Jigar Shah, 49, told the Time.
To assemble this list, TIME reporters and editors—along with experts from the TIMECO2 team—sought out measurable, scalable achievements and prioritised recent action, selecting individuals making significant progress in fighting climate change by creating business value. Each has been evaluated on a variety of factors, including recency of action, measurable results, and influence.
"Climate leadership is embedded across all of our coverage today. But we believe more could be done to draw attention to the people who are shaping and leading climate action….The TIME100 Climate is not only a community, it is an argument for how we see the future: we are recognising those who are connecting climate action and business value because we believe progress for the planet will come from the engagement with and leadership by the business world," TIME Editor-in-Chief Sam Jacobs wrote.
John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate; Bill Gates, Founder, Breakthrough Energy; co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Josh Tetrick of Eat Just, philanthropist Melinda French Gates and Macquarie Group CEO Shemara Wikramanayake are also on the list.