Nadir Godrej's climate poetry at the WBCSD 2015 meeting
December 12, 2015
Amid all the diplomatic talk at COP 21 and the business talk at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development as it met in Paris, WBCSD member Nadir Godrej of India's Godrej Industries shared words of levity and art about the climate challenge:
I'm sure you've had a goodly dose
Of that prolific medium prose.
I doubt that you would feel much worse
If I were now to speak in verse.
Although there's much that seems so wrong
The folks who take a view that's long
Find that the third world's on a surge
So let's not give in to the urge
To think that there is little hope.
In fact we have a lot of scope.
The world will still ameliorate
All by itself and that is great.
But then with a collective pact
And guidelines on how we should act
Things will happen that much faster
And that is why we need to master
All goals of UNSDG.
Of course all of us clearly see
That governments will play their roles
In achieving all these goals.
But we still need to understand
That business can give a helping hand.
And here I think that we all ought to
Pay careful heed to Michael Porter.
With Shared Value there's no cost
For doing good as nothing's lost.
All it takes is a thinking brain
To remove a societal pain
And combine it with a business gain
To create a sustainable chain
Of endless mutual benefit.
This concept is a tremendous hit.
Now the U.N. has a lengthy list,
So in recounting, some would be missed!
So I will focus on just three
That I think would be the key
For all the others to fall in place
And enable us to win the race.
Good health through perfect sanitation,
Environment and education.
Most of these can be seen
In our program Good and Green.
And so without partiality
Our goal for all's neutrality.
Whether water, carbon or solid waste
By 2020 we will make haste
To make our net emissions zero.
Will that make the group a hero?
In 2010 the goal looked tall
But we took a reasoned call
Technology would save the day.
So far it has turned out that way.
As technology takes a leap
Green energy gets very cheap.
Keen observers quickly saw
That Solar also tracks Moore's law.
Whether groundnut shell or bagasse
Our India's full of biomass.
At first we thought we'd have to spend
But that's not true, for in the end,
The more we thought and the more we slaved
We did invest but we also saved.
And solar is still getting cheaper
And as we do start digging deeper
In India it will hit the goal
Of being cheaper than even coal
In a handful of years.
Already we and our peers
Are sourcing solar electricity
At lower rates than from the utility.
For quite some time we've been extorted
As their finances aren't still sorted.
A silver lining can be seen,
Since it incentivizes green.
Our cost of water is not so high
But yet we do attempt to try
To reduce our water consumption
But all the same it's a safe assumption
Our water use won't disappear
And so to be neutral I fear
We will have to mitigate.
Though fortunately I can state
That developing a watershed
Doesn't cost much and instead
Our agribusiness can benefit.
The government will do its bit
But where it fails, we'll fill the breach
And hopefully we will reach
Many farmers on the cheap
But the benefits that we reap
Will compensate for the cost
And once again nothing's lost.
In training we will play a role.
A million people is our goal.
You will agree that is plenty
And we'll do it all by 2020.
For society we do our bit
But we also benefit.
Farmers gain from better yield
And buy our products for the field.
Beauticians gain a livelihood
As good practices are understood.
Occasionally they would select
Our products and we could elect
To co-create what customers need
Together we would all succeed.
The biggest bane of our nation
Is very poor sanitation
In time of course we will do more
But to begin we will secure
Clean water in every operation.
We'll contribute to the elimination
Of Malaria and Dengue in our nation.
And our products will help sanitation.
In Paris now it would be strange
If I don't talk of climate change.
The whole earth seems to be on fire
In India the situation's dire.
Two crops have failed back to back.
The weather gives us little slack.
The summer monsoon was a dud
But Chennai had a winter flood!
Republicans have seen no light
But those who have brains and sight
Now realize it is a fact
And that humanity must act.
The Cassandras say we must act fast
Or the tipping point will be past.
There is a flaw that I see.
The rate of growth of technology
Has always been exponential
And waiting gives us more potential
The skeptics feel there is a bar
And once we go much to far
There would be no turning back
For the GHGs are on a rising track.
It shouldn't be a one-way flow.
Today of course we hardly know,
How to use CO2
Our food rapidly and show
That the problem can be solved.
Or CO2 could be dissolved
In liquids designed for high absorption
Or solids with chemical absorption.
And then there is Olivine
Which when ground very fine
Can take in lots of CO2
And these of course are just a few
Of the technologies that we will find
Once everyone applies their mind.
And when green energy is cheap
From CO2, we can reap
All our fuel. It's understood
That the situation will be good
If food and fuel are both renewed.
Technology should be pursued.
All this of course is very great
But I'm not saying that we should wait.
It would help if we could master
to grow these technologies that much faster.
Some form of carbon price
But not too high, would still be nice.
Change alas is often slow
In India we already know
That coal will give way to solar
But investment still is bipolar.
And so I think it would be nice
If we have a carbon price
Coal will no longer rule the roost
And green will get a bigger boost.
Technology will show the way
Technology will save the day.