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Climate Conferences

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.