“The Green Credit Programme proposed by the Ministry of Environment aims to promote voluntary environmental action and looks towards a concerted community-based effort“
By Arpita Chowdhury, Staff Reporter
“My will to work for the environment arises from my deep passion for making the society a better place and if we as a community do not make sustained efforts, we will leave a darkdeluge to our future generations,” said the 30-year-old environmental activist Ashish Pokhriyal.
There was a time when food, clothes and a roof over our heads used to be our basic need and precisely the only political planks our politicians used to engage in the power game but now, a paradigm shift can be noted.
With the harrowing condition of the environment and the rapid degradation of the green cover, the natural habitat of all has slipped into a tragic state of disarray. Therefore, a clean and healthy environment has also become the basic need and right of every citizen.
As various countries from the world over are riding on the front rows to advocate for climate change de-escalation, one of the major setbacks that has alarmed everybody is the lack of willingness on the part of several entities to take sustained action.
The recent Green Credit Programme 2023 proposed by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change is a policy intervention that stands at the cross sections of environmental action, economic development and community-based efforts. Cutting across the dynamics of the constant conflict between environmental protection and development.
At the core of it, the Green Credit Programme aims to promote voluntary environmental protection activities by diverse stakeholders such as individual citizens, private companies, businesses, small industries, various other Agro-farm companies.
This is with an effort toincentivise impactful activities and initiatives taken by entities to widen the reach and implementation of environmental conservation.
The one entity that would benefit the most from this program will be the environment itselfthis will instil a sense of responsibility in people and maximum resource mobilisation will also happen.
Provision of green credits will create an ecosystem of collaboration, resource mobilisation and sustained monitoring which, in turn, will prove to be beneficial for entities to gain credits.
Pokhriyal who is the founder of the nationally recognised project “Bhalswa Jheel Bachao Andolan” states that with the help of the program, initiatives like that of ours will gain attention and several stakeholders will be mobilising manpower and resources to protect the environment.
Environmental action cannot happen in a vacuum. Each and every one who is consuming and surviving on the planet are directly or indirectly dependent on the environment. Like a palimpsest of memories, the effects and adverse impacts of human action on the environment acts as a complex layer of form and action.
One single tree plantation or a simple separation of waste baskets for a day won’t have help reverse these impacts. The Green Credit Program posits to cut across this very narrative of surface level actions.
It aims to dig deeper and change the mindset through a market driven approach which both incentivises and enables to take action on the program’s behest.
Green Credit Program defines a single unit of incentive that will be offered on an action which has a positive impact on the environment as a “Green Credit.” Up until now, the avenue of environmental protective measures has been limited as far as policy intervention is considered, at the least. However, this program will open up a sea of opportunities.
It comprises of green credits for waste management, water pollution, sustainable production, eco-friendly manufacturing, air pollution, tree plantation and more.
This shall, prove to be comprehensive and all encompassing for several stakeholders to take synergetic efforts. Although the program comes out as a novel effort in maximising environmental action, it also has several challenges in front of it which need to be tackled with vision and efforts in order to reap benefits from the seamless implementation of the program.
The foremost challenge in the implementation of the program is the standardisation of the process and definition of various attributes of this rule. From defining the meaning, measure, scale, types and process of execution of any and all environmental actions to defining the
methodologies and technicalities involved in the procurement of green credits.
Several confusions, overlapping and non-compliance issues can crop up. Secondly, the issue of impact measurement will be another major roadblock of this program.
Since many private firms also engage in Corporate Social Responsibility activities and various citizens take part in voluntary activities. Streamlining the impact measurement process will be difficult and it will also lead to green washing.
For instance, recently, an NGO claimed to have planted 1000 trees in their locality but upon further investigation it was found that only 150 trees were planted, this is what green washing is such cases will lead to discrepancies and will do more harm than benefit.
Thirdly, the lack of willingness. Taking voluntary actions require a mindset and a strong willingness to contribute towards the society and the biggest challenge that the society faces is that of ignorance.
In the wake of rapid development, people chose to ignore the damage they are doing to the society. Hence, along with incentivisation, proper awareness campaigns and community intervention is also required.
From G20 ministerial meetings to COP summits, while global efforts are being taken to protect the environment, the core idea of any conference is to enable individual countries to come up with policies at the national and local level that create on-ground impact.
The recent G20 climate ministers meeting could not could reach a consensus on various climate related actions which is evident of the fact that the society is far from reaching its goal as far as conjoined environmental protection efforts are concerned. Amidst, this the Green Credit Program appears to be a thin ray of hope in India.
It can either be a success if implemented correctly or can be another inept effort in overcoming the environmental nightmare.