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Friday,27-May-2022

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Companies committed to cut emissions represent $38 trillion economy

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 A record number of companies are committing to and setting science-based climate targets, according to a new research by the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), the global body enabling businesses to set emissions reduction targets in line with science.

The SBTi has launched its third annual assessment of the initiative’s impact since its launch in 2015. The 2021 Progress Report ‘Scaling Urgent Corporate Climate Action Worldwide’ reveals that the SBTi has entered a period of exponential growth with SBTi companies now representing over a third of global market capitalization, worth $38 trillion, up from 20 per cent in 2020.

In 2021, the number of SBTi companies doubled to 2,253, including 1,082 companies with approved targets and 1,171 that committed to set science-based targets. These companies cover 70 countries and 15 industries, with the growth rate averaging at 110 new companies per month in 2021, compared to 31 in 2020. These figures include 117 financial institutions, which have committed to set science-based targets since 2015.

Between January and March 2022, almost 500 companies have set or committed to set science-based targets.

Luiz Fernando do Amaral, CEO of the SBTi, said: “The world today is faced with many challenges, there’s the devastating Russian war in Ukraine, the ongoing pandemic and the increasingly urgent climate crisis. At this critical time, we cannot let ourselves be divided.

“In the face of these existential crises, the SBTi will continue to work with governments, companies and NGOs, through strong collaboration, healthy debate and scientific research to reinforce 1.5 degrees Celsius corporate climate action as the new normal.

“The science is clear, we are already experiencing the impacts of climate change, and continuing on the current trajectory equals catastrophe. This report shows that the value the SBTi brings to society is more needed now than ever before, we must continue to drive the exponential growth of science-based targets and make them abusiness as usual’ for companies and financial institutions worldwide.”

As the first assessment of the SBTi’s progress since the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, the report’s findings evidence a growing wave of international momentum towards science-based targets.

The necessity of this momentum is reflected in the latest UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) WGIII report, which concluded that peak global emissions along with rapid and urgent reductions is required before 2025 to keep global heating under 1.5 degrees Celsius.

In October 2021, the SBTi launched the Net-Zero Standard, the world’s first framework for corporate net-zero target setting in line with climate science. It includes the guidance, criteria, and recommendations companies need to set science-based net-zero targets consistent with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.

The Net-Zero Standard has accelerated the shift towards 1.5 degrees aligned targets as the new normal for corporates. The report indicates almost 80 per cent of 587 new targets approved in 2021 were aligned with a 1.5 degrees trajectory.

In April 2022, the initiative celebrated a round of new, net-zero approved targets with the total number of companies committed to the Net-Zero Standard surpassing 1,000.

The SBTi’s ‘ambition update’ also announced that the global initiative will only accept target submissions aligned with 1.5 degrees from July 2022, driving companies to go further and faster with their emissions reductions.

Lila Karbassi, Chair of the SBTi board and Senior Programme Officer at the UN Global Compact, said: “The global economy must halve emissions before 2030 to reach the Paris goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius, and it is currently not on track to do so.

“This goal is reflected in the most recent IPCC report, which poses a clear message, we must implement rapid and urgent emissions reductions or face planetary catastrophe. The climate action we’re seeing from companies is grounds for optimism, but we must all go further and faster to close the emissions gap.”

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Sacked fund manager slaps legal notice on Axis Mutual Fund

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Fund manager and Chief Dealer at Axis Mutual Fund, Viresh Joshi, who was sacked last fortnight, has served a legal notice to the company challenging what he terms as his illegal termination.

Joshi was first suspended and later relieved of his charge on May 18, as per a statement issued by the AMF on May 19, for his purported role against allegations of ‘front-running’ (or, tailgating) at the company which conducted an internal probe into the matter.

He has hired leading law firm, Mansukhlal Hiralal & Co. to challenge his termination order.

Confirming the development, lawyer Chirag M. Shah told IANS: “We are in communication with Axis Mutual Fund on behalf of our client Viresh Joshi and have duly replied to the unlawful termination notice.”

Shah added that AMF terminated Joshi unceremoniously on unsubstantiated charges of alleged ‘front-running’ and he has sent a notice to the company against the unlawful termination.

The AMF further stated that it had been conducting a suo moto internal investigation into the issue since February 2022 using a reputed external advisor to assist with the ongoing probe.

“Further to our investigation, his conduct and following the decision to suspend him, the employment of Mr. Viresh Joshi has been terminated with effect from May 18, 2022,” said the company.

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Reliance subsidiary SankhyaSutra unveils ‘make in India’ software at Drone fest

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Bengaluru-based subsidiary of Jio Platforms, SankhyaSutra Labs, which makes high-fidelity multi-physics and aerodynamics simulation software, on Friday showcased its products and solutions at the ‘Drone Festival of India 2022’.

According to the company, achieving accurate simulation of turbulent flows often required in aerospace and defence designing is a challenging task due to the involvement of multiple scales of swirling motions, also known as vortices.

SankhyaSutra Labs said it develops next-generation high-fidelity CFD tools that do not use approximate turbulence models.

“When we speak about self-reliance in defence, we often tend to focus on the ability to manufacture various hardware components indigenously,” Dr Sunil Sherlekar, CEO at SankhyaSutra Labs, said in a statement.

“This journey towards self-reliance would be incomplete without indigenous design tools, which are the key enablers of this journey. At SankhyaSutra, we are developing deep technology for India and the world,” he added.

Incubated in 2015, SankhyaSutra Labs has its R&D centre in Bengaluru with target customers across the globe.

The company has planned a major product launch in October this year.

“Accurate and reliable simulations can potentially reduce the need for expensive and time-consuming experiments, such as wind tunnel experiments, which are used in the designing of aircrafts,” said Dr Vinay Kariwala, VP Business Development at SankhyaSutra Labs.

Reliance Industries Ltd had acquired an 83 per cent stake in SankhyaSutra Labs in 2019, with an investment of Rs 216 crore.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the two-day ‘Bharat Drone Mahotsav 2022’ in the capital.

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India Cements to monetise land, increase price by Rs 55 per bag

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Cement major India Cements Ltd will monetise some of its land to settle its debt and for capital expenditure, said a top company official.

He also said, in order to recover production costs that went up owing to drastic increase in coal prices, the company will be increasing the cement prices by Rs 55 per bag in three phases between June and July.

Speaking to reporters here on Friday N. Srinivasan, Vice Chairman and Managing Director said the company would monetise surplus land for repayment of loan and for some capital expenditure.

“We are not in distress sale mode. We have about 26,000 acres of land in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The lands are of different categories,” Srinivasan said.

According to him, the company has to repay about Rs 500 crore of its debt and to that extent land monetisation would happen.

India Cements total debt at the end of last fiscal was about Rs 3,000 crore.

The capital expenditure is not much except for some balancing equipment and waste recovery plant in Chilamkur in Andhra Pradesh.

Srinivasan said the company would increase the cement prices by Rs 55 per bag in three parts — Rs 20 on June 1, Rs 15 on June 15 and Rs 20 on July 1.

He said the company’s products are already premium priced.

According to Srinivasan, the consumer has a choice as cement bags are now available in the price points ranging between Rs 320-450.

When queried that other cement players had expressed their plans to reduce their selling prices Srinivasan remarked: “Don’t compare. All costs have gone up. If I don’t increase the prices, I will runup huge losses.”

With a slow recovery in the southern markets further affected by record rains and floods in the previous quarter, the selling price of cement was under constant pressure resulting in uncompensated increase in the cost of production.

This was further compounded by the reduction in volume as the company as a prudent policy withdrew from the far off markets to focus on home markets.

Meanwhile, the company closed last fiscal with a total income of Rs 4,729.83 crore (FY21 Rs 4,460.12 crore) and a net profit of Rs 38.98 crore down from Rs 222.04 crore logged in FY21.

The company Board has recommended a dividend of Re.1 per share of Rs.10 each.

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