A New CEO-led Consortium to Drive Sustainability in India’s Housing Sector

A New CEO-led Consortium to Drive Sustainability in India’s Housing Sector
09/02/2016 , by , in News/Views

A member of the World Bank Group, IFC is convening a voluntary, collaborative effort with leading Indian housing sector companies to form an industry-led Sustainable Housing Leadership Consortium to drive sustainability in India’s housing market with a particular focus on the affordable housing sector. The effort is part of IFC’s Eco-cities program, supported by the European Union.

The Sustainable Housing Leadership Consortium has been formed by early contributors in India’s green building and affordable housing movement – Godrej Properties, Mahindra Lifespace Developers Limited, Shapoorji Pallonji Real Estate, Tata Housing Development Company, and VBHC Value Homes Private Limited. IFC will leverage private sector investments to facilitate greater uptake of certified green buildings, facilitate policy dialogue between the private sector and the government, evaluate technology levers and share best practices, raise public awareness, and identify strategic actions for implementation.

“Buildings contribute to about 30-40 percent of energy consumption in many Indian cities and about 22 percent of the country’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. We appreciate and support the efforts of these leaders,” said Johann Hesse, Head of Cooperation of the European Union in India.

The founding members of the consortium have committed to make 100 percent of their housing portfolio sustainable by 2017 through appropriate green-building certifications and achieve 20 percent reduction in incremental variable costs. The consortium will also provide leadership and advocacy for broader industry and government policy actions to make 20 percent of India’s new housing construction sustainable by 2022.

“Given that two-thirds of India’s building infrastructure is still to come up, we have a window of opportunity to shape resource efficient and livable cities,” said Jun Zhang, IFC’s Country Manager for India. “This partnership with leading housing companies in India will demonstrate how sustainability can be the norm in India’s urban housing sector in future. The Consortium’s goals are aligned to the recently-agreed climate change agenda in Paris and facilitate India’s transition to a low-carbon economy.”

The Sustainable Housing Leadership Consortium is an attempt to lock in efficiencies and promote sustainable growth in India’s housing stockas the country rapidly urbanizes. It complements ongoing activities in IFC’s four-year Eco-Cities Program. The program is working to catalyze the green-buildings market and promote climate-smart infrastructure projects in five selected cities with a focus on scalable and replicable clean energy and resource-efficient solutions.

India is IFC’s top country exposure, globally. IFC’s committed portfolio in India is over $5 billion as of June 30, 2015. In FY15, IFC committed $1.4 billion in new investments. IFC is focused on boosting financing in infrastructure and logistics, promoting financial inclusion, deepening capital markets, and helps the private sector confront climate change through investments, innovative financing, and works to address regulatory and policy obstacles to green growth.

“Sustainability is an integral part of our DNA at Godrej Properties and we will continue our endeavor to set new benchmarks in delivering environmentally-friendly projects across the country,” Pirojsha Godrej, Managing Director & CEO, Godrej Properties Ltd. said.

According to Anita Arjundas, Managing Director & CEO, Mahindra Lifespace Developers Limited., “The choices that India makes in managing its urban development today will have critical implications for the climate benefits and costs of our cities for decades to come. Our partnership with IFC and our peers will implement a shared vision for sustainable housing that is sensitive to the long-term environmental needs of our cities and thereby, to human progress.”

Venkatesh Gopalkrishnan, President & CIO, Shapoorji Pallonji Real Estate, said, “Sustainable housing is a norm in developed countries; however it is yet to catch up within India. To begin with, developers in the country need to make sustainable housing an integral part of their business plan in the medium to long term. This initiative will help achieve this objective. SP Group believes in this common vision and has supported sustainable and green housing over the years and will continue to support it.”

“India will witness a construction boom driven by increased economic activity, growing need for affordable housing, and upgradation of old infrastructure. As we embark on fulfilling this demand, we need to be conscious of creating housing and infrastructure developments that are built using green construction methods and remain sustainable over time. We believe this is the right time to raise awareness of creating sustainable infrastructure,” Brotin Banerjee, CEO and MD, Tata Housing said.

Rahul Sabharwal, Chief Operating Officer, VBHC, said, “It is an exciting time in India to rethink on our outlook towards sustainability in housing. It is the need of hour without which the national dream of smart cities would be devoid of a long-term sustainable success. Increasing rural-urban migration without a commitment to sustainability in our buildings and our energy consumption is only going to make our problems worse. VBHC Value Homes Private Limited is committed to sustainable design and construction practices as well as aims to reduce life-cycle maintenance cost for the users of our buildings.”

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