Environment and Energy

Way forward for survival


In a resource-scarce world that is becoming increasingly exposed to climate change, preservation of the environment is an imperative, and sustainability is the way forward for survival. The contribution of the Tata Trusts in spurring climate action is characterised by their several dedicated initiatives across the country.

Several factors determine the quality of environment we live in. These include amongst others our choice of energy and fuel, and the extent of climate change affecting our region. Together, they strike the delicate natural balance needed for sustainability and healthy living. An imbalance can create adverse, long-term consequences, affecting future generations as well. The impacts of climate change have never been so palpable and ominous. We are already witnessing the ramifications of climate change, and have sufficient evidence to establish that it has orchestrated several natural disasters while leading to a surge in the frequency and intensity of their occurrences over the last decade, putting certain ecosystems at risk of collapsing altogether.

Accordingly, measures have been taken to tackle these eventualities. The developed world primarily follows a mitigation-based approach, while developing nations like India choose to focus on resilience. This is specifically with the aim of limiting the impact of such disasters, making people more resilient to the harsh consequences of global warming, and providing assistance to the affected communities in times of need.

The challenge

India faces several environmental hazards that are created naturally as well as by society. It is estimated that India will be among those that are hit the hardest by climate change. Its long coastlines, inhabited by almost half the population and characterised by rising sea levels, continued reliance on fossil fuels, and dependence on agriculture, make it increasingly vulnerable to the impact of climate change. Several pockets in the country do not have access to clean energy, and people who cannot afford cleaner fuel use wood for cooking over mud stoves. This leads to air pollution and health problems. Another factor that contributes to air pollution is the burning of rice and wheat crop residues by farmers each season after the harvest.

Strategic approach

The Tata Trusts seek to address the challenges concerning the environment, and strive for achieving sustainability. They endeavour to go beyond improving subsistence levels of individuals and communities, and enhance the quality of their lives by building new eco-systems under the overarching banner of climate change. While working directly with climate change, environment, conservation and energy management, the Trusts also evaluate the impact of such climate change across sectors

The sustainability team works through a consortium of partners, collaborating on concepts and causes related to climate change, environment and special projects. Even as complex multi-causal issues span across industries and sectors, at the core they are all human-interest issues and it is eventually people who are getting affected. The task at hand is to create societal platforms that address each of these issues and achieve sustainable development goals, in a way that is thoughtful, collaborative and with maximum impact. In these people-oriented endeavours, the Trusts work closely with all stakeholders such as the government, private sector, non-profits, social movement organisations, social entrepreneurs and researchers – to execute meaningful work that moves the needle. The Tata Trusts are leading the charge on climate change in India, with the support of partners and networks. Their Green Trust convenes stakeholders from across the spectrum for constructive dialogues and design-thinking to create solutions, mitigate situations and solve challenges in dealing with climate change and environment. An immediate priority is to facilitate a poverty alleviation agenda that addresses the climate change impact.

The Tata Trusts are at the forefront of the campaign to shift the conversation from a western viewpoint to the developing world’s perspective on dealing with climate change. The effort is to work not only within India but on the global scale, ensuring that the developing world is adequately represented beyond the government and corporate sector, showcasing the efforts of civil society in the area of climate change. In this sphere, the Tata Trusts take the voice of the developing nations to the world stage, amplifying their efforts at the grassroots level, while pursuing policy advocacy, building partnerships and creating strategic synergies with global stakeholders to accomplish the climate change agenda of developing nations.

As an illustration of our commitment, the Trusts are incubating the India Climate Collaborative, to inspire funding and cooperation from other philanthropies and to ignite constructive conversations and action to combat the climate crisis in India.

Through their Environment and Sustainability portfolio, the Trusts address the following sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the United Nations:

  • SDG 1: No poverty
  • SDG 3: Good health and well-being
  • SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy
  • SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth
  • SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities
  • SDG13: Climate action
  • SDG 17: Partnerships to achieve the goal

Themes in this portfolio

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