Can India's Green Credits Programme Revolutionize Environmental Sustainability?

Good Governance: The Ministry has notified the draft implementation rules for the Green Credit Programme, which will incentivize voluntary environmental actions undertaken by individuals, private sectors, and small-scale industries among others

The Processor
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The Green Credits Programme is an initiative that aims to create a mass movement around positive environmental actions and drive India towards its net zero goal by 2070. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has recently notified the draft implementation rules for the Green Credit Programme, which will incentivize voluntary environmental actions undertaken by individuals, private sectors, small-scale industries, cooperatives, forestry enterprises, and farmer-produce organizations.

Driving Positive Change:

The Green Credits Programme is designed to create a competitive market-based approach, offering incentives for various stakeholders to actively engage in environmental actions. This includes individuals, communities, businesses, and other entities. By encouraging convergence with existing legal obligations, the programme aims to accelerate progress towards sustainable practices and generate co-benefits beyond just carbon reduction.

Incentives for Environmental Actions:

Under the Green Credits Programme, individuals and communities will be recognized and rewarded for their positive environmental contributions. Private sector industries and companies will also be motivated to meet their obligations by undertaking actions that align with Green Credit activities. By incentivizing sustainable agriculture, forestry, water conservation, air pollution reduction, waste management, and sustainable building and infrastructure practices, the programme encourages a comprehensive approach to environmental sustainability.

Identified Sectors for Action:

To initiate the Green Credits Programme, the government has identified key sectors that will drive positive change. These sectors include increasing green cover through extensive tree plantation, promoting water conservation, harvesting, and efficiency, adopting natural and regenerative agricultural practices, restoring land productivity, improving soil health, and enhancing the nutritional value of food produced. The programme also focuses on waste management, reducing air pollution, conserving and restoring mangroves, and promoting sustainable building and infrastructure practices.

Integration with Carbon Credits:

The Green Credits Programme goes beyond carbon reduction and encompasses all major attributes of environmental and social sustainability. Activities that generate Green Credits may also have climate co-benefits, such as carbon emissions reduction. Consequently, these activities may also qualify for Carbon Credits under the carbon market. This integration enables stakeholders to benefit from multiple incentives and further drives their commitment towards environmental actions.

Thresholds, Benchmarks, and Fungibility:

To ensure transparency and consistency, the Green Credits Programme will establish thresholds and benchmarks for each environmental activity. These measures will consider the equivalence of resource requirements, scale, scope, size, and other relevant parameters. Maintaining fungibility across sectors, one unit of Green Credit will be allocated for achieving each environmental outcome, irrespective of the activity undertaken. This approach ensures fairness and encourages participation from various sectors.

Digital Processes for Efficiency:

In line with India's digital transformation, the Green Credits Programme will incorporate digital processes for seamless implementation. These processes will include self-assessments of eligible Green Credit activities, registration, issuance of Green Credits, and monitoring of performance. By leveraging technology, the programme aims to streamline operations, enhance transparency, and facilitate efficient tracking of environmental actions.