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The Passion To Green The Planet And Steer It Towards A Net-zero Future Has Been The Backbone Of The Brand EKI: Manish Dabkara, CMD & CEO, EKI Energy Services Ltd.

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Manish Dabkara - CMD & CEO, EKI Energy Services Ltd.

Reading Time: 11 minutes

Conversation Highlights:

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-We have been successful in placing ourselves in a position to grow with each climate accord, agreement and have been able to continuously develop platforms, technology, and relations.

-We became a listed company in April 2021 and witnessed one of the most successful IPOs of the year & achieved a 1 Billion Dollar Market Cap.

-As a brand, we would also become net-zero within the next 5 years and we will continue to enable millions of others on this journey

Tell us about the journey and evolution of EKI.

I incepted EKI in 2008 with an ardent dream to rehabilitate the planet and build a greener tomorrow. When the company was established, the carbon credit market and even climate conversations were in a nascent stage and starting to slowly emerge and gain traction. The first few years were predominantly dedicated to educating all relevant stakeholders about the importance of reducing their carbon footprint.

We brought in a disruption in the market by placing climate action on a pedestal not just within India but also globally as we worked with customers across the world. We have been successful in placing ourselves in a position to grow with each climate accord and agreement and have been able to continuously develop platforms, technology, and relations. The passion to green the planet and steer it towards a net-zero future has been the backbone of the brand EKI.

Today, EKI is a leading global carbon credit developer & supplier. We became a listed company in April 2021 and witnessed one of the most successful IPOs of the year & achieved a 1 Billion Dollar Market Cap.

We are a market leader with our differentiated offerings and one-stop- destination for all things related to carbon markets and corporate ESG. Our scope of work spans consultancy and advisory services for corporate net zero commitment, ESG reporting and compliance, carbon asset management, and renewable energy certifications & attributes.

From an organization that started with a team of 5 people, the brand has grown into a global team of 500+ professionals across 16 countries including India, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Dubai, and Switzerland. We are growing every day and achieving newer heights.

This year, we have also charted a new journey for ourselves with a commitment to become net-zero by the year 2030 in addition to defining a target to mobilize up to 1 billion credits within the next 5 years (by 2027). We are a carbon-neutral company who have been inspiring thousands of businesses across the globe to reduce/offset their emissions through a host of sustainable solutions. With our net-zero commitment, we will now take climate action in India to newer heights by enabling the country to fast-track the stride to its net-zero commitment by the year 2070. As part of this renewed vision we recently also embraced a new brand identity that brings together the sky, nature, and oceans to Steer the Planet to a net-zero future.

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We have a deep strong focus on community development and have undertaken projects like green cooking initiatives that help improve the livelihoods of rural households while also enabling the restoration of nature. We now also manufacture low-cost emission reduction devices like energy-efficient cook stoves via our group company – GHG Reduction Technologies Pvt. Ltd. with an aim to improve the lives of people across communities in rural villages. We have also joined hands with Shell Overseas Investments B.V. (The Netherlands) for the implementation of Nature-based Solutions across India.

What do you have to say about the recent amendments to the Energy Conservation Act?

The proposed amendments to the EC Act that has been passed in Lok Sabha will empower the country to increasingly strive towards its net-zero commitment of 2070 with the further implementation of NDCs in a timely manner. It will also facilitate the development of India’s carbon market which will in turn enable the country to transition into a low-carbon economy.

With the proposed amendments, the current trading schemes in India – Energy Saving Certificates (ESCerts) and Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) will be merged into one single commodity that will be called Carbon Credits and will operate under Cap & Trade system under the National ETS.

This will open the market for newer avenues and is expected to unleash a new era of environmental activism in India. Though the market will largely be voluntary in nature to begin with, once it becomes mandatory for a specific sector(s), the scheme will remain open for the Indian Voluntary Market sellers as mentioned in the EC Act 2022. This will open the market for newer avenues even as the demand for Voluntary Carbon Credits grows exponentially in the country.

With a ban on carbon credit export, what changes are we likely to see? How will it impact?

One of the important outcomes of COP26 is the Operationalization of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement was that it paved the way for countries to work with each other and reduce the overall cost of emission reduction. Under this, India could now engage with developed nations and tap foreign funds for its emission reduction projects. This enabled a further enhanced ecosystem for the trade of India’s carbon credits in the International markets.

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This along with the export of carbon credits from India to International markets under the Voluntary market scheme ensures a strong influx of climate finance to India which the country can add back for carbon reduction projects and interventions. Article 6 and domestic/regional emission trading schemes have not led to many changes in the International Voluntary Markets. Additionally, the trade of credits in the International Voluntary Market does not need a sign-off from host nations since no corresponding adjustments are required.

Though the current proposal to ban the export of carbon credits from India, is solely been for the National ETS, a compliance Cap & Trade national market to ensure effective compliance of India’s NDC; in line with similar such National and Regional ETS been successfully in operation around the world, e.g. EU ETS, Korean ETS, etc. will not affect the Voluntary carbon market. It is important that the industry is clarified that this will have no impact on the current sale of carbon credits developed in India to International global markets. This is only a proposal for the National ETS whenever it comes into effect.

Since the ban will not affect the current Voluntary Market dynamics in India, the industry will continue to empower the country in its transition into a carbon-neutral economy. A National ETS will further accelerate this journey since more trade of carbon credits would imply more carbon reduction in the country. The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill will also bring fair play and increased transparency, enabling all stakeholders with equal opportunities. The amendment act will unlock new market potentials for both the sellers and buyers of credits in India.

What is your vision for EKI for the next 5 years?

At EKI, the climate will always continue to be the most important element for all things we do. With a torch held high to steer the planet to a greener & safer tomorrow, we will continue to aggressively promote advancements in the climate sector to help fasten the pace to net zero.

As we steer the planet to net zero with our comprehensive bouquet of solutions carbon management and community development, brand EKI will continue to achieve newer heights in the climate sector even as we continue to stride the planet to a greener future.

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We will inspire that many more stakeholders to adopt sustainable solutions and become conscious of their carbon footprint. As a brand, we would also become net-zero within the next 5 years and we will continue to enable millions of others on this journey. We will expand into many more new markets even as we continue to onboard many more passionate climate enthusiasts in our quest to net zero.

How do you see the carbon credit industry growing in India and EKI’s contribution to it?

As the world has already crossed its deadline for serious climate action to restrict anthropogenic global warming within 1.5 0 C, any further delay in real action will lead to a catastrophic impact; absolute emission reduction is the only way forward, and carbon the market is going to be one of the most important avenues for effective participation of business sectors in meeting the Net Zero commitment.

The creation of a robust National carbon credit market in India structured in a regulated Cap & Trade system would imply an increased demand for credits amongst businesses in the country. The renewed focus on controlling GHG emissions and moving towards carbon neutrality, with specific milestones/targets is expected to encourage increased private sector participation in combating climate change. This will in turn drive the demand for voluntary carbon credits in India in the years to come. The annual demand for voluntary carbon credit in India is expected to touch 500+ million units by 2030.

As an established global leader, we are well placed to make the most of this evolution in the market. Given our global experience, we can lead the country in developing a structured framework for the market. Our deep learning from our experience of ETS and markets in other countries can be leveraged to develop a robust ecosystem in India. We wish to actively work with all industry stakeholders in developing the Domestic Market and empowering it with every bit of our expertise.

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