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New Delhi: The first general assembly of the International Solar Alliance will be held in India this October. The historic event is expected to coincide with the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, signalling that New Delhi would employ the first treaty-based international government organization in India as a foreign policy tool.

As part of India’s strategy to cement its leadership among developing countries, the marque event is expected to be attended by representatives of 65 countries which are signatories to the framework agreement. The general assembly follows International Solar Alliance’s founding conference, co-hosted by India and France, in New Delhi in March.

“Of the 65 who have signed the International Solar Alliance, 35 countries have ratified it. It takes time as it goes to their respective Parliaments for approval. The first general assembly will be a big event,” said one person aware of the development, requesting anonymity.

Other prominent intergovernmental organizations in the energy sector include the Vienna-based Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA).

Speaking at a press conference earlier this month, power minister Raj Kumar Singh had said that the ministers from the 65 countries will be attending the first general assembly of the International Solar Alliance. India has taken a lead in this and the other countries have recognized it, he added.

The general assembly will also witness the election of the office-bearers of the solar alliance of countries that was mooted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the India-Africa Summit in Delhi in October 2015. Besides, it will also provide a platform for the member-countries and investors to court and seek opportunities.

India has been looking at ways to leverage International Solar Alliance, which includes an ambitious outreach programme by reaching out to chief executives of Fortune 500 companies and starting a Solar Nobel prize, Mint had reported on 9 August, 2017.

International Solar Alliance’s mission is to undertake joint efforts required to reduce the cost of finance and the cost of technology, mobilize more than $1,000 billion of investments needed by 2030 for massive deployment of solar energy, and pave the way for future technologies. “There will be a process of engagement,” said the person quoted above.

The International Solar Alliance has been working on a $300-billion risk mitigation fund as part of a strategy to create a sustainable financing architecture for solar projects worldwide. The fund will be used to insure solar power projects against risks such as default in payment by electricity procurers, foreign exchange fluctuations and regime change. This, in turn, will help attract investors to the space.

While queries emailed to India’s ministry of external affairs on Thursday evening remained unanswered, a spokesperson for ministry of new and renewable energy told Mint that the newspaper’ queries have been referred to International Solar Alliance.

“We will let you know the dates and rest of the details once we have official word in place,” an International Solar Alliance spokesperson said in an emailed response.

It was India and France who front-ended the attempts to set up International Solar Alliance and launched it on the first day of the United Nations conference on climate change held in Paris in November 2015. While initially, International Solar Alliance envisaged 121 sunshine countries situated between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn as its members, it was later announced that the membership of the body will be thrown open to all countries that want to join, with no criteria such as duration of sunlight and geographical location.

Source : Uttpal Bhaskar, Live Mint, 18th June 2018


Walmart India plans to manage and run all store operations sustainably by leveraging solar energy, water harvesting, waste management and energy efficient solutions.

Walmart India has pledged to remove single-use shrink wrap used for storing merchandise and replace it with sustainable storage solutions across all its Best Price Modern Wholesale Stores in India in a phased manner.

The company has already started the drive in its Best Price Stores in Maharashtra and is expanding this initiative across its stores in rest of India in a phased manner.

With this initiative, Walmart India will be contributing to the realization of the Government’s vision to completely eliminate all single-use plastic in the country by 2022.

Talking about the company’s sustainability initiatives, Krish Iyer, President & CEO, Walmart India, said, “Leading on social and environmental issues and running sustainable stores is more than just a matter of philanthropy for Walmart India. It is woven into the day-to-day business activities, and this initiative reiterates the commitment. We recognize that plastic pollution is a critical issue. We also recognize that this is the joint responsibility of all – citizens, industry and government, among others, to curb plastic waste. Through this project, our endeavor is to phase out single-use plastic shrink wrap from our company’s stores across India by first quarter of 2019.”

Walmart has pledged to meet a large part of its energy needs through renewable energy and has installed rooftop solar panels in 17 Best Price stores and these are already meeting 33 percent of the store’s energy needs. Walmart India expects that solar energy will provide 40 to 50 percent of its energy needs within the next two years. It has set aggressive goal to have 100 percent renewable energy in our stores in few years.

As part of its ‘Bio-degradable Waste Management Project’, Walmart India installed the waste composting machine at its Best Price store in Hyderabad, making it the first store in India to be able to dispose of waste generated at the store responsibly. The waste would be recycled and reused for the green area on store premises. The waste composting machine has a capacity of handling 50 kg of waste per day and will be able to manage all the bio-waste generated at the store every day. These machines are being installed in all our stores gradually.

Sourced :  Business Word, 16 July 2018


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