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Alternativism - A state-of-mind for true sustainability

"I want to help fight climate change, but I don’t know many eco-friendly options!"

"I'm totally against plastic usage, but sometimes I don’t get an alternative!"

"I'm super conscious about the environment. But it’s frustrating when I don’t get eco-friendly options."

Sounds familiar?

A very large proportion of Indians say that they are aware of climate change and are keen to address it. They also agree that their behaviour may not always reflect this concern. According to research by the Mahindra Group, the principal explanation for this paradox is the absence of suitable environment-friendly products and services at an affordable price.

  • Research shows four out of five (80%) respondents are aware of the impact of plastic and waste management. 88% of respondents believe eco-friendly alternatives are either too expensive or not effective, which prevents them from being more environmentally considerate.
  • 89% of respondents believe they would address climate change more actively if companies offered alternative solutions.

The research confirms that today’s generation is more environmentally conscious than at any time in our long history. However, to transform this awareness into action, consumers need viable, environment-friendly alternatives.

According to Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group, "Climate change is this century’s biggest business opportunity. Our basic philosophy is that a business must create shared value by doing good and doing well at the same time. We intend to create shared value by committing to the battle against climate change and by embracing the business opportunities that arise from it. It is time for action. Business cannot be divorced from the consequences of climate change in the world we share and the people we love."

The Mahindra Group’s inaugural 'Alternativism' report reveals that four out of five (80%) Indians are aware of the impact of plastic and waste management, while three out of four respondents (75%) claim to be ‘concerned’ about the risks that single-use plastics pose to the environment.

Additionally, 83% of Indians describe themselves as ‘interested’ in making lifestyle changes such as carpooling, using public transport or driving electric vehicles to conserve energy. 70% of respondents are ‘aware and informed’ about the environmental issue of water conservation, while more than two out of three (68%) are ‘concerned’ about water shortages in the near future that countries likeIndia are almost certain to face.

70% of respondents would like their employers to act on water conservation by using aerators, doing rainwater harvesting and recycling wastewater, among other initiatives. The expectations of Indians from the business community are very clear. 89% believe they would be able to address climate change more actively if companies offered alternative products and solutions. According to the research, just over a quarter (27%) of Indians are able to find alternative products minimizing their use of plastic. 'Alternativism' is a state-of-mind, a readiness to experiment and speculate, a commitment to think differently and an opportunity to innovate. The lack of alternatives is, in part, exacerbated by conventional thinking being applied to solutions that address climate change. True sustainability can only be achieved through unconventional, alternative thinking concerning business models, production, materials, infrastructure, commercial propositions andvaluations. However, this process is not linear, there are no guarantees.

The Mahindra Group is keen to promote greener options because of the challenge posed by climate change. The Group has, for the past decade, worked towards offering greener products across its businesses including mobility and energy solutions, green buildings, micro-irrigation and other technology solutions.

As Anirban Ghosh, Chief Sustainability Officer, Mahindra Group says, "The business community will be increasingly accountable not merely for the products it develops, but also how it behaves. The message is unequivocal; it is for business to take up the environmental baton."