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Greenpeace activists blockade Bharti’s group headquarter

Announcement  |  Corporate 

Bharti Airtel remains unsure about its low carbon road map, verbally commits to phase-out diesel but fails to specify timelines in writing

Greenpeace activists intensified their campaign by blockading the entrance of Bharti’s group headquarters at Vasant Kunj, New Delhi and unfurled banners displaying the message “Airtel- Switch off Diesel”. Greenpeace acted because Bharti Airtel backtracked from its earlier assurance to commit to a timeline for the public disclosure of its carbon emissions from its entire operations and the phase out of diesel in powering its telecom tower operations. Greenpeace demanded a written assurance from the company to a process through which they would act to phase-out diesel.  The activists were detained by the police and later released.

Precipitated by the protest, Mr. Akhil Gupta, Joint CEO, of the Bharti Group met Greenpeace representatives but failed to confirm that they intend to phase out diesel and replace it with renewables. Greenpeace is willing to collaborate but with the condition that Bharti Airtel shows its clear intent on the diesel phase out publicly. Greenpeace is willing to collaborate with Bharti Airtel to catalyse and work with other releavnt stakeholderson the condition that the company demonstrates it serious intent by putting in place a road map to phase out diesel.

Responding to this development, Abhishek Pratap, Campaigner, Greenpeace India said “Bharti Airtel is still reluctant to make any commitment to publicly disclose their carbon emissions and roll out a clean energy roadmap   within a defined timeline. We remain concerned that the telecom giant has not been able to explain to us why they cannot publicly disclose their carbon emission and a timeline for diesel phase out. Greenpeace is open to supporting any such initiative, provided there is demonstrable leadership from Bharti Airtel.  Over 70,000 concerned individuals along with Greenpeace India will continue to mount pressure on Bharti Airtel’s until they make a commitment publicly.”

Since the release of its report “Dirty Talking” (2), Greenpeace has been urging Bharti Airtel to-

  • Publicly disclose the carbon emissions of its entire business operation and establish progressive emission reduction targets 
  • Commit to shift the sourcing of 50% of its energy requirements towards renewable energy sources and phase out diesel use in its business operations by 2015.
  • Catalyse a low-carbon wide growth, by using its brand power to advocate for strong policies that promote renewable energy

Mrinmoy Chattaraj, Climate and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace India added “The cost and environmental benefits of transiting from a diesel dependent to a renewable powered model of operation are clear.  Airtel has a unique chance to demonstrate that a large telecom corporation in emerging markets can not only be profitable but also environmentally sustainable.”

Earlier at a meeting between Greenpeace and Bharti Airtel on June 10th, 2011, the company backtracked from their commitment to provide a timeline for publicly disclosing their carbon emission and a clean energy roadmap.

“People all over the country are asking the company they love to lead the energy revolution by Switching off Diesel. We hope Airtel will rise to this challenge.” Chattaraj added further.

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First Published: Tue, June 28 2011. 19:46 IST