By Sudarshana Banerjee

Bharti Airtel and the Cellular Operator Association of India (COAI) failed to honour their commitment of disclosing a detailed and sustainable emission reduction plan, including a substantial substitution of diesel with renewable alternatives to power their network operations by September 2011, says Greenpeace India, the Indian arm of Greenpeace International. The public commitment was made following a meeting between Bharti Airtel, representatives of COAI and Greenpeace India on June this year.

The meeting between Greenpeace India and the Bharti Airtel led COAI was preceded by a public campaign where over 70,000 individuals from across the country urged the company by substantially shifting to renewable sources for its energy requirements.

Recently, Vodafone Essar and Google have disclosed their carbon emissions and renewable energy goals publicly. In the absence of public reporting by any of the companies in the Indian telecom sector so far, this could have far-reaching consequences for the long-term sustainability and profitability of the telecom industry in India.

“Quite clearly, we now have a precedent to suggest that the transit to a low-carbon profitable model is feasible for India’s telecom sector. The question before Bharti Airtel is whether it is willing to act in line with its professed commitments to decouple its growth from growing carbon emissions, in a manner befitting a responsible market leader,” Mrinmoy Chattaraj, a campaigner with Greenpeace India.

(Sudarshana Banerjee is consulting editor with techtaffy.com. She can be reached at [email protected])