Topic 13

Assessing risks, benefits, best practices, and requirements to transform to and scale renewable carbon bio-feedstocks in India

Anindita Misra

Community Member; Initiative for Climate Action (ICA)

Mahesh Sankaran

Professor - Community & Ecosystems Ecology; National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (NCBS-TIFR)

Abhayraj Naik

Co-Founder; Initiative for Climate Action (ICA)

Dhaval Negandhi

Ecological Economist; The Nature Conservancy (TNC), India

Venkataraghavan R

Platform Leader - Clean Future; Unilever


Our “wicked problems” in sustainability are filled with solutions that solve part of one problem but exacerbate the problem elsewhere. For example, moving to electric vehicles shifts greenhouse gas emissions from the streets to mines and power plants. Further, there is a lack of business incentivization and pricing for these sustainability issues coupled with a disconnect between government, innovators and solution/technology providers and the community at large. These gaps coupled with ineffective and misplaced policy priorities have led to ineffective solutions, leading to our inability to solve overflowing landfills and other such sustainability challenges and the widening inequality symptoms that result from inefficient action.
To address these issues, we need to articulate a robust framework for decisions and actions to affect appropriate policy through an effective discussion and decision framework. Such discussions should be designed to alleviate economic inequality and reverse environmental degradation/ the discussions should also be driven by scientific assessment for sustainable all-round development that involves all stakeholders through continuous dialogue. We must also adopt sound digital technologies to ensure robust implementation and address last-mile vulnerabilities.


1. Assess the resource and eco-efficiency regarding available materials, technologies, infrastructure, processes and uses of the current carbon sources in India.
2. Identify the input/output energy and resource conversion metrics and interactions underlying bio feedstock production and use.
3. Compare the resource and eco-efficiency regarding available materials, technologies, infrastructure, processes for and uses of renewable carbon bio- feedstocks in India.
4. Assess the feasibility (including impact and costs and benefits) regarding the ecological, environmental, production, consumer, market, social, and regulatory parameters underlying bio feedstock production and use.
5. Build a decision-making framework for businesses and policy makers for transformation to and scaling of renewable carbon bio-feedstocks that considers the values, needs, benefits and risks of the stakeholders in the process.


This project can:
1. provide a methodology and framework prototype adaptable to other transitions from unsustainable to sustainable processes.
2. reduce fossil carbon use (cost benefit by avoiding import) and environmental costs.
3. improve standards of living and health, quality of life through carbon mitigation.
4. lead to new industries and job opportunities.
5. integrate human, ecological, physical and engineering sciences to address an interdisciplinary systemic problem.
6. serve as a prototype for transformations to low carbon behaviours across different arenas of societal existence in India.