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"We Believe In The Three ‘I’s – Intend, Implement, And Innovate"

At Rolls-Royce, certain areas of operation will go net zero by 2023

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In an interaction with BW Businessworld; Kishore Jayaraman, President, Rolls-Royce, India & South Asia speaks about industry trends in ESG (environment, social, and governance), as well as the work done by Rolls-Royce in this area

What is Rolls-Royce’s approach to sustainability?

We believe in the three ‘I’s, that is, intend, implement, and innovate. Everyone intends to make the world a greener and cleaner place for our generation. The intent has been there for a long time, and the time has come to implement it. Corporations, including Rolls-Royce are looking at how to make it happen now. We have to start the journey with a milestone and we have to see what the end will look like. If we take the three ‘I’s we are at the implement journey at Rolls Royce. The net zero charter for UN is a guiding principle for us. At the Glasgow session our Prime Minister targeted 2070 as the year to go net carbon zero, while some other countries said 2050. At Rolls-Royce, certain areas of operation will go net zero by 2023. Sustainable alternate fuels for us in the civil aerospace business will be a possibility for us by 2023, where all our products will be compatible. By 2030, all our products will be net zero compatible. By 2050 we should have a fully decarbonised environment around us. 

How is Rolls-Royce using technology to achieve its net zero targets?

75 per cent of our research and development will be towards products that drive our net zero initiative. This spend is purely on technology, be it our power systems or our civil aerospace systems. Technology will be our backbone to achieve net zero. This technology is physical in nature, it is in terms of fuels, it is in terms of data analytics, technology is applicable everywhere. 

Rolls-Royce is undertaking a ‘Carbon First’ initiative. What is that about, and what other initiatives is the company undertaking to make it more sustainable?

Today we are looking at sustainable alternate fuels, and how we can optimise products and we are making sure we are on the right journey to sustainability. The future is green, and for electricity it is renewable sources, for electricity it will be green hydrogen, and how it can be used in our engines long-term. We also have a lot of experience in nuclear technology, we can take this technology and translate it into creating small modular nuclear plants. The other side is electric, and we are now looking at electric propulsion. We are working on an aircraft that is yet to be commercialised. We are also looking at EVTOL, that is, electric vehicle take-off and landing. For all these aspects to materalise, we have to take into account technology that exists, technology that is coming up, while we innovate along the way. We have to be ready for implementation in a very agile manner. 

What is your take on sustainability in the aerospace industry, and how ready is India to undertake changes in this domain?

It is about being a part of the journey to a greener planet. If we really want to make this happen, it will happen only via collaborations. It has to happen via fuels, so we partner with companies like Shell, if we talk about aircrafts we have to partner with Boeing. If we talk about services, we have to partner with people who are able to generate the services in a very green manner. It is a collaborative approach which will involve multiple stakeholders. It is important for every single human being on earth, and we have to collaborate with everyone in every nook and every corner of the world. We are going to work with VC Jain University, Hyundai, and are looking to engage in more collaborations as time passes. 

What is Rolls-Royce doing to promote efficient fuels and more efficient jet engines? 

Our latest product, UltraFan, is going to be 25 per cent more fuel efficient. When we look at efficiency, the idea is to make our fossil fuels more efficient. The latest UltraFan is more efficient and will be able to transport people in a greener way than what it is currently. Secondly, we are also looking at electric as the future. The journey from sustainable alternate fuel to fully electric is going to take time. This is not a place where we can experiment, because people’s lives are at stake and we have to be very careful. We have to be 100 per cent sure everything will go as per clockwork. We will have to build from there.

The community is a big part of ESG today. How is Rolls-Royce incorporating community wellness measures in its plan?

We are an industrial technology company, and when we do social work, it has to tie into who we are. We have started initiatives in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) area and have been doing it for a decade now. We are trying to educate the next generation about the advantages of STEM, and fire their inner passion for this field. While we do this, it is important we do it while taking the women workforce along, because they have not been proactive in the STEM area. And hopefully we will have some of them as Rolls-Royce employees in the future.

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Magazine 10 Sep 2022