The world’s first clean air market for particulate pollution anchored by the Gujarat Pollution Control Board won the SKOCH Gold Award under the Environment Category. The SKOCH Awards constituted in 2003, are considered one of the most prestigious awards in India given by an independent organization based on a third-party assessment of efforts in digital, financial, social inclusion, governance, inclusive growth, technology, and corporate leadership.

Talking about the recognition, Shri R. B Barad, Chairman, GPCB, said, “The Emission Trading Scheme is an innovative initiative of the Gujarat Pollution Control Board in the direction of air pollution control which will prove to be an inspiration for other states and countries.”
Shri Barad further said, “The Gujarat Pollution Control Board has successfully implemented the Emission Trading Scheme at Surat and considering its encouraging results, now it has been decided to scale up the Emission Trading Scheme at Ahmedabad.”

The Member Secretary of the Gujarat Pollution Control Board Shri. A. V. Shah added to it and said, “The Emission Trading Scheme is a landmark project of the Board and it protects the citizens’ health due to reduction in air pollution, accurate minute-to-minute readings of particulate matter emissions through Continuous Emission Monitoring System (CEMS) enables continuous monitoring of polluting industries and industries emitting less particulate matter gets monetary benefits by selling permits; thus the Emission Trading Scheme provides a win-win-win situation for the citizens, Gujarat Pollution Control Board as well as less polluting industries.”

Sharing his excitement, Prof Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and Director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), said, “The experiment in Surat has shown that the world’s first market for particulate matter reduced emissions by 24%. This award recognizes GPCB’s pioneering vision and leadership in turning an idea into a reality and affirms Gujarat’s decision to expand the market to other parts of the state. More broadly, this pilot underscores that pollution markets can be a game-changer in India and beyond by providing an appealing way to balance the goals of clean air and economic growth.”

Prof Greenstone, along with Prof Rohini Pande, the Henry J. Heinz II Professor of Economics and Director of the Economic Growth Center at Yale University, Dr. Anant Sudarshan, South Asia Director of EPIC, and Nicholas Ryan, Assistant Professor of Economics at Yale University have worked with GPCB over the last several years to conceptualize, implement and rigorously evaluate the emissions trading market in Surat.

GPCB launched India’s first emissions trading system in 2019 in the form of a large-scale pilot programme in the city of Surat with 350 highly-polluting industries participating.  In the clean air market, the government sets a cap on emissions and allows industries to buy and sell permits to stay below the cap. Since its launch, the Surat clean air market has reduced particulate emissions in the city by about 24 percent without any measured increase in industry operating costs. Building on this success, the program is now expanding to other cities within Gujarat and beyond. For example, the GPCB is growing the program to include 230 industries in Ahmedabad.

The GPCB’s Emissions Trading Scheme was earlier nominated to the SKOCH Awards 2022 in February, followed by voting that led to the announcement. This award by the SKOCH Group to GPCB is an encouragement as well as a recognition of the consistent efforts of the state pollution agency to mitigate environmental pollution.