India | Air pollution and the impact on business

An in-depth analyses published by our partner Clean Air Fund, in collaboration with Dalberg Advisors and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) zeroes in the the impact of air pollution on the Indian economy and workforce.

Each year, air pollution costs Indian businesses close to 50% the cost of managing the COVID-19 pandemic. The staggering results show that India lost ~95 Billion USD (3% of Country’s GDP) in 2019 owing to air pollution. The research additionally established that:

  • Air pollution led to a loss of 1.3 billion workdays over the span of one year because of ill-impacts on workers’ health, leading to loss of revenue to the tune of 6 Billion USD.
  • There has been significant effect on workers’ cognitive and physical performance, lowering the on-the-job productivity and thereby decreasing business revenue by up to 24 Billion USD.
  • The impact of air pollution goes beyond people, reducing the productivity and lifespan of assets. Every 100 unit increase in in PM2.5 levels beyond 100 μg/m3 reduces solar panel productivity by ~13% and ~23% beyond 250 μg/m3. This ultimately leads to 12% increase in the break-even period and 67% loss in the cost advantage of solar vs coal.

  • To retail businesses, high air pollution days mean a decline in consumer footfall, leading to a loss of almost 22 Billion USD, as a result of 1.3% reduction in potential spending.
  • The IT sector faced a 0.7% impact on GDP amounting to loss of 1.3 Billion USD.
  • The Tourism sector lost ~2 Billion USD along with employment loss for 820k professionals due to losses in domestic tourism.

The study gives a detailed account of the ‘Business Costs of Air Pollution’ to show the real extent of the issue. It further deep dives into the case studies of economic losses in Delhi, Gurgaon and Kolkata.


Visit Clean Air Fund’s website and download the report

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