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Committed to Improving Living Standards for People Across India

Reliance is helping to deliver lower cost and higher-quality products—everything from mobile devices to food—to consumers across India, while also using more renewable energy sources to do so.



June 2023

The India-based firm Reliance Industries is a leader across multiple industries, including energy, petrochemicals, retail, telecommunications, mass media and textiles. It is committed to helping consumers enjoy a wide range of higher-quality and low-cost products that can be produced and delivered sustainably.

Making Mobile Devices Affordable for Everyday Citizens

The firm launched Reliance Jio to the public in 2016 as a low-cost telecommunications provider. It began offering unlimited free local and long-distance voice calls. Someone in Mumbai can call a relative in Hyderabad at no cost, for example. Jio also began offering 4G data, messaging, and related services at a much lower price than other competitors do. Today, India has the world’s lowest data cost for consumers.

Reliance Jio effectively democratized access to telecommunications across India, enabling far more people to have low-cost and easy access to internet data. The service was an immediate hit with customers, and it is now India’s largest mobile network operator, having helped to consolidate a once-fragmented sector and eventually overtaking its two biggest competitors in the telecom sector– Vodafone and Airtel.[1]

Reliance Jio exemplifies how a company can make a business-minded decision that still has a major positive impact on society. With Jio, Reliance created a business that delivered more than $100 billion in value for its shareholders, while also making a service that has become critical to everyday life easily affordable for large numbers of consumers across India. It also helps the country, as a whole, because enabling more of its citizens to access telecommunications makes India more competitive on the global economic stage.

Delivering High Quality, Low-Cost Retail Products to Consumers

Reliance is now one of the largest retailers in India, with stores in almost every retail format – from supermarkets and convenience stores to jewelry, apparel, and electronics stores. Historically, the retail segment in the country has been dominated by local mom-and-pop, street-corner stores. The distribution of products to these retailers has been a multilayered and often bribery-ridden process that has been inefficient and, ultimately, very expensive for consumers. The quality of products like food has historically been so poor that the country has been plagued by what is known as a “trust deficit culture.” Consumers have been highly skeptical about the quality of the products they can buy.

Reliance has been helping to professionalize the retail sector, including the distribution channels, and is thereby helping to deliver both higher quality and more affordable products to consumers. For example, it can use its scale with a supplier like Hindustan Unilever to negotiate far better prices than other retailers can. When a consumer buys a bar of soap from a Reliance Smart Point store, they are paying a much lower price. The quality of products Reliance can get delivered to its stores is also helping to overcome the trust deficit.

Making the Petrochemical Industry More Sustainable

Petroleum is used to make the petrochemicals that are, in turn, used to make everything from textiles like polyester to the plastics that compose products ranging from water bottles to eyeglasses and PVC piping. Reliance is looking to have an impact with petrochemicals on two fronts: first to make them more affordable for the industries and sectors, and ultimately consumers, who use them, and second by turning to more renewable energy resources in its refineries that produce them.

A petrochemical refinery is a heavy user of electricity. Historically, in India, that electricity has come from coal or natural gas. Reliance is now seeking to transition more of its facilities to renewable energy sources.

Fostering the Transition to Renewable Energy

Reliance is also building the capabilities to generate more energy from renewable sources, like hydrogen fuel cells, solar and wind. It can have an enormous impact because it could become one of the more cost-effective global providers of these energy sources. The company, because of its vast facilities across industries like petrochemicals, will be a sizeable consumer of these renewable energy sources.

Given the vertical integration of Reliance’s businesses, the firm’s efforts to transition to renewable energy can also have a considerable multiplier effect. Consider, for example, the impact of its transition to renewable energy with its telecom operations. Telecommunications towers heavily depend on electricity to run. India, unlike the U.S., does not have regional power grids. Many of India’s telecommunications towers derive their electricity from on-premises generators, which run on diesel, which has to be delivered to each telecommunications facility. The overall use of diesel is increased with the additional consumption of it by the trucks that make the deliveries.

Reliance is making the shift to more renewable energy by putting solar panels at these towers. It can effectively reduce its electricity costs from 10 cents to 12 cents per kilowatt hour to 7 cents. That is a savings that generates more profits for the company, while also enabling it to continue providing low-cost telecommunications to consumers. There are also tremendous environmental benefits in moving away from diesel-run generators and delivery trucks to solar panels. It is another example of a decision that delivers considerable benefits for a business while also having a major positive environmental impact.

Sustainable Development Goals

The Sands Capital six investment criteria tend to lead us to businesses that are innovators or vital facilitators of change in industries undergoing significant transformation. Reliance is one of many portfolio businesses that create impact by addressing at least one major social or environmental challenge identified by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through the initiatives described here, Reliance supports SDG 7, Affordable and Clean Energy; SDG 9, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; SDG 10, Reduced Inequalities; and SDG 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities.

[1] Top Mobile Network Operators | Service Providers in India (


The business profiled was selected based on its reported alignment with one or more U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. The views expressed are the opinion of Sands Capital and are not intended as a forecast, a guarantee of future results, investment recommendations, or an offer to buy or sell any securities. The views expressed were current as of the date indicated and are subject to change. This material may contain forward-looking statements, which are subject to uncertainty and contingencies outside of Sands Capital’s control. Readers should not place undue reliance upon these forward-looking statements. There is no guarantee that Sands Capital will meet its stated goals. Past performance is not indicative of future results. All investments are subject to market risk, including the possible loss of principal. Differences in account size, timing of transactions and market conditions prevailing at the time of investment may lead to different results, and clients may lose money. A company’s fundamentals or earnings growth is no guarantee that its share price will increase. The specific securities identified and described do not represent all of the securities purchased, sold, or recommended for advisory clients. There is no assurance that any security will continue to be owned by Sands Capital. All investments are subject to market risk, including the possible loss of principal. You should not assume that any investment is or will be profitable. Company logos and website images are used for illustrative purposes only and were obtained directly from the company websites. Company logos and website images are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners and use of a logo does not imply any connection between Sands Capital and the company. GIPS® Reports and additional disclosures for the related composites may be found in the Sands Capital GIPS Report.

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