Mumbai: In the last 3 years, we have witnessed a systemic disruption of the status quo; fast increasing global temperatures, natural calamities, extreme weather, and rising geopolitical tensions are merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The world finds itself in peril and sustainability has become more than just a business imperative.
Which is why, The Economic Times Global Sustainability Congress Series: Sustainable Organisations 2022 was the beckoning of a new world order. The event was an eye opener that highlighted several key need-gaps and strategies to make the sustainable mandate more effective and achievable.
Claire O’Neill, Managing Director, Climate & Energy, World Business Council for Sustainable Development opened the series with a keynote highlighting that companies having a sense of purpose and work with zero carbon or carbon negative approaches are very inspiring.
Following this, a fireside chat on championing sustainable and profitable businesses was initiated by Rajesh Tapadia, CEO, Nxtra by Airtel, who asserted, “To create a larger ecosystem and have proper governance is critical because sustainability is not a stand-alone agenda.”
The sustainability disruption has also been a catalyst for implementing ground-breaking solutions that can make a real difference to our planet. “If solutions are implemented on ground, we will be able to see change based on what choices and the impact they will make on the planet,” stated Afroz Shah, Indian environmental activist, and lawyer.
While asserting that a focus on sustainability will enable better lifespans for products and lead to the advent of a circular economy. Anup Mathew, Head of Greener India Council and Business Head- Godrej Construction, Godrej & Boyce, observes, “Sustainability has an impact on the lifecycle, and we should gradually build more resilience for it.”
Highlighting the need for expediting sustainable mobility, Sunil Jain, Operating Partner, Energy Transition, Essar says, “50% of carbon comes from energy. India should do away with thermal plants and shift to more electric vehicles in order to reduce emissions.”
As a result, there is a need to hasten the transition to a low-carbon, sustainable, and equitable future, and achieving net-zero carbon targets through an integrated strategy is a crucial piece of the sustainability puzzle. According to Aun Abdullah, ESG Leader at the Lodha Group, businesses are attempting to incorporate a socially impacting template because that is important in addition to other initiatives. Stakeholders must also pay attention to the cost of sustainability and the expenditure involved in the transition to net zero. Sandeep Chandna, Chief Sustainability Officer, Tech Mahindra, avers “Pricing is something which I would want all organisations to incorporate along with using renewable resources.” Additionally, Prabodha Acharya, Chief Sustainability Officer, JSW asserts, “It’s clear that 3 things are essential for sustainability implementation: How do we deal with change? How we interact with nature? And how we deal with equality for our planet?”
Therefore, for business organisations, setting a sustainability imperative is time critical. Dia Mirza, Actor, UNEP Goodwill Ambassador & United Nations Secretary-General’s Advocate for SDG, avers, “Climate change is not going to happen in future it is currently happening and it is impacting us socially financially economically. We need faster and swifter actions because it is the need of the hour.”
Expounding on the need to control food and water scarcity which is crucial to achieving the nation’s goals, Aditya Natraj, CEO of the Piramal Foundation says, “Water is a local issue; to fulfil its ESG goals, India should concentrate on water and not simply emissions. Despite having 18% of the world’s population, India only has 4% of the world’s fresh water. The local control of water as a single resource must be strengthened.” Additionally, Namrata Rana, Director-Strategy and Brand, Futurescape, explained, “Given the number of products generated by businesses, there needs to be a measure of the amount of natural resources required to generate them.”
India has already made progress toward sustainability and net zero, but in order to create a sustainable ecosystem for ESG, its stakeholders must be more actively involved.
Here is the list of companies that were felicitated:
- Ball Beverage Packaging India, Bajaj Auto, Bayer India, Bharat Forge, BSV Coca-Cola India, Carlsberg India, Dabur India, Deepak Group, Essar, Electrosteel Castings, Exide Industries,
- Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, Godrej & Boyce Mfg. GMR Group, Grasim Industries, Hero Electric Vehicles, Hero MotoCorp, Himalaya Wellness Company
- IBM India, ITC Grand Central, Indian Oil Corporation, Indinfravit Trust, Infosys, JINDAL Steel and Power, JSW Cement, JSW Steel, KONE Elevators
- Macrotech Developers, Mindtree, NTPC, Nxtra by Airtel, , Piramal Foundation, Shree Renuka Sugars, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, Tata Chemicals, Tata Communications, Tata Power, Tech Mahindra
- V-Trans (India), Vedanta