Time for Action: Sustainability and Beyond – Ideas to Solutions

28 September 2022, Delhi: It is increasingly crucial for firms to look at sustainability as a concrete goal while aligning and integrating it with their core businesses. Firms are articulating their strategies for a sustainable future as they strive to meet the global commitment to the 2030 goal. There is a need to build a cohesive roadmap that builds a wide-ranging viewpoint from which to approach global crisis mitigation, economic recovery, and development.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) must be achieved in less than ten years, so it is more crucial than ever for the international community to mobilise for quick action. The Economic Times Global Sustainability Alliance held a comprehensive summit on 28th September 2022, Hyatt Regency, Delhi, which gave a comprehensive 360-degree overview on SDGs from global leaders spanning large and small corporates, government, and non-government organizations. The event kicked off with the launch of the ET and Futurescape Climate Leadership Report.

In the opening dialogue, several noted speakers were invited to touch upon the fact that transformation have the key aspect of the next phase of sustainability. Nitin Prasad, Chairman, Shell Companies in India gave a unique perspective on sustainability, stating, “Technological advancements have allowed us to create credible alternatives and develop viable economical models towards sustainability.” Adding to that fact, Jamshyd Godrej, Chairman & Managing Director, Godrej & Boyce, reinstated the fact that, “There is a large business case for sustainability and there is no denying that. Yet, I believe that company intervention is supremely important in today’s world.”

Following this, the Guest of Honor Suman Bery, Vice Chairperson, NITI Aayog gave an address: Enrich 2030- Path towards Sustainable Economic Development.

“The SDG goals are an agenda and global consensus toward sustainable living. NITI Aayog has erected data-driven dashboards for states and at the district levels. I believe that along with frugality, the government’s efforts to mobilise technology in our path towards development are important for building a sustainable future.”

Shedding light on the Decarbonization Agenda 2030, the Inaugural CEO’S Panel took a close look at what the business owes the world. “I applaud the government for creating an enabling environment to work towards sustainability. The progress report of all the state and district levels are available on the public platform. Today, there is an awareness at the society level and vast opportunities for the manufacturing sector in sustainability.,” shared Vidya Basarkod, Managing Director – India and Ramboll Engineering Centre Director. Deepak Jain, Partner & APAC Lead – Advanced Manufacturing & Services, Bain & Company gave unique insights, “We are only halfway through our SDG goals. Hence, we have to actively move toward decarbonisation to accelerate SDGs. The number of investments by PEs towards ESG-related firms has increased by 10x in the recent past.”

In the industrial sector, the shift to a carbon-free environment has drastically changed how we approach projects and evaluate our current operating practices.  Emergent Technologies to Enable Net Zero Emissions for Industries-Wendy Werner, India Country Director, International Finance Corporation explained how the IFC has devised a performance-based approach when it comes to sustainability.

The Leaders’ Panel also had its array of stalwarts from across industries including Mahendra Singhi, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd

COP 27 will probably bring together a more advanced carbon credit economy.

The session on the role of Government in achieving 2030 SDG Goals gave a closer perspective on Circular Carbon Economy and Action towards Climate Change and others. Indevar Pandey, Secretary, Women and Child Development, Government of India, shared that, “Technology has certainly helped achieve our sustainable goals. On our part, we have a data tool that tracks the nutrition of children across anganwadis.” Baldeo Purusharth, Joint Secretary, Economic Affairs, Department of Finance, Government of India explained, “There is a direct correlation between infrastructure growth and achieving our SDGs. Adequate infrastructure growth across sections is vital for the upliftment of neglected sections and bring inclusion.”

The finale session, the ‘Country leader’s dialogue’, featured ambassadors from the UK, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Uruguay, along with Vibha Dhawan, Director General, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) as they discussed reconciling opportunities and challenges of climate-resilient development. To which, the H.E. Alex Ellis, High Commissioner, British High Commission stated, “We need to make better policies that are based on trust. During COVID-19, India did extremely well in mass manufacturing vaccines in a short span of time, at a low cost. So, I believe that Indians need to listen to their own voice when it comes to sustainability.”

The “Decade of Action” has begun in earnest, and this year’s SDG event paved the way for future thought leaders.

Written by: Anupama Sughosh

Edited by: Queenie Nair

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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