New Delhi: “Decision are in, delays are out”, proclaimed Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State for Environment, Forest & Climate Change (Independent Charge), Information & Broadcasting (Independent Charge), and Parliamentary Affairs, Government of India, talking about the last 100 days of the his government. Javadekar was speaking at the inauguration of the 9th Sustainability Solutions Summit organized by the CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development. He argued that if no decisions are taken one cannot grow, and if you don’t grow you can’t achieve sustainable development targets. He added ‘that companies and governments need to take decisions while balancing both sustainability and growth.’
Pointing towards international negotiations Javadekar added that the biggest environmental disaster is poverty and that unless we eradicate poverty, we can’t have a level playing field.
Giving his opening remarks, Y C Deveshwar, Past President, CII, Chairman, CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development Advisory Council and Chairman, ITC Limited, highlighted how the world has exhausted its budget of resources for the year and will now be living on borrowed resources from the future. Fifty years ago it was using three-fourth of the available resources and today it uses more than can be replaced. Solving this problem is not the onus of a single of society, however, business he feels can play an important role, saying, ‘Business can make a very large contribution, not because it has the financial resource, but because it has a managerial resource, it has innovative capacity, and because business has demonstrated that if an objective is set, it finds ways and mechanisms to be able to achieve those objectives’.
According to Dr Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute, we live in a good news, bad news, good news world. The good news is the phenomenal progress the world, and India, has made –doubling of incomes, halving of poverty, increased access to education and health care, gains in life expectancy, reductions in infant mortality, to name a few. India itself has reported a growth rate of 7 per cent, has added 800 million people to the workforce every year, in terms of purchasing power parity is third in the world, and 300 million people have been lifted out of poverty. However, it is this progress that has also led to the bad news, leading to great pressures on natural resources. The third good news he said is, ‘there doesn’t need to be a tradeoff. Research is overwhelmingly pointing in the direction today that says you can actually grow, and you can grow green at the same time.’ He emphasized that if we improve resources efficiency, we will not grow better and live better.
Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, proclaimed that India is facing a double dilemma, ‘on the one hand it has to take care of the environment and biodiversity, and on the other hand it has to still provide the infrastructure facilities, boost the economy, feed its ever growing population, and provide basic amenities to its people.About two decades ago, the Indian economy opened up to the world, which brought about rapid economic growth but challenges of socio-economic development are still considerable. Today, there is an urgent need to bridge this gap.’Industry also needs to take leadership and must think of sustainable business as the new usual.