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BW Businessworld

How Sustainability Will Lead The Way To Future

BW Businessworld conducted a full-day virtual summit, where eminent panelists discuss the importance of sustainability

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BW Businessworld conducted a full-day virtual summit on sustainability. Opening the session, Dr Annurag Batra, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief, BW Businessworld & exchange4media Group, said: “Sustainability is not a choice, it is an imperative. It is an imperative to make sure that the planet is better, the lives that we live are better so it is definitely not a choice. Corporates should not do only lip service with sustainability.”

Showing the concern on the topic, Ruchi Rastogi, Founder Director Hunar Foundation, stated that, “We are making products from newspapers. They don’t harm nature in any way. We are creating employment for some really marginalised people. We have to think inside out, not outside in. We are working on sustainability at the grassroot level. We make eco-friendly products as well. We are working on a very base level with sustainability.”

Taking the conversation further, Saurabh Bardhan, Founder, Green Bandhu and Co- founder, Earthima Technologies added, “For me sustainability is like a rainy day with a bright sun in the sky and a triple rainbow. So the triple rainbow is your environment, society and the economics. To get a confluence of all these things it is a difficult task. We should start thinking about how we want to see ourselves tomorrow. Unfortunately corporates look at compliances. The system is designed in a way that if someone wants to start anything genuine, then they have to have all the resources and a host of other things, including finances, knowledge. We need people to create for the next generation. It is the karma. We also need to be realistic.”

On the other hand, Mariyam Khatri, Sustainability Expert, Adidas, said, “It is a take and throw away culture, which needs to change and take some steps such as circularity for one. Like everyone in the business must be responsible for their product. There should be a proper product liability in the business. That is the futuristic way to be able to back up sustainability within the terms of the business.”

Talking about sustainability in the paper sector, AS Mehta, President, Indian Paper Manufacturers Association & President Director, JK Paper, said, “We are in the business sector and we think sustainability is the bottomline. For the last 15-20 years, the paper sector had initiated plantation of trees and not a single forest tree has been cut. What happens is that the implementation at the grassroot level is a difficult task. We need to have transparent enforcement for sustainable systems for small and medium players. I can take an oath that we need a paradigm shift in the minds of the people involved. We need to work on the ecosystem with our communities. We have been compromising for ages on the sustainability aspect. Because at one point of time when you need to see and achieve the competitiveness sometimes what happens is that you do whatever is necessary for it. What you ignore at that time is what is needed in the short and medium term. There are measures being taken by the paper sector.”

Similarly, Sudhir Mishra, Founder & Managing Partner - Trust Legal, commented that, “Even if Covid has come as a dampener to sustainability, we will come out stronger. We work with all the government and private agencies. I have been practicing environment law for 20 years. Just before Covid came into our lives I was in the World Plastic Congress in Italy. The entire nation was talking about how to reduce plastics. Sustainability has gone through various challenges in India. If you talk about the forest and wildlife, I don’t think any other country has seen the success we have seen. We have got huge forest cover, we have an amazing tiger population but if you talk about the challenges to the infrastructural development and the kind of population we have and how do we balance the need of this population with protecting our environment is a huge challenge for this country. We should focus on the goals of clean water, clean air etc.”