’What is the use of last 70 years of independence if growth and development does not reach the last rung of the ladder of our society’ stated Dr Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Culture and Minister of State for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, addressing the 12th Sustainability Summit, organised by CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development, in Delhi. Talking of inclusive growth, he laid emphasis on Indian youth population being the youngest in the world, that has the ability to give back to the society. Committing to the 5Ps -people, planet, peace, prosperity and partnership – Dr Sharma highlighted the need for adopting a holistic approach that is necessary for the progress of social and economic development of the country. He stressed on the vision of Shri Narendra Modi about India being a poverty-free; terrorism-free, communalism-free, casteism-free nation on its completion of 75 years of independence.
The 12th Sustainability Summit, an annual flagship event of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), is focused on Driving Inclusive Growth and on the collective journey of stakeholders in achieving SDGs by 2030. The UN had adopted 17 Global Goals or Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in September 2015, in New York. As we move from pledges to practice, the 2030 development goals and targets show us the path to achieving inclusive and sustainable development. Business has important and definitive role to play in achieving SDGs.
‘EU’s strong commitment and cooperation on partnering with India in terms of renewable energy, clean energy and climate change action’, reiterated His Excellency, Mr Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador of European Union to India and Bhutan. Focusing on the bilateral trade relations in goods and services between EU and India, he highlighted that it has doubled in the last decade. He stressed on the need to focus on innovation fuel by technology to foster clean energy and achieve sustainable development characterized by inclusiveness.
The inaugural session of the Sustainability Summit 2017 was addressed by Mr Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Culture and Minister of State for Environment, Forest &Climate Change, Government of India; Mr Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador of European Union to India and Bhutan, Ms Shobana Kamineni, President, CII and Executive Vice-Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited; in presence of Mr Sanjiv Puri, CEO and Executive Director, ITC Limited and Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry.
Ms Shobana Kamineni, President Designate, CII, highlighted CII’s theme for 2017-18 which is ‘India together: inclusive, ahead, responsible’ by putting forth the concept of thriving imbalance. Elaborating this concept, she stressed on combating social inequalities to achieve inclusiveness that must transcend geographies, borders, caste, disability and the larger challenges of society. She mentioned the need for creating 6 million new jobs for the youth of the country who enter the workforce on an annual basis. In this context, she talked about the challenges in training, skilling, re-learning, pay parity, economic opportunities to women especially to the rural female populace to align with the objectives of achieving the goals of sustainable development.
Aligning with the objectives of UNSDGs, Mr. Sanjiv Puri, Chief Operating Officer, ITC Limited said, ‘issues of sustainable development have taken the centre-stage in corporate strategy and policy making.’ In the light of recent natural disasters across the world, he encouraged to perceive the issue of climate change as a potential threat impeding the progress of mankind. He urged to create a new growth model that not just has economic value but also creates sufficient livelihoods. Economic growth and sustainable development work in tandem. Businesses need to develop sustainable strategies for creating shareholder’s value alongside serving larger societal needs and values.
Addressing the need to keep pace with the changing requirements of corporates to address the issue of inclusive growth, Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry highlighted that CII has engaged with government to facilitate policies that encourage the integration of sustainability in business. At CII, sustainability issues are addressed through its three centres of excellence; namely, Green Business Centre, CESD, Water Institute. He mentioned that he worked with Dr Mahesh Sharma on issues related to tourism in the past to transform India’s ecosystem. He thanked ITC for their continuous support in achieving sustainable goals endeavours of corporate, government and civil society.