FE-EVI green awards doff hat to sustainable development

Written by Kiritika Suneja | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 7 2012, 16:05pm hrs
FE EVI green awardsEmphasising the need for a new corporate culture to make businesses more sustainable, Union minister for corporate affairs Veerappa Moily has urged India Inc to balance equity and growth.
Emphasising the need for a new corporate culture to make businesses more sustainable, Union minister for corporate affairs Veerappa Moily has urged India Inc to balance equity and growth.

Sustainability report may become a must for companies

Sustainability is a major concern for the corporate sector and business community, especially in developing countries like ours. We have to look at our present without compromising the future. Global warming is the true challenge when it comes to environmental damage, the minister said while presenting the FE-EVI Green Business Leadership Awards 2011-12 at a glittering ceremony in the capital on Tuesday. The event was organised jointly by The Financial Express and Emergent Ventures India.

The award ceremony was accompanied by the launch of the FE-EVI Green Business Survey 2011-12. MK Venu, managing editor, The Financial Express, said: The core elements of sustainable development are gradually becoming part of the consciousness of corporate entities. FE-EVI Survey has strived to play a catalysing role in this regard. The FE-EVI Green Business Survey helps businesses that are fighting climate change and undertaking sustainability initiatives by benchmarking, measuring progress and tracking the industry outlook. It details the sector-wise outlook of firms on climate change and sustainability issues.

At the FE-EVI Green Business Survey & Leadership Awards ceremony, Moilys address was followed by a pertinent panel discussion whose topic was Will Rio bring some light at the end of the tunnel The panelists included notable personalities from the government and private sector like Development Alternatives founder Ashok Khosla, former Tata BP Solar CEO K Subramanya and former petroleum secretary RS Pandey.

Deliberating on the topic, Subramanya gave vital insights into the state of environmental affairs in the Indian context. The government, he said, was planning to make corporate social responsibility (CSR) mandatory.

At the moment, CSR is softly mandated. It is time to focus on Millennium Development Goals without sacrificing any benefits, he said.

Khosla, who is one of world's leading experts on environment and sustainable development, said that Rio may be a disappointment because governments both small and big are negotiating on an equal footing on issues they see as national threats. It reflects the incapability of Asian countries to look beyond the short term. We want to see leadership from our delegation there (in Rio) because sustainability only means natural and people resources and capital investment is required to gather these resources, the former director of the United Nations Environment Programme said.

Pandey further explained that it is a redeem-or-perish situation because almost 88% of the world's energy comes from fossil fuels and every country is in a difficult position due to this. Efficient use of resources, technology and human resource development are the areas of difficulty when discussing business irrespective of whether a country is developed or developing, he reasoned.

The panel discussion made way for the awards, presented to a cross section of industry sectors, including Mahindra & Mahindra, Shree Cement, Tata Chemicals, Tata Coffee, Cognizant Technology Solutions, Essar Steel, Larsen & Toubro and Jain Irrigation System as winners in their respective categories. The winners were shortlisted and selected from nearly 600 companies, each with a revenue of Rs 1,000 crore, on the basis of the impact their initiatives have made in areas like climate change and environment, natural resources management and governance for sustainability.

Two more companies Cleantec and Greenlight Planet were given special recognition for their innovative initiatives in sustainability.

What the UN is trying to achieve at a global, inter-governmental level is something FE-EVI survey has been trying to do in its own modest way to get companies to start reporting regularly on sustainability measures which are becoming integral to their businesses.