It was a who?s who of green corporates at the ?4th Sustainability Summit: Asia 2009? in the capital last week. Twenty-one companies bagged the Sustainability Awards 2009 in different categories handed over by environment and forests minister Jairam Ramesh. Speaking on the occasion, Ramesh said that the government is keen to ensure that economic growth and environmental sensitivity go together. He added: ?Public confidence in economic growth can be ensured only through sustainability.?
Tata Chemicals (Babrala Plant) bagged the sustainability prize (independent unit). The commendation for significant achievement awards (independent unit) were conferred on Ultratech (Hirmi Works), SRF (chemicals division), Philips (Vadodara factory), Sail (Bhilai steel plant) and Essar Steel (Hazira plant).
Toyota Kirloskar, NTPC and Tata Steel were the winners in the large business category.
The commendation for strong commitment award (independent unit) went to Sail (Durgapur steel plant), ONGC (Hazira plant), NTPC (Rihand plant) and Bhel (Hyderabad plant). Hindustan Zinc, Maruti Suzuki, TCS, Yes Bank, Tata Tinplate, GTL Ltd, Shree Cement, and Binani Cement won the award in the large business category. No organisation was awarded the top role model award this year.
The two-day summit was also addressed by Farooq Abdullah, minister for new & renewable energy, and Salman Khurshid, minister of state for corporate affairs and minority affairs. Addressing the summit on the first day, Abdullah said that the negotiations at the forthcoming Copenhagen summit would not be an easy job and ?nations sharing beliefs for a pollution-free tomorrow should unite and make themselves heard?. He added that the role of new and renewable energy assumes added significance since the projections made in the Integrated Energy Policy Report reveal that India would increasingly rely on imported oil, gas and coal in the medium term.
In his remarks, Khurshid said the government feels that shouldering social responsibility by companies can lead to sustainability commitments from enterprises and such institutional support would be instrumental in ensuring sustainable development with a rational, reasonable and humanistic approach.
Their views were shared by industry captains. Som Mittal, president, Nasscom, said that India must pursue sustainable development to leverage its demographic dividend, particularly since Asia is expected to overtake the European market in a decade. He also highlighted the important role that ICTs can play in advancing the cause. Talking about industry initiatives, Nik Senapati, managing director, Rio Tinto India, said Indian companies have joined hands to form the Sustainable Mining Initiative that is focused on ethical mining practices, environment, biodiversity, health and safety, community improvement, and development.
Other industry leaders too agreed that aligning the efforts of the government with those of the business community is imperative to pursue a low-carbon, clean-energy economy. It was felt that businesses now have to think beyond short-term interests like quarter-on-quarter profits. Though one cannot deny that the primary objective of a business is to generate revenue, it was argued that profit for all the stakeholders, as against profit for only shareholders, is equally important. The emphasis was more on inclusive growth.