Balancing business goals with sustainability

Written by Kirtika Suneja | Updated: Feb 3 2014, 06:58am hrs
With India striving hard to maintain a balance between sustainability and meeting business goals, the third edition of the India Sustainability Conclave 2014, is all set to give a platform to India Inc to discuss burning issues related to the environment. The two-day event to be held in Delhi from February 4-5, is being organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in association with The Financial Express as the print media partner and KPMG as the knowledge partner.

The conclave, with the theme Balancing Business Goals in a Sustainability Paradigm assumes significance in the wake of the fact that for the past two years there has been a regulatory push towards integrating sustainability practices with business strategy in order to increase accountability and to make businesses responsible towards their stakeholders. Moreover, India Inc too is increasingly focusing its attention towards adoption and internalisation of sustainability into corporate practices.

Indian businesses are increasingly taking up corporate sustainability initiatives as they are realising that it makes good business sense for them in the long run. The focus areas of the conclave this year are sustainability reporting, supply chains, sustainable financing, relationship between CSR and sustainability, global trends and outlook on corporate sustainability along with sustainability as a business

excellence mantra.

FICCI had launched its annual flagship eventIndia Sustainability Conclave in March 2012 which acted as a platform for brainstorming on how businesses can find solutions and approaches for companies to start looking at sustainability as an integral concept and to internalise it in their day to day operations.

It is not only a platform for knowledge sharing on trends and practices in corporate sustainability, but also a forum for highlighting sustainability opportunities for businesses and addressing the various challenges facing them.

The conclave focusses on the three aspects of corporate environmental sustainability- challenges faced by companies in addressing sustainability, the enablers to address them and the opportunities they can harness by balancing the two.

The conclave will be inaugurated by minister for environment and forests M Veerappa Moily while additional secretary of the environment and forests ministry Sushil Kumar, former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Yvo De Boer and Bhaskar Chatterjee, DG and CEO, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs are among the speakers at the event.

On the other hand, the private sector will be represented by T Vijaykumar, Head Business Assurance, HSSE and Ethics & Compliance, Uninor, SMR Prasad, head environment, JSW, Subodh Kumar, DGMSustainability, Indian Oil Corporation, Hari Kumar, director (HSEQ & Sustainability) at Cairn India, and Paresh Tewary, Chief Sustainability Officer, JSW.

The CEOs session of the Conclave titled Sustainability: The New Business Excellence Mantra will voice the thinking of CEOs on how the sustainability focus has created a new business paradigm for them. CEOs will be sharing their experience on a top-down approach and their vision on corporate sustainability. Chaired by Naina Lal Kidwai, Country Head, HSBC India, the speakers for the session would be Vipul Shah, president, CEO & Chairman of Dow Chemical, Ranganath N K, MD and CEO of Grundfos India, managing director of Jain Irrigation Anil B Jain and managing director of Panasonic India Manish Sharma.

The concluding session called Corporate sustainability: Building a roadmap for India on February 5, will will deliberate on the changing landscape of corporate sustainability reporting and its future in India with chief sustainability officers of the Aditya Birla Group and Tata Steel sharing their views on the same.

Last year, the conclave was successful in bringing together a diverse set of stakeholders with 58% representation from industry, 7% from government organisations, 14% from academic and research institutes and 5% from banks and financial institutes.