India needs more action to achieve Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) to bring better and more sustainable future for all, according to experts. SDGs are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly to address the global challenges, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. “India’s public and private sectors need to talk about the SDGs,” Vimal Mahendru, ambassador at the Geneva-based International Electrotechnical Commission, said.
“Indian corporate sector is very fast maturing and sees its place in the global scheme of things…What is missing is a clear communication about the SDGs,” he said here at the two-day Responsible Business Forum, which concluded on Friday. “There is a lot of awareness about SDG at international levels. However, in India, the SDG debate has not yet started,” Mahendru, who is also the president of the Legrand Group, India, said.
Yasir Ahmad, partner, climate change and sustainability services at PricewaterhouseCoopers, noted that though bigger Indian companies have warmed up to the fact that SDGs are globally acceptable framework and they need to work in that direction, financially-strained MSMEs and the agriculture sector need support to work in those areas.
“Tier-1 private and public sector companies have been doing sustainability reporting for the past 8-12 years…but the MSMEs have not warmed up to sustainability goals as these firms operate on razor thin margins,” he said. “A strategy should be worked out immediately for MSME and agri sectors. Policy level intervention, incentives and hand-holdings are needed,” Yasir said.
Asserting that the Indian government is slowly translating SDGs into national policies, Yuri Afanasiev, UN resident coordinator and UNDP resident representative in India applauded various state-run initiatives such as the national insurance scheme, housing for all and called Swacch Bharat Mission.