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Corporate heads root for resource efficiency at TERIs World CEO Sustainability Summit.

Source: The Energy and Resources Institute - Wed, 30 Jan 2013 07:04 PM
Author: The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), India
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Introducing resource-efficient business practices ‘essential’ for responsible growth, corporate leaders and policymakers emphasise at the 10th annual World CEO Sustainability Summit in New Delhi. By: Samarth Pathak (TERI)/New Delhi, India Furthering the global environmental discourse, corporate leaders and policymakers explored avenues to mainstream resource-efficiency in businesses at the 10th annual World CEO Sustainability Summit earlier today.  The Meet was hosted by The Energy and Resources Institute -Business Council for Sustainable Development (TERI-BCSD), in association with the Geneva-based World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), as a precursor to TERI’s flagship Delhi Sustainable Development Summit 2013 that begins tomorrow. Featuring over 150 business representatives, WCSS witnessed insightful discussions on the core theme, “Resource Revolution: a global imperative and how business can shape it,” and issues pertaining to energy efficiency, water availability and value chains. India’s first Chief Sustainability Officers (CSOs) Forum, highlighting the scope of the changing landscape of the resource revolution discourse, was also held as part of WCSS. A common consensus that emerged from the deliberations was on the need for businesses to minimise dependence on fossil fuels and shift to renewable sources of energy. Many thought leaders acknowledged the serious nature of environmental threats facing developing nations like India, and called for concentrated action to tackle these issues.     “At present, India’s biggest need is sustainable energy. The world of ours has realised that fossil fuels have created tragedies for all of us. Many glaciers have disappeared due to global warming. I feel there is a lot to be done. The time has come for all of us to think together,” Indian Minister for New and Renewable Energy, Dr. Farooq Abdullah said in his inaugural address. The Summit also marked the release of a knowledge paper on “Electric Vehicles: Challenges and Opportunities in India” prepared by YES Bank and TERI-BCSD. In addition, a major report titled “Sustainability Practices and Reporting Trends in India for the Power Sector”--documented by Thought Arbitrage Research Institute (TARI) and TERI--was also launched in the presence of the dignitaries. The key papers provide a roadmap for fast-tracking business action in the crucial economic sectors, such as power and transport. Reflecting on the road ahead for businesses to further the sustainability agenda, Member of India’s Planning Commission, Mr Arun Maira said, “Business operations cannot be seen through utilitarian approach. It has to be seen through the ethical angle. Measuring CSR (corporate social responsibility) by the money put in is confusing in its approach. How you make your profit and do your business is what it is all about. I feel we need greater collaborations for sustainable development. Businesses must partner with the government and the people.” Among the business leaders attending the event were the chairperson of the Lafarge group, Mr. Bruno Lafont, Chairperson of U.S based Environmental Financial Products, USA; Dr. Richard Sandor; Director-General, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, Dr. Bhaskar Chatterjee; Non-Executive Chairperson of Alcatel Lucent Mr. Arun Seth; Chairman and Managing Director of HCC Limited; Mr. Ajit Gulabchand; and Director of Tata Chemicals, Mr. R.Mukundan. Urging stakeholders and industry heads to take decisive action to protect resources, Dr. R.K. Pachauri said, “In my view, the business sector will have to look at water as the next major resource. Time will come when we would be accountable for every single drop. Businesses will have to take into account the melting of glaciers, reduced river flow, and reduced ground water resources.” He went on to encourage business enterprises to adopt sustainable innovations to fuel responsible social growth. During the deliberations, eminent corporate CEOs and representatives shared their experiences of introducing viable sustainable innovations in their business models, while underscoring the role of resource efficiency in reversing negative ecological trends.     “The rapid increase in population has accelerated the growth of the middle class. This means an increase in demand and consumption of resources. Now, we know what we are supposed to do, we know why we are supposed to do, but we need to know how we are supposed to realize the goal of resource efficiency. We have to change the rules of the game. We need to include environment change in the returns we want. We must take into account the sustainability agenda in every decision we make,” said the President of WBCSD President, Mr. Peter Bakker. As a precursor to the DSDS 2013, WCSS served as a platform for open and diverse intellectual discourse on globally-relevant issues, with a special focus on identifying practical steps towards a sustainable future that are ready for implementation at both micro and macro levels. (Related article: http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/indian-pm-to-inaugurate-teris-flagship-summit-on-resource-efficient-development)

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