Biodiversity, agriculture key to ensure sustainability

April 17, 2017

New Delhi: Sustainable agriculture is the key to achieving the first three of Sustainable Development Goals, which these cannot be fully achieved unless the world also realises the importance of biodiversity preservation and management.

The challenges related to environmental and climate problems are leading to the creation of climate refugees. Therefore, the interdependence of various sectors makes it imperative that a holistic view of development is developed in the interests of the world.

These views emerged at the national conference titled, Shaping India 2030: Sustainable Development and Socio-Economic Perspectives & Challenges, which was organised recently by the Amity School of Economics of Amity University.

Bipin Bihari, Assistant Vice President, Reliance Industries, focused on the importance of sustainable development, protecting the environment, and most importantly nurturing the agriculture sector. He was of the view that with a revolution of innovation in the production of food happening over the years, India will soon benefit in terms of sustainability of its growth.

Sandeep Srivastava,‎ Head, Environment and Sustainability, Ambuja Cements, focused on the issue of overpopulation as a hurdle to sustainability. He brought up the concept of inclusive and fulfilling growth when he mentioned that India ranked 122 out of 180 countries on the World Happiness Index, which presents a bleak picture given the advancements that the country is making in different walks of life.

He stressed on the need for strengthening all three pillars of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities including economic, environmental and social. Talking about conservation efforts at Ambuja Cement, he said, “We have made efforts to manage waste. For instance, our manufacturing units uses fly ash to make cement. It has also reduced its carbon intensity by 30% from the year 1990.”

Vishwa Bandhu Bhattacharya, Group Manager, Sustainability & Environment, CSR, Apollo Tyres, said that defining sustainability was one of the most important tasks. “We are not running the earth but ruining it. All of us are living on the edge. We must do our best to create a sustainable earth,” he said.

Balakrishna, MD, Sustainability Practice, Manthan Advisors, focused on the problems in developing solutions to the problem of achieving sustainable development.

He shed light on the problems of storage and mobility by talking about sustainable development as a solution to our energy needs.

“There is an issue of mobility. For example, solar energy should be used in ways that make it inexpensive for firms if they want to shift their base. Other solar energy opportunities can be further exploited like installing micro grids in rural areas,” he said.

Professor Alka Munjal emphasised on the need of skilling and sharing knowledge, which have important roles to play  in pursuing sustainable development. She said that the world belongs to the learners and that everyone has an enormous capacity to learn and store it in their brains just like the CPU of the computer.

Bikramjit Ghosh, Joint Managing Director & CFO, Daniel India Limited, said that rapid industrialization, globalization, and digitization have led to constant reshaping of lives. According to him, organizations worldwide are always on a lookout to mitigate the ripple effects caused by persistent skill mismatch and skill shortages.

Ashok Batra, Consultant, Markets Transformation, Rainforest Alliance, India, said that resource conservation is possible only when people would make efforts to concentrate on the importance of resource productivity.

The conference aimed at providing an interface for the industry, academia, domain experts and students for strengthening the dialogue for achieving social, financial and economic sustainability that can help society in dealing with the present challenges and filling the gaps that exist on the path to inclusive development in India.

OneWorld Foundation India was the media partner for the second edition of the annual two day conference organized from March 23 to 24, 2017 at the Amity University Campus, Amity University, Noida, Uttar Pradesh.