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India Inc. Discusses "Doing Business - While Protecting the Global Commons"

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The World CEO Forum in its new avatar 'World CEO Sustainability Summit' (WCSS) discussed and debated sustainable ways of doing business and avenues of growth. Under the overarching theme 'Doing Business-While Protecting the Global Commons,' top CEOs and business leaders discussed targeted business and sustainability issues in the run-up to Delhi Sustainable Development Summit 2012.

The World CEO Sustainability Summit was organised by TERI-Business Council for Sustainable development (BCSD) in association with the WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development), Geneva.

The 2012 summit comprised of a high profile inaugural session along with two focused CEO-led panel discussions. The first panel discussion largely focused on "Case Studies and Lessons Learnt since Rio 1992," structured around sectors and issues that relate to 'global commons' including energy efficiency and carbon footprint reduction; sustainable management of forests and natural resources and water. The second panel discussion dealt with "Business Challenges and Opportunities in transition towards a Green and Inclusive Economy: Helping Change Happen." The panel discussed technological aspects and the role of ICT, capacity-building and education and financing and capital markets.

Over 350 delegates, including CEOs, heads of multi / bi-lateral organisations and senior government representatives from across the globe took part in the World CEO Sustainability Summit.

Present at the inaugural session were, Chief Guest Mr Anand Sharma, Hon'ble Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Textiles, Government of India, Mr Peter Bakker, President, WBCSD, Mr Sudhir Vasudeva, Chairman and Managing Director, ONGC Ltd, Mr Sam Pitroda, Chairman, National Innovation Council, Government of India & Adviser to the Prime Minister on Public Information Infrastructure & Innovations and Dr RK Pachauri, Director General TERI and President TERI BCSD.

Highlighting the importance of corporate participation, and lauding the TERI Business Council for organising the World CEO Sustainability Summit Mr Anand Sharma, Hon'ble Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Textiles, Government of India said, "Sustainable business practices are not only a collective responsibility of the entire generation but a business imperative also. As economies grow, energy intensity and emissions are about to grow, hence it is up to business organisations to identify where business can play a constructive role in the development and delivery of a sustainable future and demonstrate the existing initiatives and partnerships, clubbed with institutional linkages, innovation and assimilation of technologies to promote sustainable development."

Addressing top corporate CEO's from across the globe and members of the TERI Business Council, Dr. R K Pachauri, Director General, TERI and President TERI BCSD said, "I am delighted that the corporate sector is getting deeply interested in green concepts and actions, but the picture at this juncture is very mixed. There are some companies that are doing a significant amount, while others are groping around looking for solutions and answers to further their plans to become green. Business development is a necessity but given the environmental situation as we speak, businesses now has to focus on the objective of sustainability while taking business decision. This is important because we have to tell the government and the civil society that business is going to lead. Rio+20's two themes - green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and the institutional framework for sustainable development offer unique opportunities to address these challenges. In order to develop strong economic partnerships that will lead to environmental sustainability, businesses and corporates have to be a part of the solution, enabling transition towards an inclusive green economy"

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Peter Bakker, President, WBCSD, said, "There is no economic activity that does not burden the environment, hence more and more corporates are becoming aware that sustainability is the centre-stage of everything. The 'green' race is on and it is not just about nations but also about businesses. I am happy to see the efforts and continuous ambition of TERI BCSD to stimulate, explore and share knowledge, experience and 'best practices' with companies and industrialists who strive toward adopting a stance on sustainable development."

In his address Mr. Sam Pitroda, Chairman, National Innovation Council, Government of India & Adviser to the Prime Minister on Public Information Infrastructure & Innovations said "Our growth will have to be inclusive and for the bottom of the pyramid. Businesses need to really find new answers as we cannot meet our needs with the development models of the past, hence the future lies in scraping the old thought and creating whole new thought, by democratizing the information and changing the learning models." Reminding the present TERI BCSD members and participating CEO's of looking back to the Gandhian model of development, Mr. Pitroda further emphasized the need for businesses to innovate and implement sustainable initiatives in order to ensure a world in which an increased population can live well and within the planet's means.

In his address Mr Sudhir Vasudeva Chairman and Managing Director, ONGC Ltd said "To be global leader and attain sustainable growth, knowledge excellence and exemplary business practices need to be adopted. Businesses need to embrace the R6 mantra - Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, Recover, Replace, and Refuse in today's scenario."

The CEO Summit precedes the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit 2012, organised by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).

Also present at the occasion were Mr Nitin Desai, Chairman TERI-BCSD, Former UN Under Secretary General, Mr Venkatesh Valluri., Chairman, India Region, Ingersoll-Rand (India) Limited, Mr Philippe Joubert, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Alstom, Mr Ajit Gulabchand, Chairman and Managing Director, HCC Ltd, Ms Aimée Christensen, Founder & CEO, Christensen Global Strategies, LLC and Strategic Adviser, Prince of Wales's Business & Sustainability Programme, Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General, BEE, Mr Nitin Paranjpe, CEO and Managing Director, Hindustan Unilever Limited, Mr Anil Jain, CMD, Jain Irrigation Ltd among many other high level corporates and CEOs.

The 9th World CEO Sustainability Summit also saw Dr Farooq Abdullah, Honourable Minister of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India taking active participation in the high-level panel discussion on Launch of the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All - High Level during the summit.

The notion of a Green Economy has gained momentum in recent years due to increased understanding of the links between the environment and the economy, and the emergence of climate change as a major global priority. If our future is to be in any way assured our economies need to achieve human well-being without destroying the environment on which depends society's well-being. WCSS thus focused on the country's resource efficient non-polluting initiatives illustrating a positive benefit stream from specific green investments and policies, that if scaled up and integrated into a comprehensive strategy, could offer an alternative development pathway, one that is pro-growth, pro-jobs and pro-poor.

WCSS serves as a platform for open and diverse intellectual discourse on these topics with focus on identifying practical steps towards a sustainable future that are ready for implementation on the local, regional and global scale.
Business | News published on 03 / 02 / 2012 by Bharat Vasandani

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