Frost & Sullivan and TERI had the ‘Decade of Action’ in the spotlight at the India Sustainability Leadership Summit 2020.

Story by: Deven Lad

Frost & Sullivan and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) got together for yet another edition of the India Sustainability Leadership Summit 2020 and the 11th edition of Sustainability 4.0 Awards. Hosted virtually against the backdrop of extraordinary circumstances, the summit got stakeholders of the automotive industry to think beyond the Covid-19 induced setbacks. The summit, instead, put the spotlight on jump-starting the ‘Decade of Action’ for growth. Like every edition, the 2020 edition, as a platform, promoted sustainable business strategies for the long term. Averred Ajay Mathur, Director General of TERI – The Energy & Resources Institute, and a member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change, “Longer-term sustainability is only possible by building up linkages between the strategy of the organisation, its governance and financial performance, environmental, social, and economic governance. In other words, the entire ecosystem”. “Short-term profitability has to be nurtured together with the long-term sustainability for recovering from the pandemic today as well as to put us onto the path of a low-carbon future in a 2040 or 2050 timeline,” he stated.

Ajay Mathur, Director General of TERI – The Energy & Resources Institute, and a member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change

Sustaining the transformation
Ambassador Ajai Malhotra, Advisor (Climate Change), Project Management Unit, TERI referred to the frailties, blaming the latter for contracting global economies, deepening existential divides, and the decline in global output, sparing none. “The World Bank estimates an additional over 49 million people to face extreme poverty. It makes attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) a big challenge,” he opined. He cautioned that a global bounceback was crucial to stay on track to attain the SDGs. Sarwant Singh, Managing Partner and Regional Leader, Frost & Sullivan drew attention to recycling, refurbishing, remanufacturing, reuse and redistribution as crucial principles to be followed by the industry. To contribute to a circular economy, it is crucial to building upon the aforementioned principles right from the design stage, he said in accord with the industry views. “From day one of designing the products, you can achieve it over the lifecycle of a vehicle and the ecosystem, for instance. Suppliers, manufacturers, retailers down to the landfill waste management could contribute to a linear economy,” he expressed.

On ‘innovating to zero’, the mega vision of shifting focus and development on products and technologies to attain the latter’s goals of bringing social innovation to the forefront, Singh was quick to highlight the 17 SDGs set by the United Nations and the underlying goals of innovating to zero gaining significance amidst a pandemic. “Sustainability is a circular economy where goods and services are produced in a sustainable manner and are the next big trillion-dollar economy,” he explained. He also cautioned the industry to brace itself for a two-speed economy where one economy could recover faster than the other case in point China, India and Europe.

Recession and economic stimulus
Singh, in a pertinent observation, drew attention to the recessions being backed by economic stimulus. “This recession has an economic stimulus too and a large portion of the stimulus is reserved for building and developing sustainable technologies,” he mentioned. Singh gave an example of France and Germany where the government doled out special incentives to boost the demand for electric vehicles. Of the opinion that it had the potential to change the transport network of the future, he said, “Last year 2.3 million electric vehicles were sold. In July 2020, they hit the peak after a big dip in March-April for most countries. There has also been a huge decline in interest for ICEs.” This change, opined Sarwant, has brought multiple industries including the chemicals industry in the quest for more sustainable materials. It has also brought the energy industry together, he added.

Sarwant Singh, Managing Partner and Regional Leader, Frost & Sullivan

Simon Stolp, Country Lead (India) – Energy and Extractives, World Bank explained macro-level fundamentals as an imperative to jumpstart the decade of action. “I think if we look at Covid-19 through that philosophical lens, we can see that there is actually an opportunity in this crisis to jumpstart that decade of action. This I think is wound up in the structure of the economic stimulus that will be distributed across the globe, including in India over the coming months and years,’ he explained. On the short term horizon, Stolp called upon the industry to focus on job creation. He also urged the need to support “shovel-ready” projects and cautioned against being bogged down by long lead times. Atul Bagai, Head India Country Office, UN Environment urged the industry and government alike to embed sustainability into the economic recovery weighed down by Covid-19.

Shloka Nath, Executive Director, India Climate Collaborative Head of the Sustainability and Special Projects at Tata Trusts

PPP model
Shloka Nath, Executive Director, India Climate Collaborative Head of the Sustainability and Special Projects at Tata Trusts reinforced the need for Public-Private Partnerships (PPP). “It is crucial to overcome the Covid-19 crisis and to source additional finance to drive the transformation,” she emphasised. She called for the need for a structural economic recovery through the stabilisation of financial institutions and the use of information planes. She went on to highlight the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), hit hard by the pandemic and deemed to have been primed for transformation. “Capacity building for the adoption of energy-efficient technologies and processes by MSME based on recommendations will set out,” she said.

She recommended a green finance task force be formed on the lines of the joint effort of the UK government in London. “The taskforce designs the overall roadmap for promoting finance. It advocates the necessary policy and regulatory changes,” she explained. Terming it essential to have coordination amongst policymakers, regulators, institutional investors and to create consumer awareness, she expressed it was time for sustainability needs to go from “niche to mainstream.” The need to build a rural economic resilience also found a mention. María Mendiluce, Chief Executive Officer, We Mean Business recommended active participation from corporate India and its supply chains to fight climate change. “Corporate India has the opportunity to come out of this pandemic as innovators, and champions or sustainable champions. The next 10 years are crucial, decisive, and will decide the future,” she concluded. ACI

Sustainability 4.0 Awards
Open to companies across manufacturing, logistics, hospitality, IT & ITES, KPO, BPO, banking, financial services & insurance, construction, telecommunications, and healthcare sectors in India and the Middle East, the Sustainability 4.0 Awards evaluation model comprised of four major parameters – people, planet, purpose, and partnership and 13 sub-parameters evaluated by a team of experts from Frost & Sullivan and TERI.

The winners:

  • Reliance Industries Limited, Navi Mumbai won the ‘Sustainable Corporate of the Year Award’.
  • Genpact India Private Limited, Gurgaon won the Leaders Award – Mega Large Business, Service Sector.
  • Henkel Adhesive Technologies India Private Limited, Navi Mumbai won the Leaders Award – Large Business, Process Sector.
  • Ramky Enviro Engineers Limited, Delhi won the Certificate of Merit – Challengers Category.
  • Faurecia Interior System India Private Limited, Pune won the Certificate of Merit – Safety Excellence.



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