The government is initiating, “public-private partnership, where land will remain with the government, but the private industries who are importing wood can do commercial harvesting,” Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State, Environment, Forests and Climate Change said at a CII event.
The Minister said that he is “convinced that protection of environment and development is possible simultaneously, they go hand-in-hand, they are not against each other and that is what sustainable development means.” According to him, the key to sustainability is employment.
Giving the example of wood, he said that what happens when we import it is that we export jobs. This is something that needs to change. He announced at the Summit that the government is initiating, a new model of public-private partnership, where land will remain with the government, but the private industries who are importing wood can do commercial harvesting. This, according to him, will not only create a new carbon sink but will also create competition for the Forest Department. Javadekar appealed to the industry to not take shortcuts to growth, but find alternative routes even if it takes a little longer keeping in mind the life cycle costs.
YC Deveshwar, Past President, CII, Chairman, CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development Advisory Council and Chairman, ITC Limited, opened the Summit by saying that a decade back sustainability was a diffused thought when CESD began operations but with every passing year now sustainability has become a priority. Sustainability, he said, has three dimensions, “the competitiveness dimension, the job creating and social asset forming dimension, and the environmental asset creating dimension.”
“Climate change is one of the biggest sustainability issues we face and that the work to reverse that should have begun yesterday,” he added. Given the growing challenges businesses are facing, Deveshwar emphasized on the importance of business taking a unified approach to arrive at sustainability solutions.
Subir Gokarn, Former Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India & Director-Research, Brookings India, highlighted the fact that trade-off between growth, development, and environmental protection is a false dilemma. This is not an either/or choice but both can be achieved together. “That requires behavioural changes, requires strategic changes, and organisational changes”, he said.
Gokarn sees the emergence of a variety of technologies, and products and services which are economically viable and sustainable. He believes there is enormous space for business to expand its commitment and make sustainability a business.