In the wake of increasing demand from rural India, we will have to produce more from less resources for more people, this was opined by Pradeep Kashyap, Founder & CEO- MART. He was speaking in New Delhi on the occasion of a conference, Sustainable Business Models (SBM) – Breaking New Grounds’, organised by SBM Forum, a joint initiative of MART and GIZ.
Kashyap, further said, “Rural income has grown faster than urban in last five years. And therefore, the large section of rural people who were not the consumers in the past, have now become consumers. So, we will need to find the sustainable ways to handle this growing demand from new consumers.”
Highlighting the infrastructure in rural India, he said, “Though the physical infrastructure is not very well in the rural areas, the social infrastructure is much strong. We have postal services, ASHA workers, SHGs and Aanganwadis in every village. So, when we go for any new project, we use these existing infrastructure to reach out to the rural people which reduces our cost.”
Bhawna Prasad, Senior Adviser, WWF India said on the occasion that currently business entities are looking at sustainability from a risk mitigation perspective rather than looking at the opportunistic side of it. Prof. Madhukar Shukla, XLRI – Xavier School of Management, brought in the importance of inclusive business as a significant dimension of sustainable business models. Shankar Venkateswaran, Chief – Tata Sustainability Group, Tata Sons shared his experience at the Tata Group of how sustainability is a compulsory boardroom mission and also the importance of managing complexities in organisations to achieve sustainable business model (SBM).
The conference culminated with encouraging takeaways. The need to promote the agenda of sustainable business models, not only amongst the corporate but also amongst the students was felt. There was a felt need to train the budding managers who will drive the sustainability agenda in the corporate world. Also, it was realised that addressing the issues of equity and inequality is key to SBM in India.
During the conference, the forum also organised a case writing contest in which professors participated from business schools across India. Of the 30 abstracts received, seven most relevant abstracts were selected and developed into full case studies. The case studies were presented in the conference and the platform was also used for acknowledging all the SBM Case authors as well as awarding the best case studies. The case study on ‘GPS Renewables’, authored by Prof. Subhadip Roy and Subhalaxmi Mohapatra from IIM-Udaipur was awarded the first prize worth Rs 75,000 and the case study on ‘Mawglot’s Tea – Tea that transformed lives’ authored by Dr. Sridhar Guda along with two FPM fellows of IIM-Kozhikode was awarded the runner up prize worth Rs 50,000.