Govt, business leaders unanimously call for sustainable development measurement beyond GDP
"India is committed to sustainable development and inclusive growth even when economic conditions are challenging", said Kamal Nath, Union Minister for Urban Development, Government of India, inaugurating CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development's 7th annual event "Sustainable and Inclusive Solutions: Summit and exhibition", in Delhi today.
He said "in the next ten years, more than 600 million people will live in Indian cities. More than 53 cities have population of more one million and will grow 60 times in these ten years.
Also, 70 percent of new jobs will be created in and around cities." He identified that all this put together, is an incredible growth opportunity of India, but at the same time poses immense sustainability and inclusive development challenges. It calls for policy and urban infrastructure solutions that tackle several urban challenges including sanitation, water, land use, ecological conservation.
Kamal Nath and all other dignitaries inaugurating the Summit unanimously called for measuring sustainable development beyond GDP. Providing his case, Yeshey Zimba Minister for Works and Human Settlement, Royal Government of Bhutan, said "Bhutan's success with Gross Happiness Index (GHI) provides solution to measuring sustainable development beyond GDP. GHI has been recognised by the UN and has declared 20 March of every year as the world happiness day. The key components of GHI are economic equity, ecological conservation, culture, thus measuring growth in a holistic manner".
Supporting the need to measure growth beyond GDP, Pavan Sukhdev, Founder and CEO, GIST Advisory, advocated The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity as a useful tool. He said, "developed and developing countries will have to use different approaches to sustainable development. Also called the Common But Differentiated Responsibilities, developing countries would have to take the approach of green development, whereas developed countries would have to tremendously reduce their ecological footprint."
"Inclusive growth and sustainable development is a huge business opportunity for emerging countries like Brazil, China and India", said Steen Riisgaard, President and CEO, Novozymes. Novozymes uses bio-technology to enable its customers to improve resource use, reduce raw material input, reduce waste, reduce energy input and use renewable input. We conduct life cycle conduct assessments for our products. Last year Novozymes achieved 45 million tons (~Denmark's annual CO2 emissions) reduction through use of its products by its customers. He added, "in India Novozymes has identified second generation use of ethanol by the use of biomass for energy which would also create jobs in rural areas".
In his opening remarks, Mr Y C Deveshwar, Past President, CII, Chairman, CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development Advisory Council and Chairman, ITC Limited, said, "The only way is to give up the old model and adopt triple-bottom-line model. Measuring social and environmental value is difficult because tools are still being developed. But measuring sustainable value creation and not only shareholder or financial value is the future of business". He added that 2 billion people globally and more than 600 million people in India live in multidimensional poverty. Inequality is bringing social unrest and uprisings. The writing on the wall is that growth has to be sustainable and inclusive. Sustainable value creation should become integral part of economic activity and policy making. Sustainable livelihood creation and augmentation of natural resources are integral part of sustainable future.
In his concluding remarks, Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry, emphasised that CII was committed to sustainable development and was working with all stakeholders through its Centres of Excellence, including the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development. I believe this Summit endeavours to create a road map for finding new ways of working towards a greener tomorrow and I welcome all you to share your experiences and expertise of creating sustainable and inclusive solutions.