Overwhelming Response To 1st Conference On Business Sustainability Jointly Organized By PHD Chamber And FORE School of Management
The International conference on ‘Business Sustainability: Challenges and Issues’, jointly organised by two of India’s leading organisations in their own right - FORE School of Management and PHD Chamber - has met with global acclaim.
The International conference on ‘Business Sustainability: Challenges and Issues’, jointly organised by two of India’s leading organisations in their own right - FORE School of Management and PHD Chamber - has met with global acclaim. The three-day conference held between the 28th and 30thof November 2012 was a platform for global luminaries on the subject of business sustainability, to share knowledge and to come out with solutions. In his purposeful welcome address in the inaugural session, Mr. Suman Jyoti Khaitan, Senior Vice President of PHD Chamber, cited the disturbing reality of ‘two Indias’.
“There is one India which has benefitted from the development process, while the other one continues to suffer in terms of social, economic and educational development. It is an outcome of flawed fundamentals of growth and is clearly unsustainable.”
Professor Jitendra Kumar Das, Director FORE School of Management, while tracing the origins of the concept of sustainable development, was equally emphatic in describing the nine themes on which discussions would progress over the three days to make it result oriented. He averred “I encourage the delegates, invited speakers, academicians, researchers, consultants, NGO activists, corporate managers, and bureaucrats, to explore sustainability models and their scalability, which is the main concern of this conference.”
With eminent thinkers like Mr. J.K. Mehta (Regional Manager, World Energy Council), Mr. Dola Mahapatra (National Director, Child Fund of India), and Mr. Lars Christiansen (Commercial Counsellor, Danish Embassy) painting the bigger picture, the inaugural session set the ball rolling for a vibrant conference. While issues of general interest were covered in three plenary sessions, shortlisted research papers exploring new ways of addressing various sustainability issues were discussed under six technical sessions.
After a quick tea-break the conference moved into its first plenary session on the Triple Bottom Line of ‘People, planet and profit’ to capture the social, environmental and economic performance of an organization. This session brought together some of the finest minds in the domain, in the form of Prof. Kirk Davidson (The Morrison Professor of International Studies, Mount St. Mary’s University, Maryland), Ms. Valerie Issumo (CEO, Prana Sustainable Water, Geneva), Professor Ambika Dash (Senior Faculty, Power management Institute, Noida), and Ms. Seema Mukherjee (Founder & CEO, Anaadi Media). The session noted the paradigm shift from profitability to sustainability not simply as a matter of adjustment of policies but as ‘moral sustainability’, which goes beyond just respecting the environment and stipulates conservation in ethically & socially responsible ways.
This was followed by two technical sessions back-to-back. The first one, Chaired by Dr. Rajat Panwar (Chapple Chair of Business and Social Responsibility, Northland College, USA) sought solutions on ‘Business Sustainability’, while the second Technical Session looking into the challenges of ‘Environmental Sustainability, was chaired by Dr. Biswanath Bhattacharya (Senior Advisor, Asian Development Bank).
Post lunch, the conference made rapid strides into its second plenary session discussing ‘Market Mechanism for Environment Control with Special Reference to Carbon Market’. The session, which was chaired by Mr. J. K. Mehta, Chairman, South Asia Forum for Energy Efficiency, saw stalwarts on the subject trace the origin of carbon markets, discuss the waste hierarchy, and sieve out the projections of environmental damage and definitions of pollution. While exploring possible solutions it was projected the world economy will shift from the West to the East over the next few decades. The panel expressed concern that greater economic activity in the East would lead to larger consumption of resources with all the associated consequences. The possibility of Asia creating its own carbon market was also extensively debated.
The conference went into two of its Technical sessions discussing shortlisted papers on Resource Sustainability and New Development Models of business sustainability.
The final day of this conference began with the final plenary session on ‘Best Practices for Business Sustainability’. Chaired by Lieutenant General Rajendra Singh, this session explored the relationship between Corporate Financial Performance (CFP) and Corporate Social Performance (CSP) and reviewed some of the most important research contributions on the issue. It was unanimously agreed that corporates across the globe would actually be increasing profits and not eroding them by transferring to green technologies like recycling of water, solar power generation, green-design houses, tree plantation and innovative ways of handling waste.
In the last two technical sessions, shortlisted academicians and policy designers presented papers on ‘Corporate Governance, Social Responsibility and Sustainability as well as Government Perspectives on Sustainability’. One of the session was chaired by DR. P P Bhojvaid, Director FRI, Dehradun.
In the final Valedictory Session, the Best Paper Award was conferred on the paper presented by Dr. Gunjan M. Sanjeev and Dr. Tanuja Kaushik of IIMT Gurgaon, on ‘Strengthening bonds between Corporate, NGO and Educational Institution in achieving Business Sustainability’.
On Behalf of the Co-convenors (Dr. Subhasis Bera, Prof Shallini Taneja, Prof Reeta Raina, of the FORE School of Management ) Dr. Subhasis Bera observed during his vote-of-thanks,“Sustainable development is a journey; not a goal”. He concluded that the tremendous global response to this first conference has set very high standards for the forthcoming editions of this yearly conference.