A three-day International Conference was organized during December 12-14, 2012, by the Amrita School of Business in collaboration with Deakin University, Australia, at Amrita’s Coimbatore Campus.
The conference titled Sustainable Development and Governance: Building Commerce and Communities drew wide participation not only from academia but also industry and the non-profit sector.
“Problems related to sustainable development belong to the global community and require global solutions,” emphasized Prof. Nava Subramanian of Deakin University during the introduction.
And indeed global solutions were delineated during the three conference days, especially focusing on the right management of water, energy and waste.
The highlight of the first day was the presence of Dr. Vandana Shiva, renowned environmentalist, who spoke on how organic farming held the key to restoring the planet’s health as well as our own.
“If food is produced and consumed locally, without using expensive pesticides and chemical fertilizers, then we can begin taking the first steps towards sustainable development,” she emphasized. She invited Amrita students to conduct their own experiments to determine the components of a garbage heap. “A large percentage of the discarded waste in any waste heap will be food packaging,” she noted.
The first day also saw delegates attend a Deakin workshop on corporate social reporting and an Amrita/TERI workshop on new product development.
The second day of the conference was packed with paper presentations in several parallel tracks. As invited guests and delegates discussed issues of climate change, natural disasters, gender and entrepreneurship and resource planning, key insights emerged.
“The water crisis will one of the worst crises we will have to face this century,” commented Dr. Michael Porter of Deakin University.
“By 2050, demand will exceed every available source of supply. Unless desalination becomes economic and affordable, it will be very hard to tackle this issue and the social and economic impact will be enormous,” he added.
The close of the second day saw presentations that highlighted the Amrita approach to sustainability.
On the final day, conference delegates as well as campus residents welcomed former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, who shared his beliefs about the importance of providing urban amenities in rural areas.
“You should orient conference discussions towards bringing sustainable development to the millions of people living in India’s six lakh villages,” he urged.
Earlier, Peter Kenmore of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations made similar remarks, emphasizing specifically on zero hunger.
Mr. Matthew Tukaki of the UN Global Compact Network, Australia was joined by his Indian counterpart Mr. Pooran Pandey at the conference; both also discussed their visions for sustainable development.
Dr. Arunabha Ghosh, CEO, Council on Energy, Environment and Water; Mr. Bhaskar Bhat, MD of Tata’s Titan Industries; Mr. Shishir Joshipura, MD of SKF India and Mr. Richard Weingarten of Intellecap also spoke.
“Amrita has done extensive work in the communities focusing on sustainability. Now focusing on commerce, we are keen that the Amrita School of Business integrates principles of sustainability in all its courses – whether finance or marketing or human resources – and becomes a guiding light for India’s path to sustainability,” highlighted Dr. Venkat Rangan, Vice Chancellor, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham.
December 17, 2012
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The Hindu – Experts Call for Making Sustainability Sustainable
Times of India – Institutions Should Promote Organic Seeds-Agro Activists
The New Indian Express – Wrong Policies Ruining Nation:Vandana Shiva
Deccan Chronicle – No Gain in GM Crops-Activist