India Inc’s New Naren Karunakaran Sustainability Champions
When three large Indian business groups – the Tata’s, Aditya Birla and the Mahindra’s - with a combined turnover exceeding $ 165 billion begin to address an issue it moves the needle. These Groups are absorbing and putting into practice the rapidly evolving tenets of sustainability in a more perva- sive, deeper and meaningful manner than ever before. And with it, Indian companies are competing with their global peers in turning the world into a better place to live in, with varying degrees of success.
That sustainability, separate from CSR or corporate philanthropy, is finally coming out of the shadows in India is also bared by the manner in which competing companies are coming together to address sustainability challenges facing an entire industry sector; like the Sustainable Housing Leadership Consortium. The consortium is expected to catalyse action to render at least 20 per cent of new housing construction sustainable by 2022 through green certifi- cation and other measures.
Much of the excitement in this space is being driven by the first crop of corporate India’s chief sustainability officers (CSOs) in their own unique ways and approaches, given the dynamics of the group they are in, their personal beliefs and the challenges on hand.