Business of Sustainability: Thriving in the Green Era

Climate change across the world and resource depletion are factors that have urged the businesses to shift into the business of sustainability. The need of the hour is to adopt sustainable practices in order to reverse or slow down the harm that has been done to the environment. India, as a fast developing nation, is realising the importance of shifting to the business of sustainability and building a unique sustainable economy. By shifting to the business of sustainability, Indian businesses can reduce their impact on the environment.

Approximately 30% of India’s land area has been degraded. A 2018 study says that this degradation leads to a loss of 2.5% of India’s economic output annually. Nearly half of India’s citizens directly depend on agriculture and forests. Approximately 20% are dependent on forest resources. More than 75% of Indian cities face the crisis of poor air quality. Based on global estimates, more than a million deaths of Indians were due to poor air quality. India is predicted to be among the top three emitters by 2030. Now, all these things need to change and aiming towards a business of sustainability is one way around which things might be possible.

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Some of the ways in which India could adhere to the business of sustainability:

Green energy

India has set a target of achieving 450 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030. The country has already installed 100 GW of renewable energy capacity, with an additional 50 GW under construction. This is a great opportunity for businesses to invest in renewable energy projects such as wind, solar, and hydroelectric power. Tax exemptions and subsidies are being offered by the government of India to businesses of sustainability. 

Sustainable agriculture

  • Agriculture has been a vital source of livelihood for the majority of Indians, and a hefty amount of the nation’s GDP comes from this field. However, the use of pesticides, insecticides, fertilisers, etc. in conventional farming methods and practices harm the health of the environment. 
  • Sustainable agriculture methods need to be adapted more such as organic farming and agroforestry. It will bring back soil health and yield better crops, and this could be a huge way for the business of sustainability to enter the agriculture scene.
  • Businesses can invest in sustainable agriculture and promote the same to the farmers in the country and explain to them the business sustainability concept. This will profit both the parties–namely the businesses and the farmers. Farmers will thus learn how to yield crops without impacting the environment.
  • Poverty and food insecurity can also be closely eliminated by the zestful introduction of sustainable agriculture.

Waste management

  • India generates over 62 million tons of municipal solid waste annually, and the figure is expected to double by 2030.
  • Open dumping and burning are poor waste management methods. It really impacts the environment and the communities.
  • Businesses can invest in waste management infrastructure, such as recycling facilities and waste-to-energy plants, to convert waste into a valuable resource. This is a great scope for the business of sustainability.
  • The government of India has already introduced programmes such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to promote waste management and also to provide incentives to businesses investing in waste management.

Sustainable tourism

  • Tourism plays a big role in contributing to the Indian economy. It is estimated that by the year 2028, 10% of the nation’s GDP will be received from this sector.
  • Conventional tourism practices such as mass tourism and building of infrastructure in ecologically sensitive areas hamper the environment as well as the local communities.
  • Business of sustainability would be to promote sustainable tourism practices like eco-tourism and community-based tourism. This approach ensures that there is knowledge being spread on the culture of the place without harming the environment.
  • Businesses can invest in sustainable tourism infrastructure and offer eco-friendly tourism packages, promoting responsible tourism practices to visitors.

Green building

  • Buildings account for a significant portion of India’s energy consumption, with the construction industry expected to grow at an annual rate of 7.1% until 2026.
  • Energy-efficient designs and usage of eco-friendly products and sustainable materials can ensure that the greenhouse emissions are less. It will also promote better indoor air quality as well as take care of the occupant’s health.
  • Business of sustainability can be through investing in green building projects, such as retrofitting existing buildings with energy-efficient technologies or constructing new buildings using sustainable materials.
  • The Indian Green Building Council offers certification for green buildings, providing businesses with recognition and credibility for their sustainable practices.

The practices for business of sustainability is a huge market right now. India needs to leverage the situation to make the businesses a part of the pro-environment movement so that there is a balance in the way everything works. The environment cannot and should not be undermined and deteriorated due to the business or individual setups. If India follows through most of the eco-friendly methods in the business of sustainability and pledge to do their best in protecting the environment, the nation will soon emerge as a pioneer in the realm of business of sustainability.

Reference: The business of sustainability: Opportunities for India | UN Environment Programme | 19 November (2021)

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