I am enormously optimistic about what we can do, but I deeply worry about what we will do.

Nicholas Stern, Professor of Economics & Government and Chair of Grantham Research Institute of Climate Change & Environment, London School of Economics, UK
  1. Short run vs Long run: Business goals must focus on long term sustainability rather than just short term profit maximization. This requires a holistic integration of environmental goals with economic growth.
  2. Sustainability for SMEs: With India’s 45% of manufacturing coming from the SME sector (growing at over 10% per annum), sustainability is still not a priority area. Adopting suitable clean technology, viable green business models and supporting policy framework will go a long way in mainstreaming sustainability for SMEs. Climate-smart and socially inclusive enterprises must emerge in order to drive the transition towards a green and inclusive economy.
  3. SDG Catalyst: SDG 17 emphasizes the need for global partnerships for sustainable development. An important aspect of this goal is that it binds other goals together and enhances the possibility of fulfilling the objectives of Agenda 2030. Fostering new partnerships and building synergies are essential in order to accelerate the efforts towards meeting SDG targets.
  4. Charting New Sustainability Path: As a developing economy, India has an advantage to make sustainable choices. A large portion of the infrastructure is yet to be built, thus there are opportunities to adopt innovative technologies that support sustainable development.
  5. SDG Roadblocks: Key challenges in order to mainstream sustainable development are: lack of technical expertise, poor coordination between critical institutions/agencies/departments, finance and availability of granular data.
  6. No One-Size-Fits-All Solution: In India, since each state faces a different set of challenges, there is a need to adopt a collaborative approach while addressing sustainability challenges. Governments must adopt a state or city specific approach rather than having a generic approach for all parts of the country.
  7. Green Cover: Nearly 50 million people in India depend on forest resources for their day-to-day livelihood. There are major challenges confronting the forestry sector: deforestation, degradation, overgrazing, conversion to other land uses, forest fires, excessive fuel wood collections etc. One implication of this would be that reduced forest cover would lead to increased CO2 emissions in the atmosphere that would affect climate change. Thus it is imperative to deal with these challenges at the earliest
  8. Transition to RE: Reducing energy sector emissions is our foremost challenge and the most sure shot way to address this is to adopt renewable energy at an aggressive pace.
  9. Clean Tech Financing: Colossal investments are required to meet the financing needs in renewable energy sector.  Support from private sector and foreign investments are important to drive this shift towards renewable energy.
  10. Clean Mobility: Transport sector is one of the key emission generating sectors in India and the shift towards e-mobility remains a challenge. Adoption of electric vehicles would help in significantly reducing emissions but there are challenges like high battery costs, availability of charging stations, and lack of confidence in the new technology.  In order to meet these challenges, it is important to develop India specific solutions that rely on designing, manufacturing and upskilling within the country.