Conservation of any natural resource is a great and only contributor in a scenario where generating that resource seems to be difficult. Water is one such resource which must be handled with this approach. On these lines, Mr. Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, made a statement emphasizing the importance of sustainable development and role of corporate society in it.
He said, there is a strong business rationale for companies to build an ethos to strengthen corporate sustainability as they recognise the value of investing in sustainable practices in terms of the bottom line.
Speaking at the session on ‘Corporate Sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’ in the run up to World Environment Day, organised by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Mr. Iyer highlighted the importance of water and sanitation. He said that 73 million working days were lost each year due to lack of sanitation and water-borne diseases.
He said the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ goal of achieving Open Defecation Free (ODF) India by October 2019 was on track as 13 States and 3 Union Territories had already achieved ODF status.
Mr. Iyer said the corporates can adopt villages and wards near their facilities and help them become ODF, improve solid and liquid resource management and the last-mile drinking water infrastructure.
Additionally, corporate entities could assist the local administration in sustaining ODF, organise and sponsor training for collective behaviour change, train workers and staff to be agents of sanitation and water stewardship in the community, sponsor the creation of infrastructure for water conservation and groundwater recharge, solid and liquid resource management, maintenance of institutional and community toilets in the neighbourhood.
Ms. Helena Molin Valdes, Head of the Secretariat, Climate and Clean Air Coalition, UNEP, underlined the need to understand the impact of corporate sustainability on business models, align corporate sustainability efforts with SDGs and apply analytical tools to access financing.
Mr. Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI said that corporate sustainability had become imperative today due to its importance in the context of SDGs, environmental concerns and threats that are increasingly becoming a risk to the business community and the need to embed sustainability in corporate goals and strategies to build business resilience.