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Building Sustainable Organizations : Balancing Profitability and Environmental Responsibility

Sudden weather changes, pollution around, floods, disasters… what’s happening to my world. It was better when I started. I understand everyone is created equal is undermined by the reality of growing inequalities, with the gap between rich and poor becoming larger and more intolerable. I desire to do better — to preserve and accentuate all the wonderful features of life on Earth, make those features available to all, now and in the future, while minimizing any damage to our society and to the natural world. That desire has a name: sustainability. And it was realised long back in “OUR COMMON FUTURE” in the Brundtland Report in 1987 in response to the conflict between globalized economic growth and accelerating ecological degradation by redefining “economic development” in terms of “sustainable development”. It is credited with crafting the most prevalent definition of sustainability ““Sustainable development i s development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” As it was realized that companies take their resources from society to run their business successfully. Therefore, they have a moral and ethical duty to give back something to the society beyond their commitments to shareholders.

Climate change is one of the most important global concerns confronting humanity today. Companies are investing in research to better understand how human, cultural, political, and corporate behaviours can contribute to or alleviate the effects of climate change, creating knowledge to promote future sustainable and equitable societies, structures, and systems. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted on 25 September 2015 by United Nations General Assembly and intended to be achieved by the year 2030 are a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. India, home to one-sixth of all humanity, holds the key to the success of the 2030 Agenda. SDG Goal 13 aims to “take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact”, while acknowledging that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change. India has made a paradigm shift to a whole-of-society approach – “SABKA SAATH SABKA VIKAAS” (Collective Efforts for Inclusive Growth). From Financial year 2022-23 as per latest amendments in the Companies Act 2013; requires the top 1000 listed companies to provide an overview of the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) approach to mitigate or adapt to the climate risk along with the financial implications of the same. It requires the companies to remain conscious of and concerned about the effects of the company’s operation on climate change. Any act of the company which is in the financial interests of the company but is detrimental to the environment may be against the letter and spirit of the law and the directors and officers may be held accountable and levied a penalty.

Sustainable organizations must address climate change involving all stakeholders. The climate challenges have given us the lesson that we can’t survive alone, it’s an interdependent world, we can find a solution only when we walk together. All the stakeholder’s government, corporate, civil societies and communities have to work in perfect harmony. This is the journey for good of everyone, the world needs us all to behave responsibly. Let’s ‘walk the talk’ and do our part of the sustainability responsibly.

Dr. K K Upadhyay
Professor and Chairperson Centre
for Sustainability & CSR, Birla
Institute of Management Technology

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