Energy

Sustainability - A Real Issue

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<p>Until I was a part of the sustainability team at work, I was in the dark about this concept. With recent events around the country and the world, sustainability needs to take center stage and every manager/owner needs to look into this more closely. While we incorporate sustainability generally in all decision-making, doing so in a slightly structured way makes sure you don't miss anything of significance and ensure a methodical process is followed to get it right every time. You can get all the mantras for business sustainability from textbooks.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>I just want to connect a few issues to bring out their relevance. Consider the 2015 floods in Chennai or rather major parts of Tamil Nadu due to the cyclonic storm systems that bore their might over south India. Acute lack of city planning and encroachment into rivers and lake systems were exposed that left much of Chennai's infrastructure reeling, with corporates making a beeline for makeshift arrangements of work from home or temporary shift to Bengaluru. Following this, the Karnataka bandh (shutdown) due to the Cauvery dispute in effect intermittently for almost a month throwing commerce and commuter plans into uncertainty. During the bandh, once again corporates put into effect work from home and wondered how to mitigate such a risk in India's IT and e-commerce capital. All this, as if the terrible traffic snarls on a regular day in Bengaluru wasn't enough to deal with.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Such issues have raised benign costs of living and operating out of Bengaluru. With employing drivers becoming increasingly a norm for those who can barely afford, skyrocketing rents to fleece desperate professionals who chose to avoid traffic, recent cases of effluent discharges into lakes propagating water pollution and general congestion of one of India's top cosmopolitan cities, Bengaluru is really at its brim. Finally, the severe monsoon in Gurgaon led to the closure of offices and schools for over a day at least and now the acute air pollution issues over Delhi and NCR areas leading to the declaration of emergency in the state. With the world increasingly volatile in terms of terrorism, social unrests, natural calamities, poor planning-related mishaps etc, are corporates really practicing what they preach?</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In other words, are we planning for sustainability from these perceived rare risks which are now not so rare in any major metropolis? I really hope administrators in tier two cities like Bhopal, Ahmedabad, Pune etc are taking note of this worrying pattern to plan or rather effect course corrections to their city planning. Likewise with corporates planning new places of work. In a world where we employ consultants to analyze business risks and costs associated with every disruption to business with detailed mitigation plans, sustainability is the need of the hour. Not just jargon.</p>
KR Expert - Karthik Bharath Kumar