It Is Raining Green Events And Global Experts In India

Like revenge travel it is the turn of revenge conferences now, particularly in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), sustainability and ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) domain. The heightened activity in India reflects hotting up of the climate action discourse globally. Interestingly a number of global development experts are visiting India to attend such events.


The visiting sustainability influencers include corporate governance advisers like Colin Coulson-Thomas and Mervyn E. King, David Grayson, and climate diplomats like Erik Solheim and Rachel Kyte. Colin Coulson-Thomas, an academic and global corporate adviser, is a star speaker joining top corporate honchos at ‘India ESG Summit’ being held later this month in Mumbai by India CSR, an online platform. He has been also associated with Management Development Institute, Aston India Foundation for Applied Research, and Institute of Directors, amongst others.


Luminaries like Mervyn E. King, Chair Emeritus, International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) and Global Reporting Initiative, Chairman, King Committee on Corporate Governance, and David Grayson, Emeritus Professor of Corporate Responsibility, Cranfield School of Management, UK, will be delivering addresses at an international conference on CSR early June in New Delhi. ‘CSR at Inflection Point: Board’s Strategy for Maximising Impact and Triple bottom-line Growth’ is being organized by the Institute of Directors, a corporate governance non-profit.


Erik Solheim, Former Minister- Climate Change & Environment, Norway, is slated to attend the India Sustainability Conclave 2022, ‘Towards a Resilient Future’, late June in New Delhi. Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, is the chief guest at the event organized by Socio Story, a development advocacy platform. Other speakers include leading CSR, ESG and sustainability heads in the country. The event will be marked by a live performance by Grammy winner Ricky Kej, also an environmentalist.


Interestingly, in India, ESG events are being organized for students, too. Dhir & Dhir, a law firm, is organizing ‘India’s Virtual Legal Marathon on ESG – A 24 hour Live Research Lab’. Registered as #OnlyOne Earth Action on the occasion of UNEP’s World Environment Day 2022 on June 5, the initiative seeks to inculcate in aspiring lawyers a sense of social, environmental and governance responsibility. “The project is to hone the young legal minds to dwell into the space of ESG,” says Alok Dhir, Founder and Managing Partner, Dhir & Dhir Associates. Last year saw 450 students from more than 90 law institutions participate in the first edition.


In another instance, the Sustainability Reporting Standards Board of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is organizing ‘Take the ICAI Sustainability Challenge’ to encourage Class 1 to CA Articles to showcase their creativity ranging from slogan writing to sharing practical suggestions to reduce carbon emissions at home, educational institution or in the neighbourhood. It is in follow up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Panchamrit announcement at COP26 in Glasgow.


Newsmaker


Veteran climate diplomat Rachel Kyte, who is also Dean at The Fletcher School, Tufts University, USA, continues to make waves in India even after her recent visit during which she met senior government and businesses leaders. This time she was in the news for awarding the Dean’s Medal to Anand Mahindra, Chairman of the Mahindra Group, who was invited to deliver the Class Day address by the Fletcher School. Anand Mahindra’s father, Harish Mahindra, was the school’s first Indian alumnus.


Kyte’s India connect got strengthened recently when she was inducted in the expert group, which is led by Prof Nick Robins of the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics, for providing guidance to set up an International Sustainability Platform at the GIFT IFSC (Gujarat International Finance Tec-City – International Financial Services Centre) by NSE IFSC Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary company of NSE. The Fletcher School has also extended its partnership with the Indian School of Business (ISB) for five years while severing it relationship with two Russian universities to protest the Ukraine war.


A member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Action, she told ‘Outlook Business’ recently that she is all for the world supporting India to develop climate change solutions. She is also a vocal critic of the failure of the developed countries to fulfill the promise of $100 billion support to developing countries to fight climate change. She is an important influencer in advancing India’s cause of climate action globally, as was indicated by her recent meetings with high ranking government and NITI Aayog representatives. It is noteworthy that she is also co-chair of the Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI) and chair of the ESG committee of the Private Infrastructure Development Group, a multilateral organisation.


Postscript


A serious joke book on people and the planet and climate change, ‘Save the People! Halting Human Extinction’ by Stacy McAnulty and with Illustrations by Nicole Miles is making it to popular charts. Stacy McAnulty shot to limelight with her ‘The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl’ and ‘Our Universe’ series.


Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, ‘Save the People!’ with the help of jokes and black and white illustrations underlines that we have the ability to avoid some of the worst case scenarios as well as lit the fuse for catastrophic events that could hurtle us towards extinction. Since 99% of the species are already extinct, the odds against survival are rather high if we don’t act decisively now, we are grimly reminded.


Referring to the 2015 Paris climate change conference, McAnulty calls it “a giant group project where everyone is expected to do their part, but nobody gets in trouble with the teacher if they don’t”. Sadly, it applies to COP26 at Glasgow, too, and most such events.


The book is full of lighter moments told interestingly. Talking about emissions, the author says, “We need to stop farting and get them under control.” It has been estimated by Spanish researchers that world population emits 73 metric tons of methane and 1,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide daily through farting, which is like about 1,000 people flying from New York to Los Angeles over 3,980 km, which is much more than even Kashmir to Kanyakumari (2,887 Km). Researchers also say farting is healthy. So, dare we say, what is healthy for humans is not healthy for the planet!


 

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