Eminent change agents congregate to discuss Sustainable Development Goals at The Economic Times SDGs Impact Summit 2019

EP Staff

>>More than 600 participants comprising government, media, talent, civil society, academia, policy, NGOs, and corporate representatives attended the Summit

The first edition of The Economic Times SDG Impact Summit 2019 – India’s largest and most comprehensive platform dedicated to sustainable development – concluded successfully in the city on Saturday. More than 600 participants comprising of delegates and representatives from government, media, talent, civil society, academia, policy, NGOs, and corporates congregated on the platform to discuss, share and analyse insights geared towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Summit was co-conceptualised by ET-EDGE and The World We Want, a global social impact enterprise.

Addressing the inaugural session, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Hon. Union Minister of Jal Shakti Ministry, Government of India, said, “We live in times when the narrative of sustainable development has evolved from actions that can have impact on our environment to a collection of key factors that improve the quality of lives around us. Being a signatory to the UN’s SDG agenda, India has been taking concrete steps to achieve as well as empower its constituents to achieve 17 goals and 169 interlinked targets as outlined by United Nations. Being a government focused on all the three tenets, namely governance, social and environmental goals, we are committed to deliver tangible results by 2030.”

Commenting on the event, Deepak Lamba, President, Times Strategic Solutions Limited, and CEO, Worldwide Media, said, “India’s role in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals has been well articulated, with ambitious targets set in several areas of economic progress, inclusion and sustainability. The Economic Times SDGs Impact Summit platform addresses the key issues impacting our communities and uncover the solutions needed to create not just a better today, but a brighter tomorrow. ”

The Summit was inaugurated by the chief guest Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Union Minister. Other dignitaries from government included Meenakshi Lekhi, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha and Ranjan Mishra, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga, Ministry of Jal Shakti. Eminent corporate leaders from India Inc namely, Preetha Reddy, Vice-Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals Group, Anil Chaudhary, Managing Director and Country President, Schneider Electric India, Pradip Barman, Chairman, Dabur Nepal, Anshu Gupta, Founder of Goonj, Mukund Vasudevan, Managing Director, Ecolab India also participated in the event as part of the panels. Besides, a seasoned bureaucrats including Pavan Kumar Agarwal, IAS, Secretary to Government of India and CEO FSSAI, John Roome, Senior Director – Climate Change as The World Bank and UN Environment’s Champions of the Earth – Sonika Manandhar (Nepal), Louise Mabulo (Philippines), and Omar Itani (Lebanon), also attended the event. In addition, actor Swara Bhaskar along with Director Tahira Kashyap Khurana also joined the panels to voice their opinions   on various relevant facets of sustainable development goals.

Speaking at the event, Preetha Reddy, Vice Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals Group, said, “We as a generation need to focus on how we can help improve small things towards causing a large impact towards building a healthier, cleaner and a safer planet. The idea of SDGs is too rooted into this philosophy and serve as a guiding star to every stakeholder.”

 John Roome, Senior Director for Climate Change, World Bank, said, “As someone who tracks climate change from very close quarters, we are already at an alarming position, where the change is not out of choice but compulsion. As new risks surface each day – from melting glaciers to sinking cities to extreme weather conditions – the adaptation to change has to be prompt and of consistent focus.”

The Summit also witnessed a host of participants and panellists exchanging ideas and insights around the challenges and opportunities emanating from implementation of SDGs. While Manu Kapur, President & CEO, Home Textiles Division, GHCL Limited, advocated the need to reform pollution norms for the Indian textiles sector; Tommy Tiptadiada, co-founder, Greenhope, spoke about the menace of plastic waste pollution. Actor Swara Bhaskar highlighted the degrading air quality in Indian cities, namely Delhi; while Namita Vikas, Group President & Global Head, Climate Strategy & Responsible Banking, YES Bank indicated the huge investment opportunity towards public private initiatives around water conservation and clean drinking water in the country.

The Economic Times SDGs Impact Summit also conducted a Hackathon around SDG ideas. 17 start-ups catering to the sustainable development agenda participated in the event. Three start-ups – Torchit, Credence and Ambee – won the hackathon.

At the Summit, ET-EDGE and Futurescape also unveiled 6th edition of Responsible Business Rankings 2019 – India’s most comprehensive list of corporates making positive strides towards achieving sustainable development goals. The study ranks top 100 companies in the country. The top 5 companies in 2019 edition were topped by Tata Chemicals, Infosys, BPCL, M&M and  ITC.

The SDGs Impact Summit is a collective response to building a fair globalisation, helping to ensure global growth is equitable and sustainable. While giving priority to historic challenges, it also reflects our evolving understanding of the social, economic and environmental linkages that define our lives. After all, humanity’s sustainable development will be of great consequence to our planet’s present and future generations.

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