“International Symposium on Global Trends in health, technology and management (GTHTM-2024), 15th to 17th March,2024, Dehradun”

Sustainability in simple words means fulfilling the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.  In the year 1987, the United Nations Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as “ meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.  In today’s world, all countries recognise sustainability as one of the challenges and are working towards it. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were accepted by all member states.

The concept of the 3 Ps (People, planet and profit) later evolved into the development of the ESG framework which stands for environment, social and governance. ESG connects the SDGs to the firm-level goals for environment, social and governance. 

In 1987, the United Nations Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Today, there are almost 140 developing countries in the world seeking ways of meeting their development needs, but with the increasing threat of climate change, concrete efforts must be made to ensure development today does not negatively affect future generations. The 17 SDGs goals namely  (1) no poverty; (2) zero hunger; (3) good health and well-being; (4) quality education; (5) gender equality; (6) clean water and sanitation; (7) affordable and clean energy; (8) decent work and economic growth; (9) industry, innovation, and infrastructure; (10) reduced inequalities; (11) sustainable cities and communities; (12) responsible consumption and production; (13) climate action; (14) life below water; (15) life on land; (16) peace, justice, and strong institutions; and (17) partnerships to achieve the goals needs to be addressed at firm level in order to move towards sustainability.

However, this needs a collective effort both from a firm perspective and the policymakers. Investment into sustainability practices is only possible if the firms and companies are provided knowledge and technical expertise to formulate and adjust their business process to minimise the burden on the environment at a low cost. Another important step in this direction is to provide incentives for change. Multi-national companies often have resources to achieve transformation of their business process and move towards sustainability, but midsize companies often lack access to expertise and appropriate funds from investors to adopt sustainability measures such as recycling of wastewater or disposal of industrial waste. The government alone find it difficult to adopt sustainability measure due to financial constraints.  Whether it is an installation of solar panels or building dams on a large scale to foster renewable sources of energy and move away from non-renewable sources such as coal and wood or to make a health facility more sustainable by using bio-degradable packing of medicines or recycling wastewater, the challenge remains open.

The forum acknowledges the need to translate the identified sustainable practices into implementation at ground level and would support exploration in this field. How can we implement sustainable practices into our daily lives and contribute to SDGs?