14 November 2017 | New Delhi, India — IILM Institute for Higher Education, in collaboration with UN Global Compact’s PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education) Initiative, hosted the Fourth International Conference on “Sustainability and Innovation: Key Drivers of Responsible Management” from 9-11 February, 2017 at IILM Lodhi Road Campus, New Delhi. IILM also awarded two authors for best research work in the area of sustainable livelihood and growing inequality respectively. The title for the IILM PRME Research Awards 2017 was ‘A Life of Significance – Leading responsibly – The way forward for a sustainable Inclusive World. The paper titled Kshamtaa: Empowering Lives, Envisioning Sustainable Inclusive Socio-Economic Development" and "Goonj: Essence of Sustainability & Scalability of Social Venture" has been selected for the award by the four member jury committee. The two best papers were presented by the authors during the conference. Mr. Kamal Singh, Director General, NHRD, complemented IILM for taking forward the UN initiative through this conference every year. He gave away the awards to the authors of two best papers and appreciated their efforts. IILM was happy to collaborate on the project “Sharing vocabularies for values driven business: case study interview guide” with University of Nottingham, U.K., as IILM are writing the case study from India. The PRME conference has further given an opportunity to connect with the various companies for participating in the case and to get their acceptance on the same. IILM will be able to compile the same by March end, this year. The next PRME Conference is scheduled for 8th, 9th and 10th February 2018, and the hosts wish that interested parties can make it to the event next year.
The opening session of the conference featured some eminent speakers like Shri Bibek Debroy Member, Niti Aayog, High Commissioner of Canada H.E. Nadir Patel, the Ambassador of Mexico, H.E. Melba Pria. Shri Bibek Debroy focussed on the buzz word sustainability and defined it in terms of interests of future generations. He concluded his speech urging audience to ponder over possibilities of innovation to overcome the statistical challenges in measuring the SDG indicators. High Commissioner of Canada H.E. Nadir Patel highlighted the number of ways in which Canada is willing to support the PRME initiatives in Indian corporates in addition to educational institutions. The Ambassador of Mexico, H.E. Melba Pria praised IILM’s efforts in taking the PRME initiative forward. She brought out the importance of this UN Agenda with disturbing facts such as 1 in 9 people in the world is mal-nourished, 230 million Indians go to bed hungry every day, 1 in 5 households do not have electricity and so on. She elaborated that in order to achieve the SDGs, everyone needs to pitch in – the individuals, the governments, and the corporates or the private sector. Reiterating the role of companies, she stressed that the idea of CSR has changed from “Companies should do no harm” to “Companies should contribute positively to society” giving back to the community creating social impact. The closing plenary also had speakers like Mr.Dilip Chenoy- Independent Advisor, CSR, Mr. Rajdeep Sahrawat, Global Head, Buisness Development (TCS), Mr. G K Chaukiyal, Executive Director, Airports Authority of India in the panel. Mr. Dilip Chenoy laid emphasis each individual’s efforts towards innovation and sustainability, towards creating an ecosystem that will help achieve the sustainable development goals. He encouraged the audience to start with simple day-to-day solutions by applying creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and commitment. Mr. Rajdeep Sahrawat spoke about innovation and knowledge. He accentuated the fact Innovation will flow from the East to the West since innovation is the function of youth who concentrated in the Eastern parts of the world today. The other highlights of the conference are detailed below for your reference.
The three day conference had a lot of insight sharing and knowledge building from both practitioners and corporates. The first day of the conference commenced with the first plenary session on the topic “Innovation Drives Entrepreneurship”. Globally, countries thrive on entrepreneurs to create fresh employment opportunities, support taxation and growth. In India, we need partnership models where R&D and technological inventions support entrepreneurship. This session has been envisioned with SDG 8 (Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all) in mind. The second session on “Sustainability: The new business excellence Mantra – Top leadership perspective” focussed on how the role of corporations in society has changed significantly in the recent years. This session revolved around the implementation of SDG sub-goal 12.6 - Encourage companies, especially large and trans-national companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle. Session 3 on “Innovations for meeting the national sustainability goals” centred on the United Nations’ 2030 agenda for achieving sustainable development is an action plan for people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership. This panel discussion intended to look into the application of SDG 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation. Session 4 on “CSR provisions in the companies act: Implications for corporate sustainability” revolved around the requirements of Section 135 of the Companies Act of 2013 and the practicalities attached to it. This session focussed on the enactment of the sustainability agenda within the Indian legislature with special emphasis on the National Voluntary Guidelines, MOCA, Govt of India, 2011.
The third day of the conference commenced with Session 5 on “Social Innovations for the bottom-of-the-pyramid” wherein experts elaborated on how start-Ups and social innovators are penetrating the market base consisting of the lower socio-economic customers. This session aimed at discussing SDG 10 (Reduce inequality within and among countries) and how it is being implemented in India. The sixth plenary session of this international conference focussed on “Sustainable supply chains: A Business Imperative”. SDG 12 (Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns) draws attention to the necessity to look into creating and maintaining sustainable habits. More and more companies today are grasping the reality that in order to extend their commitment to responsible business practices they must do so to their supply chains as well - right from their subsidiaries to their suppliers.