SustainabilityWorld Sustainability Summit 2021: Roadmap for ‘Ecosystem Restoration’ through Industry & Innovation

World Sustainability Summit 2021: Roadmap for ‘Ecosystem Restoration’ through Industry & Innovation

World Environment Day, The Policy Times in partnership with Recyclean Inc and The Shakti Plastic Industries is organized World Sustainability Summit 2021 online with support from GreenScape, ECOEX on June 4 and June 5 from 5 PM to 9 PM to set a wave of brainstorming a Industry & Innovation driven agenda for ‘Ecosystem Restoration’.

On the occasion of this World Environment Day, The Policy Times in partnership with Recyclean Inc and The Shakti Plastic Industries is organized World Sustainability Summit 2021 online with support from GreenScape, ECOEX on June 4 and June 5 from 5 PM to 9 PM to set a wave of brainstorming a Industry & Innovation driven agenda for ‘Ecosystem Restoration’. Event Partners of World Sustainability Summit 2021 are Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC), Material Recycling Association of India(MRAI), Indian Plastics Institute and Indus International Research Foundation (IIRF) and organising partners of this event are Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, Gaza University and Impact Youth Sustainability.

World Sustainability Summit 2021 had witnessed 40+ eminent speakers including world leaders like the Environment Minister of India Shri. Prakash Javadekar, and 4 Padma Shri awardees, 2000+ international participants coming together and exchanging ideas and solutions to build a new green development model to achieve Sustainable Development Goals set up by the United Nations.

The United Nations has reinforced the theme of reimagination, recreation, and restoration of ecosystems and India is a live example of such practices. From the last 7 years under the guidance of our PM, many steps have been taken, be it on policy-making, providing incentives, building up ISA organisation, and forming a global leadership, be it with the help of solar energy, wind energy, biogas, ethanol to improve the ecosystem and make it sustainable for living. According to the government, we should start using biofuel. Today, India is on its way to taking one more big step in the ethanol sector one roadmap will be put on for the emission of ethanol in the whole country, just like the E-100 Pilot Project that has been launched in Pune. In this 21st century, India is now primarily linked with the role of ethanol. Usage of ethanol will not only improve the environment but it will be helpful for the farmers too.  

It has been decided that within 2025 the objective to blend 20% of ethanol with petrol will be done. Our government is trying to take up steps that match the present generation and will in turn bring success to our country. This model in the future will encourage the future generation of the world. And, we are trying our best to implement all these policies so that we help the government achieve its goals.

For the past decade, the world has been producing roughly 50 billion metric tons of annual GHG emissions. But global carbon emissions fell by 6.4%, or 2.3 billion tonnes, in 2020, as the pandemic struck. The United Nations Environment Programme estimates that the world would need to cut carbon emissions by 7.6% per year for the next decade to prevent the globe from warming more than 1.5 ºC above pre-industrial levels — a goal set by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted by 195 countries in Paris in 2015.

The significant reduction in carbon was all due to the pandemic curbing our actions to a great extent. Although the pandemic curbed our activities that does not mean every activity stopped. The world just improvised its ways which resulted in quite a few astounding improvements in the global climate scenario.

Energy use for electricity, heat, and transport is by far the biggest contributor to GHG emissions worldwide, producing approximately three-quarters of the global total. However, the transport sector saw a major shift in the upward trends. Due to the pandemic and ensuing global restrictions, global mobility, especially road transport in regions with lockdowns in place dropped between 50% and 75%, with global average road transport activity almost falling to 50% by the end of March 2020. This brought a significant drop in fossil fuel usage- 57% of global oil demand declined at an unprecedented scale in early 2020.

This brought a scenario of a 6.4% global carbon emission decline in 2020 and pushed us so close to the estimated annual 7.6% reduction goal. The aforementioned statistic does put our goal of net zero carbon in an achievable action plan for the green transition.

In this context, our Hon’ble Environment & IB Minister,  Shri Prakash Javadekar also mentioned that “Today we are at a pivotal tipping point where we must align climate action in line with national interest & development”. “India is in the action of walking the talk – India is on the cusp of development but not at the cost of nature. The nation is currently the only G-20 country to have achieved 25% carbon emission reduction and is on the path of meeting a pledged goal on not only GHGs emission reduction but on replacing 450 GW of its fossil fuel consumption with renewable energy and increased 15000 Sq Km forest cover for extra carbon sink. It is the responsibility of advanced nations for adding their fair share to the current scenario to commit towards dissemination of affordable & low-cost technology along with finance to help not only developing nations but the world to meet climate goals together earlier”  

Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog was present as Chief guest and speaking on the occasion reiterated that, “this kind of initiative, is necessary because it will spread a much-needed awareness about the environment in our country and this is just the beginning where we need to change the narratives, the dialogues the mindset of the people.” 

He suggested that the people of the country should be much more careful and they should take care of the environment. It is time that we call upon our own Indian tradition of living with nature and living in nature and not concurring with nature. We live in a country where we worship trees and nature and that should be re-instilled in the people now. We have been worshipping rivers since time immemorial so it is time that we again start worshipping our rivers rather than disrespecting and polluting them. In a democratic country like ours, we get what we demand in terms of policies, we get what the dominant narratives become and that narrative today unfortunately is not about circular economy, not about preserving and restoring nature is not about mainstreaming the environment. It is now we should reinforce our good ideas in much bigger and wider ways and help in change the mindset of the people, where they will keep the water bodies clean rather than transforming those into sewage canals or dumping grounds. Policy cannot go far beyond the people’s needs and requirements.

Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General, of International Solar Alliance, stated that “a global risk mitigating mechanism that breeds profit and enables green transition is the solution”. He also suggested bringing awareness of energy efficiency and bringing down the energy usage and decarbonization of the energy sector, transportation sector, and the industry through electrification or zero-carbon energy resource mechanisms like energy from hydrogen”.

Agreeing with Mr. Mathur’s words, Mr. Atul Bagai, Head, of UNEP India said, “Covid-19 has come as an ambassador of nature to give us a wake-up call to take advanced environmental agenda in an integrated national structure and change of discourses from its people to promote sustainable activities.”

Mr. Gaurav Kaul, Founder & CEO, of RECYCLEAN, suggested that “Climate action needs a multilateral operation process with collaboration between stakeholders and establishing a well-engineered structure of combined physical and digital unidirectional and streamlined structure linking stakeholders and making them aware of the market and create new opportunities of waste management and thus bringing about a sustainable and circular economy”.

Mr. Rahul V Podaar, MD, The Shakti Plastic Industries focused on, “Recycling is one of the most important solutions to exploit the overused statement ‘reuse, recycle and reduce’ and moreover adding value to the waste for better adaptation and management of waste will act as an action agenda to conserve natural resources and reserve ecosystem devastation.

Dr. Dhiraj Kumar  Singh, MD of GRC India threw light on how, industry and innovation are synonymous, although there are lots of best practices they seem separate actions by individual experts so there is a need for a strong string in terms of a platform to collate, monitor and disseminate the best practices throughout the world to inspire better and multiplied adaptation”.

Dr. Ashok Kumar, Vice Chairman, of Greenscape Eco management brought a special focus on E-Waste management to build a sustainable circular economy and a greener future earth. The sector must shift focus on the retraction of material to successfully engineer a system of restoration and regeneration.

Md. Moshiur Rahman Chowdhury, Environmentalist, and Secretary General, Bangladesh Deep Sea Fisheries Association addressed, climate change as a global crisis and it needs to be taken care of globally. He said, “Bangladesh is often identified as one of the risky countries in climate change. Bangladesh recognizes climate disaster and its significant hindrance to national development and risk for its people so the nation spends 5 billion dollars which means 2.5% of its GDP for climate adaptation and so they have taken further initiative of massive reforestation.

CA. Sunil H. Talati, Vice Chairman of the Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC) spoke on the UN’s initiative on climate change and its importance for directing an actionable agenda. He said, “India has exported about $40 million in environmental services. From an export point of view we are having 1.8% share, in international trade we are the sixth largest market overall. The Indian government established a 5000 crore dedicated fund to increase the value addition and promote export and push the MSMEs”.

Dr. Sameer Joshi, Honorary Treasurer, Governing Council, Indian Plastics Institute suggested that it is time we must rethink our actions and plan to spread awareness about the state of our local ecosystem and engineer time-bound action agenda and analyze their results and put combined effort to restore the previous glory of our ecosystem.

Dr. P. Sekhar, Chairman Unleashing India, Global Smart City Panel, MTGF also s “It is necessary that we plan innovation, growth, and development as a sustainable cycle, the not a one-way path to individual achievement but collective growth and future of the planet and its people”. 

The inaugural session of World Sustainability Summit 2021 was moderated by Mr. Akram Hoque, Founder Editor, The Policy Times.

Session 1: The first session of the World Sustainability Summit 2021 started off with deliberating on the need for a new development model inspiring green growth during post covid-19 pandemic through Industry & Innovation-driven agenda for ‘Ecosystem Restoration’

We are in a pretty serious state in our country and so we have no time to lose we should start working right away to build a different model of urbanization and how we bring back our cycle and go back to the circular economy, We need to think differently and in a unique way, rather we should look into that will bring social change and especially the adoption of agroecology for Indian Agriculture, as our agricultural practice leaves tons of carbon into the atmosphere, the soil has been degraded, and we lose about 10% of our GDP due to soil degradation, so we should bring in the practice of Zero Budget Natural Farming, and NITI Aayog is pushing this agenda because it can restore the organic carbon content in the soil and thereby segregate the carbon in the atmosphere, and can prove the largest carbon reversal process in the world.

This session was chaired by Dr. P. Sekhar, Chairman Unleashing India, Global Smart City Panel, MTGF.

Dr. P Shekhar gave the commencement remarks and stated numerous facts on the green economy, its key factors, and its opportunities. He also discussed a secured governance strategy for smart City development and suggested a secured governance funding model as well.

Mr. Erik Solheim, Former UN Environment Executive Director and UnderSecretary-General, UN & Norway’s Environment Minister said, “China will be carbon neutral by 2060. The US is investing in green infrastructure which is the greenest policy ever for a net zero-carbon transition. In Europe, they are working on green new deals and driving all investment in a green direction. For example, Volkswagen, the biggest company in the world will go all-electric in a few years. In India, solar energy is the cheapest energy. Actions by China, US, Europe, and India are a shift that can create a merger between economy and ecology into one and mend all global companies under four from all these shifts. This can be the biggest source of jobs on planet Earth. Countries can collaborate and put out jobs based on this.

Dr. Ashok Khosla, Founder, and President, Devalt; Former Co-Chair, UNEP-IRP & President-IUCN discussed systematic approaches for sustainable restoration of ecosystems through 8 parameters: why, what, where, when, how much, with what, how, who and by whom. 

Dr. Vibha Dhawan, DG, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) stated that TERI started awareness among people early in 1997, TERI brought a study Green India 2047, which discussed what the cost humankind is paying in terms of sustainability. She also concluded that they launched another study after this one named DISHA which suggested steps to be taken for sustainability.

Speaking on the occasion Mr. Rajendra Singh, Waterman of India, Water Conservationist, and Environmentalist reiterated the value of the Sanatan rejuvenation process leading to ecosystem restoration. He also said that the present development model doesn’t facilitate the cohesion of people and the planet leading to climate change, biodiversity loss, increased vulnerability, and socio-economic disparity. Prosperity and expansion are increasing complexity.

Padma Shri Jadav Payeng, ‘Forest Man of India’, “Trees are vital assets. As the biggest plants on the planet, they give us oxygen, store carbon, stabilize the soil and give life to the world’s wildlife. They also provide us with the materials for tools and shelter. He also concluded that ” as long as trees are there we are here so we need to preserve and protect the existing forests”. 

Session 2: The second session of WSS 2021 witnessed global industry presence under the theme “Blue Economy and Recycling  Post-pandemic”. 

The Blue Economy could very well prove to be the alternative way to meet the global goal of net zero carbon and green economic structure if steered on a strategically sustainable and innovative path. Blue and green economies are interconnected, and proper waste management could reduce marine pollution. We need to bring in the practice of recycling. Recycling helps reduce the need for extracting, refining, and processing raw materials and all of which help in a substantial decrease in pollution. As recycling saves energy it also reduces GHG emissions which in turn helps in tackling climate change.

On that note, Mr. Ranjit Baxi, Founder of International Recycling Ltd & Founding President, of Global Recycling Foundation, UK addressed that recycling is the future interconnecting socio-economic and environmental pillars helping carbon reduction and helping bring climate control goals. Waste management has a huge market prospect- adding USD 500 billion to the global GDP and providing 5 million employment.

Mr. Bernard Merkx, Co-founder, of Waste Free Oceans, Europe, highlighted the scope of  Waste Catcher technology which will identify waste hotspots based on selection by partners and analysis of recent news and studies and collaboration with ground zero stakeholders for maximum retraction.  This helps in safeguarding valuable resources, comparably less production emission than virgin plastics, and adding value to waste could create a circulatory supply chain. 

Moreover, The Huge Market Opportunity Recycling & Waste Management puts out, is a bright prospect, where, Mr. Abhay Deshpande, Founder, Recykal, says 2% of the Indian Population earns livelihood from the recycling industry. India is a $ 100 billion recycling market, and a $100 billion waste management market and the money generated is informal. Digital infrastructure for advanced waste management to gain maximum traction and restoration is the key. Circular economy could be on the horizon of reality

Mr. Tanveer Mirza, Nagpur Ratna & President, Yashodhara NGO highlighted the scope of a sustainable world enabled through a circular economy where nothing is wasted and everything can be recycled or reused. 

Mr. Gaurav Kaul, Founder & CEO of  RECYCLEAN concludes by saying that the right solution can balance between environmental and socio-economic benefits and create huge opportunities for people and the planet”.

Day 2

Session 3: Embracing Innovation and Global Best Practices 

Overindulgence and reckless development by humankind are already causing monumental and irreparable loss to the earth and its habitat including humans. The degradation of the natural world is already undermining the well-being of 3.2 billion people or 40% of the world’s population. Sustainability is the solution to filter further damage and set on the path to healing the earth.

Sustainability is a diverse arena consisting of different elements and focuses but Recycling is certainly one of the significantly important global focuses as the key to global sustainability. Life cycle analysis shows that recycling is always the most environmentally friendly option to conserve natural resources and cut down emissions. Recycling not only helps with  Not only environmental benefits but economic growth as well as employing millions of people worldwide.

Recycling builds a healthy and constructive link between society, the economy, and the environment. Dynamic innovation and stringing global best practices for extrapolation and multiplied adaptation is the pathway to the best result possible as far as recycling is concerned. 

Speaking in the context Mr Rahul V Poddar, Founder of The Shakti Plastics Industry said that recycling is one of the main focuses to enable a sustainable and circular economy in the country. The main challenge to mounting a sustainable and circular journey is awareness and technology in India.

So to address that challenge we have launched SEWA Foundation to boost waste management awareness throughout the country and empower the value for each stakeholder in the recycling supply chain, especially training and upliftment of the bottom link in the chain like rag pickers in our country. 

We have also launched the TechnoPlast initiative to provide technical support for recycling to different sectors. We provide solutions, permission, and license for this. It will connect all the stakeholders in the waste management scheme domestically as well as internationally, it’s a holistic platform where it will support all kinds of stakeholders government bodies municipal corporations a person who wants to sell the waste and by waste a company who wants to convert products made out of waste, all notifications events, webinars will be on this will be on a single platform. This will help the industry come together and build a sustainable culture”. 

India is on the cusp of development and with accelerated growth comes huge environmental costs. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), report (2018-19) highlights that India generates 3.3 million metric tonnes of plastic waste per year and out of which 40 % goes uncollected or ends up in the environment and eventually gets back to us in the worst possible ways.

Systematic recycling of plastic waste allows local industry to emerge and recover value from the recycled material and by extension fosters local growth by re-internalizing employment within a territory. Recycling plastic waste creates significantly more jobs than those generated by sending an equivalent amount of waste to landfill or incinerating it. India’s huge plastic waste generation as well as the 6.5% annual growth estimation giving way to the  USD $53.72 billion market by the end of 2023 spells huge socio-economic & environmental potential. 

Speaking in this context Mr. Akshaya Rath, CEO, EcoEx said  – the Indian government has introduced Extended Producers Responsibility under the plastic waste management act 2016 where the Urban Local Body was given extended authority over waste management starting from the base level of household waste generation. However, the logistics, infrastructure, and technology and the lack of proper organization among concerned shareholders pose a hindrance to the aforementioned potential.

An organised and systematic platform created with balanced digital and physical infrastructure right from the ULB level to monitor, audit, and proper validation system of every step of the process(proof of dispatch) in the waste management process along with an improved inventory of waste and understand the material balance of plastic fostering ethical waste collection is necessary to mobilize the plastic recycling at its true potential which is instrumental to reverse environmental damage and building  India as a plastic neutral nation. 

Here EcoEx comes as a solution with advanced technology-driven support to maintain a proper digital infrastructure, ethical collection, and waste inventory and audit that allows the superior systematic process of registration of entire local body stakeholders, therefore, creating an organised value chain in plastic waste management system and potentially pulling off a monetary value out of it to further boost the running system.

Speaking in the Indian context of the matter Mr. Sanjay Mehta, President, Material Recycling Association of India (MRAI) said – India’s huge demographic is the axis of focus shaping action and it poses opportunities as well as challenges. In terms of sustainability the globe has moved to best practices but with India’s 60% of the population living in the rural setting is slow and skeptical to adapt to the change and new methods. The Indian government has taken some brilliant initiatives from the concept of 6R (Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Rediscover, Rethink, Redesign, Re-manufacture & recycle) to various other schemes in various different sectors to enable recycling and sustainability. Governments’ initiatives not only significantly cut GHG emissions but also reduced dependency on raw materials to quite some extent.

Innovations in recycling and changing attitudes are resulting in more companies realizing the associated commercial and environmental benefits of waste management boosted by digital infrastructure. 

His suggestion is that the foundation of recycling should be laid from a very tender age to instill the culture of recycling in the very being of our future generation to inspire a better understanding of the resources they are using and their impact on nature. Not only that but in today’s age people have little understanding of soil, its quality, and the vast impact chemical-laden agriculture has on nature and soil in a country with agriculture as the center of its economy. 

 With this view, MRAI is working with the Indian government to integrate recycling into the primary education framework to inspire voluntary and cohesive climate action.

Addressing the theme Ms. Patrizia Heidegger, Director for Global Policies and Sustainability European Environmental Bureau, Belgium said   All the best practices around the world are only best practices but for them to become the new norm and effectively fight climate change, those best practices would need to be implemented through regulatory and policy framework.

Speaking in the present context Ms. Heidegger mentioned The European Green Deal a policy framework consisting – of a mixture of new laws, strategies, and investment schemes to enable a clean affordable, and secure energy supply, mobilizing industry for a clean and circular economy, building and enervating in an energy and resource-efficient way, preserving and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity, all this to build Europe as first climate-neutral union with zero carbon toxic free environment.

European Union currently has a Circular Economy Action Plan under which the EU will roll out a sector-specific policy framework that will allow businesses in the sustainability sector to thrive. More specifically, the action agenda favors waste prevention(Prevention>Minimise>Reuse>Recycle>Energy Recovery >Disposal) as the solution to sustainability over other options in the waste hierarchy. A significant emphasis of this action plan has been put on the prevention of waste by extension reducing the necessity of recycling. For example, the policy framework for sustainable products and eco-design directive has been greatly advocated as a measure to prevent waste.

Consumer empowerment through official authentication and transparency assertion was among the suggestions to boost awareness for sustainable use of products and mainstream that narrative. Clear waste reduction strategies for specific streams of waste and particularly problematic sectors are also one of the important goals around the sustainable action agenda.

One of the main suggestions Ms. Heidegger put forth in terms of sustainability and circular economy is that regulatory framework making the use of virgin raw material less attractive and providing new windows of opportunity for businesses in the sustainable sector to grow.

Speaking in the context of ever-increasing waste Ms. Heidegger advocated for creating an enabling framework for technological and social innovation through progressive regulation and sustainable policies. Social innovations are as important as technological innovation to inspire new social practices like ‘sharing schemes, buying services not products and refocus on quality, not quantity’.Recycling is important but the best way to tackle pollution is to reduce it at the source to address the ever-increasing use of materials and waste.

 The recycling industry is essential for environmental protection, resource conservation, and sustainability. In a deeper explanation recycling helps with climate action as the scrap commodities recycled annually cuts 400 million tons of carbon emission equivalent to the energy use of 48 million homes for a year. 

Recycling also allows us to recover the value and transform the waste to value. For example, in the USA alone recyclers transformed 138 million metric tons of materials from outdated and obsolete products to valuable manufacturing units in 2018.

Recycling sets a chain of events that helps repair the environmental damage and also helps reduce waste being exposed to the environment and swaths of landfills, therefore, allowing the scope of a better use for those lands in concern. Not only that recycling industry is essential to the global economy with USD$500 billion annual turnover and providing employment to more than 20 million people worldwide. Recycling in the US alone is a USD$ 117 billion economic activity employing almost half a million people directly or indirectly.

Speaking in the context Ms. Robin K. Wiener, President, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI), Washington, DC said  “ The positive side of the pandemic is that it has given a far wider and rapid recognition to the important role recycling plays in terms of global manufacturing supply chain. In the wake of the first wave of the pandemic, US Homeland Security Department declared recycling essential based on its critical role in terms of being the first link to the manufacturing supply chain for a lot of essential items. Recycled commodities are key global manufacturing feedstocks that substitute 40% of global industrial raw material need and on the other hand, some individual industry procures as high as 90% of their raw materials from recycled material. For example, the recycling rate today is estimated to be about 85% in the steel industry. Scrap plays a key role in reducing industrial emissions and resource consumption. 

Addressing the theme Embracing Innovation and Global Best Practices Ms.  Wiener suggested the best practices are the ones that are responsible and successful.

The key elements of best practices are education instilling awareness among the consumer to boost demand for recycled products as well as ensuring the quality of the products that go into recycling ensuring the best outcome as well. Out of the billions of metric tons of recycling, 20% moves cross-border as recycling is demand-driven. So access to the market is also quite an important element in terms of enabling the best result in recycling. Collaboration in different parts of the recycling chain from manufacturers to recyclers to policymakers is essential for the best possible situation along with clear distinction and regulation in national policy between recycling and waste management. These are two different segments the former ensures material recovery and later ensures safe and responsible disposal so they need to be regulated accordingly to achieve the best possible scenario. 

The last ten years have seen rapid and brilliant innovation to sort, segregate, and quality assurance of recyclables and recycled materials which has been further aided by the increased use of robotics and AI to bring a smooth and hazard-free recycling process.

 Ms. Monique Maissan, Founder & CEO Waste2Wear, China said Waste2Wear has been producing recycled fabrics and products in China and India for more than 10 years and is exporting to 27 countries at the moment. Innovation is only possible through co-creation and collaboration with stakeholders, especially with academic collaboration as some of the great innovations for recycling used materials have come from them. This can not only preserve natural resources, especially water but reduce GHGs emissions and augment carbon sequestration. Right now some of the biggest brands are putting significant awareness agenda integrated into their business operation. This increased brand awareness for reusing and recycling points to a shift in attitude and the huge impact it could translate to. But the challenge for brands is attesting to the transparency of the claim of green production and for that, Waste2Wear has come up with an assessment process for transparency in the authenticity of recycled products. This could further add to the informed choice of both producer and consumer.

This thematic session was chaired by Professor Ujjwal K Chowdhury, Pro Vice Chancellor (Media & PR), Adamas University, Kolkata. Professor Chowdhury’s conclusion remarks put highlight to the heart of the topic “Fortune lies at the bottom of the pyramid” is the foundation stone of the recycling movement and the movement can only take desired momentum if it is steered with co-creation.

WSS 2021 Session 4: WHAT PADMA SHRI WINNERS ADDRESSED DURING WSS 2021 

Dr Sameer Joshi, Honorary Treasurer, Governing Council, Indian Plastics Institute began his introductory remarks with some famous quotes which meant that we need to make efforts to restore the environment.

This thematic session  Interaction with India’s Global Scientists & Environmentalists had four eminent Padma Shri awardees as panelists. 

Padmashri Kartikeya V Sarabhai, The Environmental Educationist of India & Founder Director of the Centre for Environment Education (CEE) “ Three levels of crisis, directly and indirectly, adding to the climate change- First is degradation happening openly where people were cutting forest but another one was indirect degradation through the route of pollution. What we see now, is that climatic change is the third level of crisis and daily lifestyle and industries contribute to it, he added. He also discussed the impacts of these crises globally like forest fires, loss in biodiversity and melting of ice caps, etc. He concluded that practicing sustainability in our daily lifestyle is the need of the hour. He also believes that the plastic itself is not bad, it’s the way that the community uses it.

 Padmashri Ganpati D Yadav, The Chemical Engineer of India & Former Vice Chancellor ICT (UDCT-Mumbai) in his commencing speech discussed the 17 goals of United Nations and the 6 different ways that they are categorised. He also discussed sustainable cities and communities. In brief, he also explained green chemistry and engineering which included its Pros as well. He also discussed the role of restoration & sustainable development and the hunt for new smarter ways to develop. In so-called sustainable development one always has to deal with 3 diff viewpoints he stated i.e. environmentally friendly, economical process, and socially acceptable. He also laid emphasis on microorganisms and their role in climate change. He also told that 195 nations have signed an agreement to lower carbon dioxide emissions. He also stated that “HYDROGEN IS A SAVIOR”.

 Padmashri Swaminathan Sivaram, The Polymer Chemist of India & Former Director CSIRNCL  began his speech by acknowledging the ten truths of sustainability. He stated that sustainability is a multi-dimensional topic but people do not see it as the way it is. He also discussed some important key concepts, the nine planetary boundaries. He also warned that if mankind crosses the planetary boundaries, abrupt or irreversible environmental changes could happen. He stated, “Humans in this complex  adaptive ecosystem can control almost nothing, yet, have the power of technology to influence everything.” He believes the desire to maximize personal gains comes at a cost to the principles of sustainability. He also said that recycling and a circular economy are not sufficient enough for sustainability. Economic growth and sustainability both are interlinked and sustainability requires efficiency and resilience.

 Padmashri Rajgopalan Vasudevan, Plastic Man of India & Professor & Dean Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai commenced his speech with a famous phrase that we need to understand the creation and creator. In the beginning, he discussed flora, fauna, and mankind. The ecological challenges in an irony were also dialogued upon. He believes that man is only being on the planet disturbing nature. He also showed a huge scenario difference between before and after a world war, the lifestyle, technology, etc. He showed the pros and cons of industrial development taking place in today’s era. He concluded that plastic isn’t a problem rather plastic is a god’s gift in the form of PPE kits and masks as they have proved to be a boon in pandemics. The thing is mankind should know how to handle it. He also showed the difference between biodegradable and nonbiodegradable foods. He also suggested ways for sustainability.

This session of World Sustainability Summit 2021 was moderated by Mr. Akram Hoque, Founder Editor, The Policy Times, and chaired by Dr Sameer Joshi, Honorary Treasurer, Governing Council, Indian Plastics Institute. 

Session 5: WSS 2021 Brings Industry Perspective for ‘Ecosystem Restoration”

 CA Guru Sowle, Director-US Affairs, Indus International Research Foundation (IIRF), USA chaired this thematic session on “ industry perspective for ecosystem restoration”. Speaking on the occasion he stated, “Climate change is no longer a phenomenon nor a problem but an enabler of cascading and gigantic revolution with visible manifestation in economy, finance, life and lifestyle”.

The deliberation by distinguished panelists touched on some key areas like climate financing, green and clean energy & transport, and zero carbon strategy post-pandemic.

Mr. Sheikh Nayeem, Energy & Sustainability Director, California State University Maritime Academy, CA, USA, “ Climate action is a great challenge but a challenge with great opportunities on the flip side. Every entity from the government, and media to banks to the industry has a role to play to mitigate the risks of climate change. Revolutionary government initiatives and policies integrating climate adaptation activities to strategic financing  by banks and outreach, awareness, and integrating programs by the media can do great in mass integration in climate action mobilization along with great technology, and R&D from industry to add to the cohesive movement. Sustainability is the new standard of investment expedited by demand generation enabled by mass awareness and education.

CA Rajsekhar Reddy Nalla, Founder Chairman, USA (Dallas) Chapter, The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), USA – “ Climate Financing is key to mobilize the climate action movement steadily and effectively. Even though climate financing is nowhere close to its requirement, the positive aspect is that there has been worldwide recognition of climate change and a shift to climate financing for effective climate adaptation from governments,  private sectors, institutions, foundations, multilateral development banks, etc. Climate financing has risen significantly along with transparency on commercial agenda meeting social and environmental criteria.

Mohamed Anis, Head of Energy, Resources & Services –Europe, Infosys, UK, “It is really important to understand which countries and how many countries are contributing how much in the aspect of climate change. Of all the countries that have committed to the Paris Agreement, 61% of countries have committed to carbon net zero and more than 20% of countries have achieved carbon net zero already; 44% of companies including Infosys have achieved carbon net zero.

The phenomenal aspect of climate action mobilization is greater individual, institutional, and multilateral collaboration for knowledge, technology, and IP sharing for better low-carbon transition throughout the world recently.

Mr. Rajkumar Gupta, CGC Head of environment sector in SEPC & Director & CEO, Toshiba Water Solutions Private Limited spoke on Zero Carbon Emission and environment management from companies’ perspective. He shared some perspectives and ways how to achieve the Zero carbon emission target by mentioning the Paris Agreement.  Talking about Reducing Carbon footprint he says, “We have to do it on an individual level”.

Furthermore, speaking about industry opportunities Water technology innovation has many market opportunities such as Conserving and Recovering energy, Recovering nutrients, Improving and greening the water infrastructure, Conserving and eventually Reusing water and reducing costs, and improving techniques for Water Monitoring, etc. 

Mr. Anil Mehta “We take climate action on three levels: reforestation, water reservation  & waste management connecting multiple layers of stakeholders from individual to collective level and create an activity that moves through the mantra ‘local action enabling global changes’. In conclusion, he added  We need empathy, belongingness, and participation to fast forward the pace of climate action mobilization.

In conclusion, Mohamed Anis, Head of Energy, Resources & Services –Europe, Infosys, UK, “ Carbon Net Zero is a collective vision and it is imperative to bring dynamic innovation for institutions and organizations to nip the trouble at the bud in the case of carbon emission rather than taking countermeasures later.

Recommendations & Key Takeaways from WSS 2021:

The two-day summit deliberated on a range of issues including a New Development Model for Green Growth through Secured Governance, Harnessing Blue Economy & Recycling post-Pandemic, Embracing Innovation and Global Best Practices, Role of Industry: Climate Financing, Green and Clean Energy & Transport and Zero Carbon Strategy post Pandemic, Making Opportunities of Climate Challenges, etc. 

 A range of solutions and suggestions was picked up to provide a clear direction and action agenda in each domain.

NEW DEVELOPMENT MODEL

One of the most important agenda that the government is pushing to take forward to maintain sustainability is the Circular Economy, a systemic approach to economic development designed to benefit businesses, society, and the environment. It is necessary that we plan innovation, growth, and development as a sustainable cycle, not a one-way path to individual achievement but collective growth and the future of the planet and its people. The key suggestions are:

  • The adoption of agro-ecology for Indian Agriculture, as our agricultural practice, leaves tons of carbon in the atmosphere, the soil has been degraded, and we lose about 10% of our GDP due to soil degradation, so we should bring in the practice of Zero Budget Natural Farming, and NITI Aayog, is pushing this agenda because it can restore the organic carbon content in the soil and thereby segregate the carbon in the atmosphere, and can prove the largest carbon reversal process in the world.
  • The last decade has seen dynamic innovation bringing the cheapest renewable energy but still, round-clock & storage energy is costlier than fossil fuel energy due to upfront first capital for renewable energy application. Cost of a first capital challenge for renewables, thus payment guarantee mechanism for a renewable business organisation is key to reducing the first cost capital. 
  • Indian Plastics Institute suggested to us that it is time we must rethink our actions and plan to spread awareness about the state of our local ecosystem and engineer a time-bound action agenda and analyze their results and put a combined effort to restore the previous glory of our ecosystem.
  • In India solar energy is the cheapest energy. Actions by China, US, Europe, India is a shift that can create a merger between economy and ecology into one and mend all global companies under four from all these shifts. This can be the biggest source of jobs on planet Earth. Countries can collaborate and put out jobs based on this.
  • Climate action needs a multilateral operation process with collaboration between stakeholders and establishing a well-engineered structure of combined physical and digital unidirectional and streamlined structure linking stakeholders and making them aware of the market and creating new opportunities for waste management and thus bringing about a sustainable  and circular economy
  • There is a need for a strong string in terms of a platform to collate, monitor and disseminate the best practices throughout the world to inspire better and multiplied adaptation”.
  • We should focus on E-Waste management to build a sustainable circular economy and a greener future earth. The sector must shift focus on the retraction of material to successfully engineer a system of restoration and regeneration.

Recycling:

One of the dominant and recurrent focuses of the two days summit was Recycling as an instrumental pillar of sustainability and ecosystem restoration. The key suggestion for policymakers, the business community, and experts provide a clear direction ahead.

    • The recycling industry is essential for GHG emission reduction & by extension environmental protection, resource conservation, and sustainability. Recycling also allows us to recover the value of resources and transform the waste to value.
    • Recycling is important but the best way to tackle pollution is to reduce it at the source to address the ever-increasing use of materials and waste. The waste hierarchy pyramid below highlights the steps of significance in order.(Prevention>Minimise>Reuse>Recycle>Energy Recovery >Disposal) 
    • Waste Prevention: For that, a policy framework to introduce sustainable products and environment-friendly design directives has been greatly advocated as a measure to prevent waste.
  • Environmental – Friendly Design to enable increased recycling: One of the major challenges for recycling at present is the majority of the product in the market is not designed for recycling so those products go to waste. Therefore policy & regulatory frameworks mandating eco-friendly design can increase the rate of recycling. 
  • Awareness & Education: Awareness & education among consumers to instill a greater understanding of the product they are using and their impact on nature could boost demand for recycled products and steer the recycling industry to thrive.
  • Awareness and education is also necessary to ensure the quality of product going for recycling thus ensuring great quality product coming after recycling.
  • Experts suggest bringing a culture and tradition of recycling & reuse, there is a need to instill this as a priority focus from a tender age. Therefore a curriculum integration of recycling & better understanding of the environmental impact of each of our activities in the primary education framework could be the solution.
  • Government Authentication Framework– to ensure the authenticity of product origin from recycled material and process. This would provide greater scope for the sustainability sector to scale up their prospect according to the potential.
  • Collaboration & Co-Creation-is are the keys to bringing the best possible results and innovation for recycling and sustainability. Collaboration between local, regional, national & international stakeholders is necessary to bring the best possible scenario enabled by the collaborative co-creation of some of the brilliant solutions, innovation & technology.
  • Clear Distinction Between Recycling and Waste Management: It is imperative to put clear distinctions and regulations in national policy between recycling and waste management. These are two different segments the former ensures material recovery and later ensures safe and responsible disposal so they need to be regulated accordingly to achieve the best possible scenario. 
  • In Indian context Unified Infrastructure & Technology enabled platform: Recycling needs integrated physical and digital infrastructure enabling a strong and connected supply chain to monitor, validate and audit the recycling process 

ACTION PLANS BASED ON WSS2021 DELIBERATIONS

We must be aware in support of the UN’s perspective on sustainable environmental issues. India is committed to this and paid keen attention to planning, budgeting, and developing and implementing the SDG models. NITI Ayog has already mapped the schemes related to the SDGs target.  Also, the state government of India has a very important role to play and they are consiThe Policy Times is with the mission of advocacy, and consultative process that characterized the new world agenda. It is time that we push the government’s agenda and help make the earth sustainable. So, to create awareness among everybody The Policy Times proposed to organize:

  • Regional Conferences across India

The Policy Times proposes to organise conferences across the country and bring several global stakeholders, and government officials to share their technology and business proposals to make India sustainable and make ways to restore the ecosystem which will turn into best global practices.

  • International Conference on Circular Economy

 The Policy Times will organise an International conference on circular economy internationationally across the globe through thought leadership and will invite 10 consultants from Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, several recyclers, and government officials to achieve a maximum circular economy in India as well as throughout the globe.

  • Creating Model Circular Cities and replicating the model across nations and states. India has to be the thought process leader of the world in terms of sustainability and India will lead in global sustainability initiatives.
  • Policies or initiatives should be taken as there is a need for a National level Waste measurement system for the environment and biodiversity damage integrated into our GDP or growth equation for it to spell equal importance worthy of its stature and shape.

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