NOTICE: We only have one Earth! Let’s act together to preserve resources, decarbonize the economy and make the transition to sustainable development

The theme for this year’s World Environment Day – “One Earth‘ – was also the slogan of the 1972 Stockholm Conference – the first world conference on the environment. Fifty years from now, as we face the climate emergency, the actions we take today will determine how our future generation coexists with nature. As we commemorate this day to highlight the importance of conserving our planet, addressing climate challenges while keeping sustainability in mind is the key to a better future.



Today, natural disasters occur more frequently, displacing millions of people and causing significant economic losses. In 2020 alone, India would have faced a staggering $87 billion loss due to natural disasters. Climate change is a reality that we face in our daily lives. For example, March 2022 was India’s hottest March in the past 122 years.

Therefore, today reminds us all to take action on the climate emergency that is causing socio-economic disruption on a global scale. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), India is the fastest growing major economy in the world and we need to protect ourselves from future weather disruptions that could affect its growth prospects.

This will only be possible with a strong climate action plan that will enable wider adoption of renewable energy, restore natural ecosystems, promote biodiversity, and focus on water conservation and decarbonization.


Preserve our natural resources

As we experience a global shortage of raw materials, we need to rethink our approach to the use of natural resources. Today, industrialization and overpopulation create an excessive demand for natural resources, threatening the balance of our ecosystem. Continued extraction of raw materials would disrupt the organic foundations of our ecosystems, potentially undoing the years of sustenance maintained between the planet and the life on it.

An effective alternative to the current linear method of consumption and production is a circular economy. A circular model can help contain the demand for newer materials and make efficient use of available resources. This is where we design supply chains, products, manufacturing and distribution for circularity and resource recovery, to reduce the amount of virgin raw materials in products and recover old products from the market. to refurbish and reuse them.

The collective initiatives of organizations can help create faster impact on restoring the planet, by sharing ownership among all stakeholders on the planet. For example, in cities like Chennai, which are experiencing severe water scarcity, activities such as water body restoration campaigns will provide long-term sustainable solutions for better nourished ecosystems. Several private, non-profit and academic organizations have come together to restore the 100-acre Sembakkam Lake in Chennai. Such efforts can overall improve ecosystem resilience while recharging groundwater and restoring critical resources.


A lower carbon economy

Today, as businesses return to pre-pandemic levels, supply chains are becoming stronger and more connected. Energy and water consumption are involved at different stages of the supply chain ecosystem, leading to increased carbon and water footprints throughout the product life cycle.

To move towards a less carbon- and water-intensive economic structure, we need to implement policies that help businesses adopt green supply chain models, formulate materials assessment strategies, and create a framework mandatory for sustainable finance to fuel their green initiatives. These should be included in company policies for purchasing materials, logistics, and packaging.

Technology can play a key role in initiating such a transition. For example, a recent technology partnership to build a Circular Blockchain-based System for Rare Earth Sustainability Assessment (CSyARES) is expected to help companies improve the transparency and sustainability of their supply chains with respect to critical materials and rare earths.


Preparing for the future

As we develop strategies to build a sustainable future, it is essential to cultivate environmentally responsible behaviors at different levels of society. Businesses need to understand the direct and indirect impact they create on the planet and must shift to making their operations more sustainable.

Customers need to be made aware of the benefits of using products with longer life cycles and how to manage them responsibly to reduce their footprint. There is no Planet B, so individuals, in their capacity, should start adopting sustainable living practices to make a difference.

All stakeholders, public and private, must work together to help protect our “one Earth”!

George Rajkumar is the national chairman of Grundfos India.


Disclaimer: Opinions expressed are those of the author/respondent and do not necessarily reflect the views of Business Insider India. The article has been partially edited for length and clarity.



This column is part of the month-long awareness campaign for June 2022 on the theme “

One Earth: Supporting People, Planet and Prosperity
” by
Business Insider India’s Sustainability Insider
.

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