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    Covid delivers recipe for responsible consumption

    Synopsis

    By 2030, as annual consumption doubles to $6 trillion in India and $8.2 trillion in China, global material footprint is also growing exponentially. So, cutting wastage and reducing carbon footprint of our lifestyle become important. Experts believe, COVID brought into focus the need to conserve. How well is India poised to benefit from the consciousness created by the pandemic?

    ET Bureau
    As the 2030 deadline to meet UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) nears, experts believe Covid-19 has presented an opportunity, especially in ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns.

    “The strict phase of lockdown was when we realised that the resources on earth have an expiry date. And there is a need to conserve,” says Parul Soni, global managing partner, Thinkthrough Consulting. “Responsible behaviour like avoiding unnecessary travel, less dependence on office space and more on technology, dependence on local food stores should be encouraged with adequate support.”

    So, how well is India poised to benefit from the consciousness created by the pandemic? By 2030, as annual consumption doubles to $6 trillion in India and $8.2 trillion in China, global material footprint is also growing exponentially. So, cutting wastage and reducing carbon footprint of our lifestyle become important.

    “A lot of the action against climate change will require collaboration and cooperation to save ourselves,” says Anirban Ghosh, chief sustainability officer, Mahindra Group.

    There is hope. Sales of electric vehicles at Mahindra show a 255% increase in the last two years; 96,000 customers have participated in H&M’s garment collection programme leading the company to collect and recycle 4.8 lakh kg of unwanted clothes in the last two years in India. With the aim to change consumer behaviour and the response they have got, the world’s second largest clothing retailer aims to use only sustainable material by 2030.
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    While India Inc has already made the green switch for electricity, households and smaller businesses have also started following the path. “Awareness in India has caught on, and despite the widespread cost-sensitivity, customers are willing to pay for quality as they look at the long-term cost-benefit analysis,” says Ritu Lal, head of institutional relations at Amplus Solar, whose B2C rooftop business, started in 2019, has been their fastest growing segment.

    “We are conscious citizens of India, so we have installed innovative devices called ‘chakra-shields’ which cut 70% emissions of diesel generators,” says Yogeshwar Sharma, chief executive officer of Select CITYWALK, one of the largest shopping malls in the capital. “Two-thirds of our electricity is from renewable sources”.

    The UN says the global population could grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030 and 9.7 billion in 2050, leading to the requirement of almost three planets for the natural resources needed to sustain current lifestyles.

    “Technology and innovation have to be adopted to increase resource-efficiency and reduce wastage,” says Nadir Godrej, chairman, Godrej Agrovet, highlighting his company’s innovations since 1980s to increase crop and livestock yields along with sustainable farm practices with water and forest conservation at its core. “All our consumption has to be net zero carbon.”

    While it is not yet possible to estimate food waste at the retail and consumption stage, food lost after harvesting during transport, storage and processing stands at 13.8% globally, amounting to over $400 billion a year, shows UN’s SDG Report 2020.

    “From food sourcing, menu development, packaging, distribution to the running of our restaurants, we constantly work with our supplier partners to ensure efficient supply chain management and minimal waste along the way,” says Rajeev Ranjan, senior director, supply chain management and quality assurance, Connaught Plaza Restaurants, the company that operates the McDonald’s chain in north and east India.

    “Our motto is cut wastage, not cost,” says Rohit Gambhir, executive chef, The Oberoi, New Delhi. The hotel serves ‘small plates’ and ‘Indian food platter’ that allows tasting of multiple dishes but the quantity and accompaniments ensure waste-reduction. The focus is also on sourcing ethically grown local produce and cutting food waste through efficient supply chain and better inventory management.

    Many blame the world’s rich and upwardly mobile for the global material footprint and the 1.3 billion tonnes of annual food waste while nearly 2 billion go hungry or malnourished.

    “To fully realise the 17 SDGs, we need to bridge the gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’. The solution lies in empathy and introspection,” says Shridhar Venkat, CEO, Akshaya Patra Foundation. He leads by example as he quit his corporate job to lead the Foundation that feeds 1.8 million children daily.

    (This article is part of a series on sustainability in association with Mondelez India. The company had no editorial input.)
    ( Originally published on Feb 22, 2021 )
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    9 Comments on this Story

    Joe Terry1 day ago
    thechinahacks.com are the only hackers you can trust. I received a lot of transfers from them
    explorindia2 days ago
    Our Nautanki, Bhindrenwala, baghdadi and khandani bewada should realise that it is easy to buy a foreign tapless for 18 crore , join hands with Imtran and Pink, consume beef, daru and all secualr night time apps but very difficult to run nation. bewada should go to Thailand and enjoy all night at beaces the only thing his characterless filth grade khanddan has done for last seven generations.
    Vijeth Urval2 days ago
    One of my daily prayer is the destruction of the country called China. It is a PARASITE. Eats into the well being of each country. Pray it is Damned to Hell
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