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Published on: March 29, 2022, 2:56 p.m.
A blueprint for a better and more sustainable future

By Ashok Advani

We are very happy to be back with our annual CSR special issue, which we had to miss during the pandemic.

The focus this year is on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). And for this year’s issue we are fortunate to have worked with two organisations in the field. First, the UN Global Compact (UNGC) office in India, as our Knowledge Partner, who introduced us to their network of leading global experts and committed corporations. The second is Bangalore-based Sattva, a consulting company wholly devoted to CSR who acted as our Research Partner. Also, we are very grateful to our Consulting Editor, Dr Shashank Shah, who has been with us from the first CSR special issue. In the last four years, he has led three CSR special issues – each of these collector’s editions. Shashank has the rare ability to focus single-mindedly on larger issues yet look at every small detail. Fortunately, he was able to complete this issue before joining a prestigious assignment with Niti Aayog.

On 1 January 2016, the 17 SDGs of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which were adopted by world leaders in September 2015, officially came into force. These goals aim to end all forms of poverty and are a blueprint for a better and more sustainable future for all. These goals call for action by all countries, poor and rich, to promote prosperity while preserving the planet. Ending poverty depends on strategies that promote economic growth and also address a range of social needs including education, health, and job opportunities while tackling climate change and protecting the environment.

Many Indian CEOs, of big and small companies, have wholeheartedly embraced SDGs. Several have aligned their CSR activities to one or more SDGs. Others have gone further, making them part of their strategic thinking, not just for CSR, but for their normal business operations too. And purpose-driven organisations have adopted one or more SDGs as part of their goals. They believe that there are risks not only to the country but directly to their companies if India does not achieve the SDG goals.

In this special issue we highlight how many corporates are working both with NGOs and government bodies to help achieve SDGs. We have CEOs, national and international subject experts, and policy makers writing columns on their thoughts and experiences. We also have stories on the activities of several companies working towards the SDGs. Naturally, we can only highlight a select few stories. There are hundreds of companies doing very good work whose stories need to be told in the near future.

Obviously we cannot achieve all this in just a few years. Progress can be slow, and there will be setbacks. But as we work towards these achievable goals, things will only start getting better. A healthier, better educated, and better trained people are all a must for the country’s progress.

Achieving these goals will ensure that India is a wonderfully liveable country.

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