Shashi Kiran Shetty, chairman of Allcargo Logistics and head of the Avvashya Group came back from the World Economic Forum Summit held at Davos in January 2018 with a lot of hope and inspiration about creating a better world, environmentally speaking. He pens down his thoughts on how environmental risks need to be minimised to ensure future generations have the resources that we enjoy today.
World Economic Forum (WEF) is best known for its flagship event in Davos that brings together leaders from business, academia and civil society for discussions on polity and policy, since decades. While the business and political hobnobbing is what gets widely reported by the media, there are sessions that have inspired me on the personal front to a very great extent. Like last year, this year also, I carried back surprising and realistic insights on creating a responsible future. The elite gathering threw in intriguing insights that compel me to devote myself to the pursuit of larger economic good and sustainability.
Sharing the future in a fractured world, as the theme of the recently concluded Davos 2018 goes; we have a huge responsibility to mend the damages that have led to the fractured and imbalanced world.
With an eye on geo-political matters, I also took a close interest in matters that matter to the humanity the most. Arathi (my better half) and I attended sessions that addressed the need for bridging the gender diversity gap, mitigation of environmental risks and sharing common values. A key take away from all these sessions and conversations with the experts was: Leaders need to take the centre stage to provide a progressive narrative to the world.
Yes, there are hopeful signs that the world is getting serious about climatic perils. But, I must reiterate what I read on the WEF blog — in 2017 global CO2 emissions rose for the first time in 4 years. This brings me to think that we are somewhere not on track. Increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) prevents heat radiating from earth's surface into the space. Most of this heat is absorbed by our oceans. Capacity of oceans to absorb CO2 is declining. Plus we keep dumping toxic physical waste into the ocean. The damage caused is huge.
This is the kind of fracture that needs immediate fixing else, we will soon approach the situation of climate refugees. The situation in Cape Town, where the city will run out of water by April alarms me. Climate change could also lead to financial instability, toppling the world order. It is time that countries with sufficient water explore adequate distribution mechanisms to fill the water scarcity gap.
Coming from India, which widely commits to Paris climate accord to reduce GHG emissions, I stand committed to my part. Exploring the renewable and putting a price to carbon will help us very much. China has done this and so are other developing countries like Chile, Mexico, etc. France has assured to shun coal plants by 2020. We really need to look up to European countries to take cues of effective waste energy distribution using grid technology.
We have some strong examples in India also to help us shift our mindset. 'Rally for Rivers' — is one such initiative by Sadhguru of the Isha Foundation to nurture our rivers by creating a green belt around them.
Environmental risks dominated all discussions in Davos this year. I strongly urge that reinventing the companies with the future generation in mind should be a compulsory part of any leader's long term vision. At Allcargo, we are undertaking two initiatives in India in partnership with Grow Trees and through our in-house initiative called Maitree, providing dual benefit of environment conservation along with community development. Our target is to plant a million trees by 2020. This is an important part of our business vision and our commitment to this cause will only increase. For over an year now, at the group level, we have discouraged gifting bouquets and instead shifted to gifting plants, in partnership with Grow Trees, to colleagues.
To remain protected, a concrete plan needs to be in place. In the absence of global collaboration, access to better living conditions and facilities will become difficult.
In short, world is rapidly changing and we all know about it, the issue is that we do not see much of it. Our people could run out of resources if we do not brace up. We need to take proactive measures to influence the aspects of sustainability. Probably use technology to identify areas that need our immediate focus. Plant trees, reduce waste and conserve environment to outsmart resource shortage. A quick fix at a later stage would not do any good. We can start small now. By reducing usage of plastic bags, for instance.
We owe this to our children and grandchildren. Sustainable living can only come by if we take measures now. We cannot take our resources for granted just because we have enough of it as of now. Can we?