Mr. S. Sivakumar, Group Head of Agriculture and IT, ITC Ltd, the architect behind the great idea of e-Choupal, delivered a lecture on ‘Inclusive Growth and Sustainability from the perspective of an Industry’ on 29th September, to the Management students of Manipal. This lecture, organized by TAPMI, is the eighth in line of the Silver Jubilee Leadership Lecture Series.
Dr.Shantaram (Trustee and Member of the Governing Council of TAPMI), Dr. Simon George (Dean – Academics TAPMI) and Dr. R. C. Natarajan (Associate Dean, TAPMI) were among those on dais accompanying the speaker. Dr. Natarajan introduced Mr. Sivakumar, as a leader who has won innumerable accolades in his field, a music enthusiast and an avid photographer.
Mr.Sivakumar started his lecture by addressing three questions – Who is excluded from current growth of market, Why should industry and business have a perspective in this issue and what action should be taken by them in this regard. He enlightened the students about various aspects of the world that are depleting and tending towards extinction. He emphasized that sections of population that do not have access to the basic necessities of life and technology have to be a part of this inclusive growth. The worst affected are our posterity who will bear the brunt of our acts. He mentioned that it now takes the earth about 1 year and 4 months to create what we have spent in one year. Hence he said that companies should now indulge in regenerating more natural resources than what they consume.
With increasing income disparity and environmental degradation, he said that there is every reason to supplement societal growth, especially in a country like India. The purpose of an economic citizen is to earn profit and their social duties lie in the taxes that come from their profits. He mentioned that if every company spends a part of its profit on rural development that alone will not be enough. He led by example that ITC practised what they preach, by being a carbon positive, water positive and a company which involves in solid waste recycling. He indicated that by following such methods, companies can achieve profits faster.
Assuming that more companies agree that the socio economic aspect is what they want to engage in, areas and ideas for sustainability open up. His message was clear, we need to create a whole host of business models that can eliminate the conflict between profits and what is right for the society.