Sustainability Deliberated Across Sectors at Webinars in Amity University

New Delhi

On the occasion of Earth Day 2020 a webinar was organized by Amity Institute of Environmental Toxicology, Safety and Management and Amity Institute of Environmental Sciences on “Climate Action for Sustainable Planet”.

Sensitizing students, faculty and stakeholders about importance of sustainable development for Earth, the webinar held importance as in current scenario as the world is facing sustainability challenges along with earth, pollution, climate change, compounded by the effects of rapid industrialization and urbanization. Effect of COVID-19 and its impact on Earth and Climate was also reflected upon. .

Talking to the students about ‘Microbes and Climate Change’, Professor R. Baskar, FGS (Ind), FGGS, Chairperson, Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology shared how occurrence of COVID-19 has resulted in the complete reorganization of how we work, travel and socialize. While the human costs of the pandemic are horrifying, there are certain positive impacts, although temporary, whether through improved air quality or reduced gas emissions. “Moments of crisis can be converted to moments of opportunity. We could rebuild our society and economy and shift to a more sustainable economy,” said Prof. Bhaskar.

Talking about microbial activity and climate change, Prof. Bhaskar shared that microbial processes have a proven role in the global fluxes of the key biogenic greenhouse gases and are likely to respond to climate change and influence it. “Microbes will continue as climate engineers long after humans have burned that final barrel of oil,” averred Prof. Bhaskar.

Furthering the talk, Dr Rasik Ravindra, Former Director National Centre for Polar and Oceanic Research shared his views on ‘The Climate Challenge: Are we ready?’ and talked about the impact of climate change on land, oceans, Arctic Sea ice loss and changes in monsoon pattern. Talking about climate challenge on Biodiversity, Dr. Ravindra said, “Greenhouse gas emissions and climate change are affecting plant species’ distribution. High altitude mountain vegetation is particularly at risk because it is impossible for species growing near the summits to migrate to higher altitudes”.

Professor Umesh Kulshrestha, Dean, School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University talked about ‘COVID-19 Lockdown Scenario: A Confirmation of Industry Driven Climate Change in the Present Era’. He shared, “The COVID_19 global lockdown is a confirmation that the fossil fuel burning is really responsible for the present global warming and climate change. Observations of the COVID-19 period will reduce uncertainties for Medium and Low confidence factors – Short-lived gases and aerosols. After the lockdown, the industry should start under controlled emissions,” suggested Professor Kulshreshtha.

Furthering the talk, Dr. Markandey Rai, Chancellor, IGTAMS University stated that as per the scientists, corona virus has been attributed to human inferences such as deforestation, encroachments on animal habitations and biodiversity loss, which led to its beginning in China. “When we think of trade off with loss by COVID-19 in terms of life, jobs and economy, we still feel the balance is in our side. It has had the biggest impact on climate change. Air pollution has reduced tremendously in big cities,” shared Dr. Rai.

The webinar was moderated by Prof (Dr.) Tanu Jindal, Group Additional Pro Vice Chancellor (R&D) and Director, Amity Institute of Environmental Sciences & Amity Institute of Environmental Toxicology, Safety and Management. The interactive webinar had the experts responding to a number of queries of students on climate change.

In another webinar, Mahipal Singh Chauhan – Dy Commissioner (Retd), Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan talked about ‘Building Sports and fitness eco system in schools’. He shared with students’ hoe sports occupy an important position in our lives and how sports helped in improving our talents that often-got subdued owing to academic pressure. He asked students to go beyond the learning of the four walls of the classroom and learn from teachings in the sports field as well. He shared how students should be encouraged to participate in sports right from the primary level to enable them to pick a sport of their choice as they reached the intermediate levels. “It is important for every child of all age groups to include 60 minutes of physical activity in their lives. Even the government has been encouraging participation in sports and physical activities though Fit India and Khelo India initiatives,” said Mr. Chauhan.

Arvind Warrier, Senior HR Manager, Rapid Value in his webinar talked about ‘How to deal with ‘The You, Me and The We in an Organization’. While delivering the lecture Mr. Warrier shared that Amity University gave a great platform and has set an example that learning should never be stopped. “For me you all are LOT- Leader of Tomorrow and for me leadership starts from every single step. Those who are creative, willing to learn and take mild challenges are leaders. You should put the right things in the right way and if that excites you then you are the leader. Leaders creates impact and every organization has its own goals. But what’s your own goal and how you determine them that is very important. You yourself can decide your success and failure and all you have to be is responsible,” shared Mr. Warrier.

Stating that at present we are in a that is Volatility, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA), he shared that the current work scenario is getting through four different phase including career dissatisfaction, stalled career & inability to scale, negative impact on health and negative ripple effect on team organization and loved ones. He gave 5 p’s that can make difference that are purpose, process, people, presence and peace.

Dr. Seema Sarkar, Associate Professor, Navyug Girls PG College talked about ‘Impact of Bhagvat Gita to fight COVID-19’ and shared how the holy scripture would help people to come out of the global pandemic. Sharing with students about the Bhagvat Gita and its various messages, she also talked about the battle of Mahabharat and how lord Krishna guided prince Arjun during the epic battle. She also shared how COVID-19 was an unprecedented global battle where the human race is fighting against an invisible enemy. She compared today’s doctors with Prince Arjun and how they were fighting like him against this deadly virus.

Talking about ‘Sustainability; it’s relevance today and tomorrow!’ in a Master Class with Amity International Business School students, Sangeeta Robinson, Head-Sustainability & Inclusion, PVR Cinemas in her interactive seminar asked students to share what comprised in sustainability for them. Corporate Governance, Business Ethics, Risk Management, Transparency, Supply Chain, Environmental Management, Bio diversity, Disclosure, Corporate Social Responsibility, Product Responsibility, Compliance to regulations, Financial performance, Health & Safety, Human Rights, Stakeholder engagement and Employee Development.

Elaborating with examples on each parameter, Ms. Robinson said about Corporate Governance that the Indian Government reacted to the financial frauds by overhauling the regulatory frameworks, with the new Companies Act 2013 which fixed liabilities of auditor and independent directors. She also gave examples of Business Ethics failures which included Facebook-Analytica data scandal, Elon Musk, Nissan Motor Company, Volksvagen cases etc. In Risk Management she gave examples of Kodak failed to foresee the new world of digital images, BlackBerry ignored the threat of Apple’s iPhone. In Supply Chain parameter, Ms. Robinson gave example of Dhaka Garment factory collapse, fall out of Nike and Adidas for using suppliers that were dumping toxins into river in China. On Environmental Management, she gave examples of Bhopal Disaster, Chernobyl disaster, Philips Petroleum Company explosion etc. Speaking on Corporate Social Responsibility, Ms. Robinson said that CSR is a management concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and interactions with their stakeholders.

Ms. Robinson also spoke about Stakeholder engagement and five steps approach towards it which includes – Engagement Strategy, Stakeholder Mapping, Preparation, Engagement and Action Plan. She also talked about Regulatory Compliance, Product Responsibility and Health & Safety.

Arindam Kumar, VP, Fortune Hotel Park, Gurugram in his webinar talked on the ‘Impact of COVID 19 on global hospitality Industry’.  He shared that due to corona virus there will be significant change in the industry.  “It will take little time to revive the industry and only those will sustain who will be able to convince their customer that their safety is the priority for them. If you can’t do that you won’t be able to get back in business. Everyone will have to raise the hygiene standards and will have to follow the safety precautions like thermal checking, sanitize the guest, alcohol washes etc,” shared Mr. Kumar.

He further added that during or after the lock down there could be stress on cash flow. He also laid emphasis on not getting panicked about the situation and work towards normalcy by accepting and following the changes the industry will be undergoing.