Event ReportsPublished on Sep 21, 2022
Swedish Ambassador for Sustainable Business urges co-creating sustainable business models with India
Cecilia Ekholm, Ambassador of Sustainable Business at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, called for collaborative efforts between India and Sweden to create sustainable business models. The Ambassador was addressing a multi-stakeholder roundtable discussion titled ‘Towards Sustainable Businesses: Opportunities and Challenges,’ organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) in Mumbai on 19 September. Over 90 percent of Swedish businesses have integrated sustainability into their business strategy and vision. Ms Ekholm acknowledged that some leading Indian corporate entities have also announced ambitious plans to achieve net-zero carbon levels. “This growing realisation has set the stage for Sweden and India to co-create mechanisms to forge sustainable business models that can aid not just large corporations but also the small businesses and MSMEs to achieve green transitions,” she said. The Ambassador said Swedish companies had taken the pole position in the UNFCCC's global race to zero campaign and integrated sustainability goals into their new business models. Eight out of 10 Swedish exporting companies meet the sustainability requirements for their suppliers, and even the youth have high expectations of sustainable business practices. She remarked that the need of the hour is to shift the focus from cost to competitiveness and values. Highlighting the European Union's (EU) legislation on due diligence for human rights and the environment in business practices and the introduction of sustainability clauses in its Free Trade Agreements, Ambassador Ekholm urged the institutionalisation of such measures across all sectors of the economy. Sweden and India must collaborate to build a circular economy and new growth. Sweden is ready to support Indian companies in their early transition stages, to explore and devise public-private partnership frameworks to boost their sustainability quotient. “There are immense possibilities, but there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and no efforts towards supply-side sustainability can materialise without creating a robust demand for green processes and products,” she said. Sustainable Business, India, Cecilia Ekholm, net-zero carbon, MSMEs, UNFCCC, EU, Free Trade Agreements, FTA, Sweden, economies, climate, low-carbon While large corporations and megacities need to take the lead, rural and small economies and entrepreneurs are equally crucial for a nation to achieve its climate targets. While addressing privacy issues, corporations must bridge the data gaps to catalyse the transition and gain a competitive advantage. “Sustainability is also about building resilient communities and inclusion, where digitalisation, which can facilitate holistic and integrated approaches, will play a significant role,” she said. The participants, comprising representatives from industry, academia, and civil society, emphasised the pressing need to improve the investment climate for medium and smaller enterprises securing green finance to propel their transition to sustainable business processes. Anna Lekvall, Consul General of Sweden in Mumbai, said cooperation between the two countries would enhance the transition towards sustainable businesses with increased stakeholder collaboration, including the central and state governments, research institutions, and the private sector. Collaboration and cooperation between the two countries will also support the development of new frameworks, enabling the adoption of low-carbon and decarbonisation technologies. List of participants
  1. Cecilia Ekholm, Ambassador for Sustainable Business, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sweden
  2. Anna Lekvall, Consul General of Sweden, Mumbai
  3. Siddharth Sharma, Group Chief Sustainability Officer, Tata Sons
  4. Raghav Narsalay, Managing Director, Accenture Research
  5. Arun Raste, Managing Director & CEO, National Commodities Exchange (NCDEX)
  6. Dr Sameer Unhale, Mission Director, Swachh Bharat, Government of Maharashtra
  7. Dr Rohan Chinchwadkar, Professor (Finance), Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management; Associate Faculty, Desai Sethi School of Entrepreneurship; Professor In-charge, HDFC ERGO-IITB Innovation Lab, IIT Bombay
  8. Ambika Vishwanath, Founder Director, Kubernein Initiative
  9. Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, Former FoC-in-C, Western Naval Command; Distinguished Fellow, ORF
  10. Trupti Lahiri, Founder Director, Confederation of Empowerment Initiatives (CEI)
  11. Dr Pennan Chinnasamy, Professor, Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas, and Director, Rural Data Research & Analysis (RuDRA) Lab, IIT Bombay
  12. Damodar Pujari, Associate Fellow, Gateway House
  13. Smitha Hari, Senior Vice President, Sustainable Finance and ESG, Auctus ESG
  14. Jasneet Bachchal, Founder and CEO, Earthworm Sustainables
  15. Akshay Shetty, Lead, Urban Sanitation, Dasra
  16. Moderator: Jaibal Naduvath, Vice President and Senior Fellow, ORF
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