HTLS 2023: How sustainability has become imperative for businesses?

The increasingly deteriorating air quality has underscored the need for sustainability. For businesses too, sustainability has become imperative.

Priya Agarwal Hebbar, Nishant Arya, and Abhyuday Jindal In Conversation with Ravi Krishnan, Editor-in-Chief, Mint.
Priya Agarwal Hebbar, Nishant Arya, and Abhyuday Jindal In Conversation with Ravi Krishnan, Editor-in-Chief, Mint.

Priya Agarwal Hebbar, chairperson of Hindustan Zinc & non-executive director, Vedanta Limited, Nishant Arya, vice-chairman, JBM Group, Abhyuday Jindal, Managing Director, Jindal Stainless decoded sustainability in an interaction with Ravi Krishnan, Editor-in-Chief, Mint, at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2023 on Saturday.

‘Sustainability should be at core of what everything we do’

Priya Agarwal Hebbar, the chairperson of Hindustan Zinc, lauded India for its stand on ensuring to become net zero carbon by 2070.

“India has taken the stand that the second largest railway network line that we have in India will be net zero carbon by 2030. These are really pressing facts our country has taken. We have to ensure that whatever business we do, we have to ensure to comply with this. Sustainability has to be at the core of what everything we do. The young generation is taking this stand”, Hebar said.

Hebar said the mining sector can be sustainable if the right technology is used. “Mining as a sector has always been given a bad name. What we forget everything in our modern day life is above the earth. Unfortunately we have stepped away and distanced ourselves from the mining industry. Mining is the root of everything we do. When we talk about energy transition, we talk about 2070 net zero, we need 3 billion tonnes of metal to make that happen”, she said.

“Do we want to spend all of money in import or do we do it ourselves. India is a country rich with natural resources. We have 85 natural resources, less than 20 per cent of what has been explored”, she added.

‘Israel follows Fail Fast, Fail Cheap approach’

Nishant Arya, vice-chairman, JBM Group, cited Israel to say best technology that is most apt for you today is what works. “Most of the countries would say that a company which has failed in the past is a taboo, i.e they are untouchables. But Israel has a motto which they call ‘fail fast, fail cheap’. If you to fail, then fail fast and cheap and do something else. 70 per cent of the fundings which VCs do, go to companies that failed in the past”, Arya said, citing such companies’ focus on succeeding and getting to the next paradigm is much higher than a new startup.

“That mindset to do things differently, do things which are required today is makes a country like Israel. It has no natural resources, is in a difficult spot. But it is the rigour and the kind of collaboration which they have had with different institutions”, he added.

‘Know what sustainability is’

On how he would measure the sustainability initiatives, Abhyuday Jindal, Managing Director, Jindal Stainless, said,”There are various government and international agencies that are coming to help you with reporting. One way is to know what sustainability is. We are studying UN sustainable development goals”.

“It is a very good yardstick to measure where are you at and where you want to go. It not only talks about environment, but also about CSR, HR practices, diversity. These are the things we really need to look at while defining our internal targets and ensure that we are approaching the right way in a sustainable manner”, he added.

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