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Addressing the 15th National Convention of Global Compact Network (GCN) India, ONGC CMD Shashi Shanker – who is also the President of GCNI – showcased India’s progress in the sustainable development front. Mr Shanker cited the nation’s narrative “Satat Bharat – Sanatan Bharat” to highlight the India’s commitment towards sustainable future. He noted that economic growth of any nation requires various forms of energy, which should be accessible, affordable and clean.

“The country’s climate action strategies emphasize clean and efficient energy systems, a resilient urban infrastructure and a planned eco-restoration among others.  Today India occupies fifth position in overall installed renewable energy capacity,” said Mr Shanker.

ONGC CMD & President GCNI Shashi Shanker at the inaugural session of Global Compact 15th National Convention
ONGC CMD & President GCNI Shashi Shanker at the inaugural session of Global Compact 15th National Convention

Held for the first time through virtual medium, the two-day National Convention of GCNI formally inaugurated on 4 February 2021, with this year’s theme being – “Raising the SDG Ambition-Pathways for Sustainable Recovery and Growth”. The inaugural session included deliberations from industry leaders like CEO & Executive Director of UNGC New York Sanda Ojiambo, Senior Advisor of UNGC Dr Uddesh Kohli, Chair & Convener of GCNI 15th NC and Director (HR) IOCL Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra, Managing Director, Growth & Strategy – Sustainability Accenture Vishvesh Prabhakar, Secretary Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD), Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Sudhanshu Pandey, CMD Nestle India Limited Suresh Narayanan and Officiating Executive Director GCNI Shabnam Siddiqui.

Being the President of GCNI, CMD Mr Shanker called for the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders as the country navigates through the unprecedented and changing times of crisis. As the President of GCNI, CMD Mr Shanker exhorted participants of the national convention to transform the two-day convention into a global stage, where stakeholders and leaders will meaningfully engage and contribute in the plight of achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for people, planet, progress and peace.

CMD stated that the GCNI National Convention, at time when the world is strategizing ways to recover from the pandemic crisis, can be leveraged as an opportunity for everyone. As the world recovers from COVID-19, we are trying to return to a new “normal”. On our way to this normalcy, we have been offered an opportunity to reflect on our actions and consider how we can be more resilient to such shocks.  While responding to the current crisis, we should not lose sight of how actions and investments today, could potentially address other crises, including the climate crisis. So any sustainable recovery from the devastation of COVID-19 must be built on a global foundation of climate resilience.

Energy should be accessible, affordable & clean: CMD at Global Compact National Convention

“As the world recovers from COVID-19, we are trying to return to a new “normal”. On our way to this normalcy, we have been offered an opportunity to reflect on our actions and consider how we can be more resilient to such shocks.  While responding to the current crisis, we should not lose sight of how actions and investments today, could potentially address other crises, including the climate crisis. So any sustainable recovery from the devastation of COVID-19 must be built on a global foundation of climate resilience,” said Mr Shanker.

Emphasizing on the role of GCNI, since its foundation in 2003, Mr Shanker noted that the organization has spread the message of the United Nations Global Compact to Corporate India and has created a platform that offers a bouquet of services to its members to facilitate better understanding and imbibing the Ten Principles of SDGs into their work culture and corporate governance structures.

“GCNI is the only agency in India driving all 17 SDGs chartered by the United Nations. In the past few months, GCNI has taken to the online platform and worked tirelessly towards achieving the SDGs as we inch closer to the set target of 2030,” he added.

Mr Shanker further cited UN Secretary General Mr Antonio Guterres’ recent statement to emphasize that now is the time to secure the well-being of people, economies, societies and the planet. He quoted Mr Guterres to state that “2020 brought us tragedy and peril; 2021 must be a year to put the world back on track. We need to move from death to health from disaster to reconstruction; from despair to hope; from business as usual, to transformation”.

On ONGC’s efforts towards sustainable growth, Mr Shanker said that over the last five years, the Energy Mahartna has reduced its carbon emission intensity (that is, tonnes of Carbon Di-oxide emitted per barrel of oil produced) by more than 12%.

“At the same time, we are engaged in continuous afforestation at several environmentally fragile areas like Himalayas and Kuchh. Our contribution in CSR is one of the highest among the Indian corporates. We stand committed to the Paris Agreement, the UN SDGs. We also pursue several goal oriented initiatives on sustainability front like Clean Development Mechanism, Global Methane Initiative, Green House Gas Accounting, Green Buildings, Paperless office, energy conservation, emission mitigation and sustainable water management,” said Mr Shanker.

Mr Shanker also lauded the ingenuity demonstrated by the nation’s scientists and medical fraternity in the invention of the COVID-19 vaccines. “As a result, we are not only “self-reliant”, but also helping many other countries at this time of their crisis,” he noted.

During the inaugural session, a video message sent by CEO & Executive Directorof UNGC New York Sanda Ojiambo was also played. In her message, Ms Ojiambo stressed on plans to be strategized for sustaible growth across the globe. Ms Ojiambo noted that the 10 principals of the UN Global Compact is an integration of several key issues like climate change, poverty, sustainable development, etc. She stated that business as usual will not work on its own unless we accelerate with innovative ideas.

Energy should be accessible, affordable & clean: CMD at Global Compact National Convention

Delivering the keynote address, CMD Nestle India Limited Suresh Narayanan said that the need of the hour amidst the crisis is to focus on economic growth, sustainable business, poverty elimination, etc. while concurrently tackling climate change. He asserted that while the pandemic has caused major social and business disruptions, the relevance of SDGs will remain for all across the world, in the quest of building a sustainable future.

CMD Nestle India Limited Suresh Narayanan delivering keynote address
CMD Nestle India Limited Suresh Narayanan delivering keynote address

Mr Narayanan said that the task and mission to implement SDGs will be challenging but achievable if all stakeholders join hands in extreme circumstances. He noted that the role of the private sector in implementation of SDGs circle mostly in 5 areas, which he named the 5 C’s – Convergence, Coordination, Community, Climate and Consumption.

Chair & Convener of GCNI 15th NC and Director (HR) IOCL Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra exhorted all to look forward to a new beginning with hope. Mr Mohapatra noted that its still an enormous challenge to achieve the UN Climate Change goals; however, he said, “It is now the time to leverage the power of technology and social resilience to achieve sustainable growth.”

Chair & Convener of GCNI 15th NC and Director (HR) IOCL Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra delivering inaugural address
Chair & Convener of GCNI 15th NC and Director (HR) IOCL Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra delivering inaugural address

Mr Mohapatra said that the focus should be on transforming well-thought-out plans to tangible benefit. “Our aim should be to understand the impact of COVID-19 and align it with innovative solutions to handle further business disruptions. Together we need to brainstorm ideas and convention like this provide perfect platform towards the cause,” he added.

Delivering the inaugural address, Secretary Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD), Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Sudhanshu Pandey said that all countries should revist their strategies in order to achieve the 2030 targets. Speaking on the government’s efforts towards handling the crisis, he cited how all logistics like air, navy, railways, etc. were used at the time of the pandemic to ensure that food reach every corner of the country.

Secretary Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD), Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Sudhanshu Pandey
Secretary Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD),
Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Sudhanshu Pandey

Mr Pandey further mentioned that during the disruptions the government disbursed over Rs 2.25 lakh crore money, online, to the farmers; displaying the dgital advancement of the country. On the climate front, he asserted that the priority of the government is to promote clean energy. He noted that while in 2013-14, less than 1% ethanol blending was done, last year India met 8.5 % of ethanol blending and is targeting to reach 20% by 2025.

Managing Director, Growth & Strategy – Sustainability Accenture Vishvesh Prabhakar emphasized on the positive aspects of the pandemic and how it has brought to the fore imperatives of partnership, sustainability, etc. In a detailed presentation, he covered key issues like the humanity’s massive responsibility to limit global warming, the Paris agreement, use of natural resources to achieve 2030 targets, inequality being a chronic issue, how SDGs represent a clear roadmap, etc.

In the two-day National Convention of Global Compact Network India, held on 4-5 February 2021, over 2000 live participants from across the globe and others on social media will be enriched with deliberations from global leaders on raising SDG ambitions in a pathway to sustainable recovery and growth.



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