|March 24, 2017||The CSR Journal|
The first bilateral forum to address sustainability issues at the trade and investment between India and Netherlands was launched in New Delhi on Wednesday. It aimed to help Indian businesses in a big way as growing demands and regulations of sustainable practices in international trade aligned with SDGs, are affecting many Indian businesses having trade ties with the European markets.
To facilitate this forum, the Dutch embassy in India and Ministry of Foreign affairs of Netherlands have join hands with the Centre for Responsible business (CRB), a centre of excellence, working towards sustainability and responsible businesses in India.
Emphasising the need of such forums, Ambassador of Netherlands to India, Alphonsus Stoelinga said, “The requirements are many and the reasons include the implementation of clean and responsible business practices in India as global value chain of many businesses ends up here. Further providing huge revenues to Indian businesses and employment to millions of Indians. This should grow further and Netherlands has a clear responsibility for achieving inclusive and sustainable supply chains.” He also underlined the potential of Indian market which is huge and growing at an unprecedented pace.
He expressed hopes that CRB will facilitate the knowledge sharing, tools and standards of sustainability which will help businesses in both the countries. Stoelinga said, “Businesses should look at the sustainable practices as the driver and not the obstacle as it helps businesses grow in the long run.”
Arun Asthana, Executive Director of CRB, while elaborating upon the objectives and agenda of the Indus Forum, mentioned it as a very meaningful and much required journey. He said, “A cleaner business is not only good for the environment and community but for the businesses itself. Because the way of doing business and consumer awareness is changing these days and consumers are being more aware towards the global concerns of environment and social wellbeing. Being a responsible brand will help businesses grow more in such a world.”
During the discussions on the way forward, Arindom Dutta, Asia Head of Rabobank mentioned the compliances and regulatory needs of sustainable businesses in India. He warned that in near future the businesses could find it difficult to get funds as financial institutions and investors have started looking closely at the sustainability elements of the ventures and borrowers. Amit Ganguly from Genpact emphasised the need of knowledge repository and data bank for businesses to implement sustainable practices. CRB announced that it will launch a digital platform to address such issues. This platform will de-jargonise the whole subject of sustainability and provide access to knowledge, tools and updates from all over the world using its knowledge network spread across the continents. For a wider uptake and facilitate Indian MSME sector, CRB will also pool and provide in syndicated manner, inaccessible or expensive tools and processes to make businesses sustainable.
Netherlands is among the five largest trading partners of India. More than 225 Dutch companies have operations in India while close to 200 Indian companies are operating in Netherlands. Representatives of more than 50 companies and organisations from Netherlands and India attended this conclave. This included Wipro, Tata Steels, Shell, Rabobank International, Genpact, Philips, Mars Food, Quavac, Novozymes, Godrej, Jindal Steels, Rural Spark Energy, Arcadis, Green insights, Solidaridad, ICCO, Quality Council of India, Fairwear Foundation, WWF, UNICEF, EU Delegtion to India, Belgian and Spanish Embassies.
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