IIT Bombay is set to host its Annual Corporate Social Responsibility Conclave this year on July 6th, 2022. The CSR Conclave, Tech for Sustainable Development will provide insights on several pioneering projects that the Institute is undertaking to address wide-ranging national and global challenges.
Mr. Ravishankar Gedela is the CEO of the IIT Bombay Development and Relations Foundation (IITBDRF). In an exclusive interaction with The CSR Journal, he gives us an overview of IIT Bombay’s annual CSR Conclave. He is joined by Prof. Ravi Gudi, the Dean of Alumni and Corporate Relations (Dean ACR) at IIT Bombay who gives us an overview of some of the panel discussions to be held during the conclave and the overall growth of CSR in the country.
1. What is IIT Bombay’s goal or objective in conducting the ‘Tech for Sustainable Development’ – IIT Bombay’s Annual CSR Conclave 2022?
Mr. Gedela: IIT Bombay, an “Institute of Eminence” and a leading global technology institute, is at the forefront of developing cutting-edge technologies that benefit our society and the world around us. We enroll some of the brightest students from across the country and train their innovative, brilliant, and ambitious minds. Much of the technology development at IIT Bombay is undertaken with the goal of solving some of the toughest social and economic challenges in the Indian context.
The purpose of the CSR conclave is to build a partnership between IIT Bombay and socially conscious corporates, exploring avenues to maximise the impact of their CSR deployment. The conclave is designed to present a dialogue on some key development challenges and how corporates can participate in addressing these challenges. The annual conclave will help build an ecosystem of industry-academia partnerships, focused on deploying science and technology to solve development challenges.
2. Who all can participate in this conclave and what will be their takeaway?
Mr. Gedela: CSR leadership teams including members of CSR Boards would benefit immensely from participating in the conclave. Entities involved in advising companies on their CSR strategies and implementation should also participate in the conclave. Their key takeaway would be understanding the role science and technology are playing in the development sector and discovering ways in which they can make CSR more impactful.
3. There are different panel discussions planned during the conclave, can you provide some insight into the panel discussions on Climate Studies and Circular Economy.
Prof. Gudi: The panel discussion on Climate Studies will showcase the research being carried out in centres such as Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas (CTARA) and Inter-Disciplinary Program on Climate Sciences (IDP) at the Institute. The panel discussion will focus primarily on the various factors that lead to climate change, and how policy changes, technology interventions, and other creative solutions are essential to mitigate the adverse effects of the same. The panel discussion will showcase some of the key research being carried out by the department including changing rainfall patterns, the impact of CO2 on our environment, global warming, understanding agriculture-related patterns, the quality of water, and more. The panel will also discuss how the balance of all five elements in nature is crucial to sustainability.
A significant part of our world’s economy is linear where human beings take from nature’s abundance, use what they need to create products, and once the products are consumed, the remainder is discarded as waste into the environment, resulting in pollution. The rapid depletion of nature’s resources has forced us to look at our economy in a non-linear, circular manner. The goal of a circular economy is to design industrial practices to be cleaner, prevent waste and transform the traditionally known waste into value. For example, with a linear economy, the industry uses nature’s capital such as water, new materials, etc., linearly, and this results in a massive build-up of waste. We use coal to produce energy linearly, but it spews out a huge amount of carbon dioxide at a rate that cannot be fixed, thereby polluting the environment. But a circular economy ensures through design that there is no waste in our industrial practices. Instead, the traditionally understood notion of waste is part of the life cycle and thereby does not contaminate the environment. These interventions lead to sustainability and development. A circular economy ensures that industrial practices can be more development-oriented, even as it preserves nature’s ability to nurture mankind.
4. What role do you see of IIT Bombay in fueling CSR growth and development in the country?
Prof. Gudi: IIT Bombay has undertaken cutting-edge research and furthered state-of-the-art facilities in science and technology over the last four and a half decades. Some of the best intellectual minds at the Institute – whether they are faculty, students, or researchers – work tirelessly to translate their research goals successfully into creating a tangible societal impact. There are various academic forays where CSR funding can be used to promote academic research at IIT Bombay, which, in turn, can lead to the economic and social development of our nation.