Sustainability in the Age of Disruption

The lexicon (Collins English Dictionary) defines the word “sustainability” as the capacity to endure. In other words, it is the ability to maintain things at a certain rate or level of existence. Therefore, sustainability enables meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Obviously, this will involve programmes, initiatives and actions directed at the maintenance and preservation of a particular resource. Besides natural resources, we also need economic and other resources. As a corollary to this, we can consider the four pillars of sustainability in four distinct areas aspects, namely: Human, Social, Economic and Environmental/Ecological resources. The means of ensuring sustainability are varied. Some of these ways would include: reducing energy consumption, eating frugally, living judiciously, recycling waste, saving water, lowering the carbon footprint etc. – the list goes on. Business sustainability necessitates practicing green procurement aimed at ecological protection, increasing social inclusiveness, giving a thrust to innovation, out-of-box thinking etc.

Disruption refers to disturbance or problems which interrupt an event, activity or process. Disruption means radical change in an existing industry or market due to technological innovation or loss of resources, natural decay in factors of production and even natural changes beyond human control like rapid spread of virus or diseases. The ongoing worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has caused economic havoc across business sectors. However, it has also seen the ability of human mind and intellect to make innovation like creating anti-virus drugs very quickly and ushering in digital and other technological transformation in every area of human activity.

This was precisely the case in point that the International Vision Seminar attempted to address – identifying critical areas and resolving problems to ensure Sustainability. Champions of industry, leading academicians, thinkers and strategists, and researchers both within and outside the country, deliberated over two days to examine different areas and suggested how sustainability in its various aspects related to business, can be tackled effectively and efficiently.

Spread over multiple days including a pre-seminar workshop, the Seminar based on the theme of ‘Sustainability in the Age of Disruption’ was divided into four main segments:

(i) Human Sustainability: Human sustainability is one of the four pillars of sustainability. It is important that humans as individuals behave in a way that keeps themselves motivated in the age of disruption. There are possibilities of mental turmoil, frustrations, loneliness and a sense of disengagement either because they do not find tune with what others are doing or they feel left out in the way in which others are behaving in disruption. There are times when a team falls flat because the team members are not motivated enough or motivated differentially. In that case not only the team suffers but also the organizations. The panel deliberated upon how such issues can be handled for individuals so that they can perform optimally as a team as well as can be beneficial to the organization.

(ii) Social Sustainability: Social sustainability is the next of the four pillars of sustainability. Human beings are social animals and hence cannot live without interacting with society. In an age of disruption, society also behaves in a strange way. Society becomes oblivious of the fact, how they would function as a group and the result of this is that they are not clear as to how they should govern themselves. It is important for social behavioral experts to deliberate on the concepts of Bandura’s social learning theories and thereby un-conditioning the already conditioned mind so that the social fabric can be strengthened with diverse and innovative ways of life. This panel covered issues related to how societies would cope up with the impending situation arising out of disruption and how flexibility in a normative society is a challenge and at the same time an answer for sustainability.

(iii) Economic Sustainability: The third pillar of sustainability is economic sustainability. In the world of disruption, there is no certainty as to how the economic parameters will behave based on how people would react in situations of disruption. Hence the parameters of GDP, Inflation, Price-Index, and Purchasing Power may fluctuate during this time and not behave in the way in which they would normally do. The panel deliberated upon how organizations can face up to the challenges of fluctuating economic parameters and thereby be sustainable in a disruptive economic environment.

(iv) Environmental Sustainability: The fourth pillar of sustainability is environmental sustainability. Environment is a very important component of human existence though humans seldom realize its importance. In the era of disruption, it is extremely essential to be sensitive to the environment and be conscious of the fact what the environment wants of humans rather than the other way round. It is important in disruption to create ecological balance in earth without derogatory effects on environment. The panel deliberated on how environmental sensibilities can be maintained and how organizations can be sensitive to the environment in the era of disruption.

PRE-SEMINAR WORKSHOP

Welcome Address: Prof. R.C. Bhattacharya, Vice Chairman, Globsyn Business School, India
Keynote Speaker & Chief Guest: Dr. H. P. Kanoria, Chairman, SREI, India
Guest of Honour: Dr. Upinder Dhar, Vice Chancellor, Shri Vaishnav Vidyapeeth Vishwavidyalaya (Indore), India

Workshop: “Role of Ethics and Spirituality in Business Sustainability in the Age of Disruption”
Workshop Leader: Mr. Arun Mathur, Founder Director, UltimQuest Knowledge Inc., Canada
Moderator: Prof. Kaushik Ghosh, Globsyn Business School, India
Vote of Thanks: Dr. Debaprasad Chattopadhyay, Faculty & Convener, Globsyn Business School, India

INTERNATIONAL VISION SEMINAR 2021

Inauguration
Welcome Address: Dr. Subir Sen, Principal, Globsyn Business School, India
Inaugural Address: Dr. Damodar Acharya, Ex-Chairman, AICTE
Special Address: Prof. R.C. Bhattacharya, Vice Chairman, Globsyn Business School, India
Chief Guest Address: Dr. (Mrs.) Pankaj Mittal, Secretary General, Association of Indian Universities (AIU), India
Guest in Chief: Mr. Arjun Malhotra, Chairman Advisory Board, Accolite, USA
Guest of Honour: Dr. Mahendhiran Nair, Pro-VC, Sunway University, Malaysia
Distinguished Guest: Dr. Geoff Perry, Executive VP, AACSB
Vote of Thanks: Prof. Rohit Srivastava, Dean (Administration), Globsyn Business School, India

Panel I: Human Sustainability
Session Chair: Mr. Sujoy Banerjee, Group Chief People Officer & Head – Marketing, Gainwell Commosales Private Limited, India

Panelists:

  • Mr. Subir Chaki, MD, Killburn Engineering, India
  • Dr. Rajeshwari Narendran, Professor and Trainer, IIMU & MLSU
  • Dr. Rupali Basu, MD and CEO, Woodlands

Session Moderator: Prof. Manas Chakravarty, Faculty, Globsyn Business School, India

Panel II: Social Sustainability
Session Chair: Mr. Jawhar Sircar, Former CEO, Prashar Bharati, India

Panelists:

  • Dr. Sanjaya Gaur, Clinical Professor of Marketing at the NYU School of Professional Studies & Researcher of Social Identities, New York, US
  • Dr. Aditi Mitra, Senior Lecturer, Sunway University, Malaysia and ex-Research Manager, Nielson, Malaysia
  • Mr. Somesh Dasgupta, Group President, India Power Corporation Limited & Chairman, Energy & Power Committee of ASSOCHAM, Regional Council

Session Moderator: Dr. Subir Sen, Principal, Globsyn Business School, India

Panel III: Economic Sustainability
Session Chair: Swami Narasimhananda, Monk, Ram Krishna Mission and Member, International, Interdisciplinary and Interreligious Research Group on Consciousness Studies, UNESCO

Panelists:

  • Dr. Debaprasanna Nandy, Sr. Director, ICAI
  • Dr. Premkumar Rajagopal, President, MUST, Malaysia
  • Ms. Babita Baruah, Global GTB Head – Ford, India

Session Moderator: Dr. Tanusree Chakraborty, Faculty, Globsyn Business School, India

Panel IV: Environmental Sustainability
Session Chair: Dr. Vinitha Guptan, Vice Chancellor, Saito University College, Malaysia

Panelists:

  • Dr. Aniruddha Mukhopadhayay, Professor and Post Doctorate Environmental Researcher, Calcutta University, India
  • Dr. Sanjoy Mukherjee, Professor of Sustainability, IIM Shillong, India
  • Mr. TVS Shenoy, Chief, New Materials Business, Tata Steel, India

Session Moderator: Dr. Debraj Datta, Faculty, Globsyn Business School, India

Valedictory Session
Valedictory Address: Dr. D.C. Jain, Co-President and Global Advisor of China Europe International Business School
Conclusion & Vote of Thanks: Dr. Sabyasachi Dasgupta, Convener, International Vision Seminar 2021, Globsyn Business School, India

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