Event: Sustainability in India

Old Delhi

It doesn’t happen often that events are organized which specifically focus on sustainability & business in an Asian country. Some will focus on a specific area, such as business opportunities in wind energy or similar but tackling the wider topic is (admittedly) difficult.

So I was happy to come across a seminar yesterday, which was organized by the Netherlands-India Chamber of Commerce and Trade, on sustainability in India. I attended an evening on a similar topic focusing on China a few weeks ago and was looking forward to a more business-oriented approach to the topic that this India-event seemed to promise.

As in many other Asian countries, India is faced with a range of sustainability challenges which are connected to population growth, urbanization, the need for increasing access to clean water and electricity, to name a few. I had hoped that the event yesterday would be able to give a comprehensive overview of these issues – and what opportunities this can offer for Dutch entrepreneurs. It tried to do this, but mostly remained focused on the renewable energy challenge in India with speakers from PwC India and TERI Europe. An important topic, and one that has a lot of potential – especially when you consider the social multiplier effect of enabling more people to connect to the electricity grid in India: indirectly, this opens up more opportunities for healthcare, education etc all because people have access to better appliances, light etc. Renewables such as wind energy and solar power can play a very important part to enable this access. Growth numbers also indicate this opportunity, with 17% annual growth for renewable energy in India.

This potential was highlighted by the other two speakers from TERI Europe and from Start Green Venture Capital, who also mentioned shortly the need for water technology (advisory) services. However, the presentations remained quite exclusively focused on wind energy, and a little on other sources of renewables. No doubt that this is an important topic, though I had hoped for a little more perspective on the wider topic of sustainability and sustainable business.

Nevertheless, a good way to get a little more insight into opportunities in a country which I only know a little (and of that, my knowledge mostly extends to the maritime and creative industries). The afternoon gathered together an interesting mix of people, coming from various backgrounds. That – and the great food! – combined to make for a good afternoon.

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