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Sustainability in 2014

Peep at how sustainability progressed in 2014

Climate Change is real but WE cannot get together to challenge Data kept pouring in and 2014 witnessed many climate events that reaffirmed that change in climate is real and is happening faster than anticipated. But the possibility of arriving at an effective climate deal at Paris 2015 seems more difficult at the close of 2014 than it was at the beginning.


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Sustainable development is still seen as “good to do” “when winds are right”

At the economic head winds turned southward in 2007, some envisioned efforts to mitigate climate change and address other environmental and social challenges in the challenging scenario could be a way of building resilience. Whether the bottoming out has occurred or not is still being debated, integrating sustainability and sustainable development in solution has definitely been given a miss, though some forums did mention sustainability in the solution. Imperatives to address the challenge of sustainable development are still seen to retard economic growth.


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Growing consumers and Consumption patterns are emerging as a major challenge

Growing consumers in emerging countries like China and India, and evolution of not so desirable consumption patterns, is another challenge for sustainability. Efforts by some businesses in product stewardship and closing the material loop, is welcome in the direction, but new middle classes are behaving in counter purpose to these efforts.


The Rise of Consumerism

The Rise of Consumerism


Gender inequality is exposed

Repeated instances of gender related offenses have come to light across the globe. Assertive civil society pointed out lack of gender equality in the work force. Business began to address work place sexual harassment and other issues related to gender inequality and, in general, improving diversity.


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Transparency continues to limp

With increased spread of internet and activism, need for transparency has increased. It is either you “disclose” now or it will be “open” to all tomorrow. Though it is realized and need for transparency is mentioned more often, businesses, and in general many institutions, are hesitant to be transparent.


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Stakeholder Engagement continues!?

Stakeholder engagement, like sustainable development does get mentioned and written often, but business continues to consider it as “not practical”, “hindrance”, “raises expectations” etc. Even those, who engage do not make right efforts and follow creative processes and hence receive little participation or engagement.


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Supply Chain Risks are realized and addressed

Social media and its spread has increased visibility of value chain of products and services. Increasing focus on managing supply chain risks was seen in 2014, as more and more supply chain violations came to light. However, responsible supply chain management is limited to compliance with “regulations” and in some cases disclosure standards”. Only in very limited cases, it has grown to collaboration or co creation.


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Sustainability Reporting “grows”; but “continues”

There has been a commendable improvement in the number of sustainability reports published; howsoever the reporting activity has been majorly a green washing measure and not integration of sustainability paradigm in strategy and operations. The scope of the activities needs to improve not just in words but also in actions.


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