The business of environment

green energy.jpg
Green Energy. Credit: Christian Reimer/flickr.com

The 19th World Congress on Environment Management took place in Hyderabad recently. The theme of this year’s gathering was ‘Managing Environment & Climate Change: Transitioning to a Sustainable Economy’. Norway was invited to attend the Congress, represented by Ambassador Nils Ragnar Kamsvåg.

“It is easy to be pessimistic when faced with the challenges of a changing climate, however, my message is basically of optimism”, said Ambassador Kamsvåg in his opening remarks. “I think that for the climate of the planet, 2016 was all in all a year of great progress - for the political, the technological and the economic aspects”, he noted.

The World Congress, organized by the Institute of Directors (IOD), is an association of around 31,000 senior executives representing prominent organizations from the private, public and government sectors across the country. It aims at transforming the corporate psyche by demonstrating how global or national ethical, responsible, transparent and equitable agendas can become a competitive advantage. 

Echoing the theme of the Congress, Ambassador Kamsvåg stressed the balance between economic development and the environment and called for science to point the way towards more informed and integrated decision-making. In the 21st century, the goal must be a ‘green economy’ that can generate economic growth and improvements in people’s lives without harming the environment. 

As the global population grows from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2040 and with the emergence of three billion new middle-class consumers over the next 20 years, the demand for resources will rise dramatically. By 2030, the world will need at least 50 per cent more food, 45 per cent more energy, and 30 per cent more water – all at a time when environmental thresholds are throwing up new limits to supply. “If we continue business as usual, our collective actions will lead to irreversible damage to both ecosystems and humans”, Kamsvåg stressed. 

Significant global political developments in the environment arena in the last two years were also highlighted. The Paris Agreement, new climate agreements for shipping and aviation, the Kigali agreement to phase out HFC (Hydrofluoro carbon) gases, and, not the least, announcement of one of the biggest climate measures in the world by Indonesia – the banning of the destruction of peat bogs in the country – are some examples of increasing global efforts towards the cause of the environment. 

Technological developments in Norway and other parts of the world towards addressing climate change, for example, solar and wind power for clean energy, energy efficient LEDs, electric cars, ferries and cargo ships are growing quickly. Efforts in this field by India should also be applauded, especially given the large number of people who will benefit from India’s clean energy initiatives. 

Read Ambassador Kamsvåg’s full speech here