Development is a holistic positive change, but to achieve that state several other factors should also be kept in mind. When we look at development from a 2D perspective, we form biases for some stakeholders. Like, when we see development from a community and society’s point of view, we develop a notion that business and industries are exploiting natural and human resources, and are responsible for all the fiasco. We tend to demand that they should either balance or give back more than what they have used, but we forget that who and what situations have helped these businesses grow large. The ever-growing needs of the society have encouraged the rise of new companies, the businesses leverage this and fulfils their goals by satisfying the needs.
It is believed that a new commodity can’t be produced without damaging the ecology. The business can only ensure that they cause minimum harm to nature and society and if possible support in the retrieval of nature. It isn’t fair to assume that the business is also liable to support the development of other parts of the society that they haven’t even interacted with. No one would deny that the businesses have also contributed to the development of the country. For instance, since the early 19th century since the Tata group has focused on ensuring holistic development of its employees and also contributed to the growth of different sections/societies..
The recent announcement of CSR policy has opened spheres for the business to explore the impact areas that resonate with business ideology and connect with them emotionally and intellectually. Also, the CSR policy has given a direction to the small companies, who weren’t directly contributing to the development of the society, to interact with the social causes and bring change in their practices. CSR policy has increased the growth of the society significantly, with the funds flowing from different corporates in the development sector. Organizations working in the social sector can leverage it and work efficiently to meet the goals. But it is essential to understand that CSR funds are dynamic which depends on the corporate’s annual profit which may change yearly depending on the consumer behaviour, so one must not depend on CSR alone for the funds.
The current structure of CSR policy also has some demerits, as the report-based evaluation of a company’s CSR policy restricts the sectors in development. To follow the norms of reporting one has to propose the company’s CSR policy in a way so that it can show some tangible results which could be quantified. This restrains their initiatives to certain sectors, and the areas which could not be quantified remain untouched, like women empowerment. It is easy to report the construction of 100 schools in different districts than reporting the empowerment of women in the same district.
Investors have also started acting rationally considering the demand for sustainable development goals. They have begun evaluating businesses by ESG (Environment, Society, and Governance) to safeguard their money. Now, willingly or unwillingly, the corporates are forced to bring several changes in their practices to meet the SDGs. This small change in the practices have already started showing effects, and the corporates have begun exploring alternative resources and technologies, like the use of renewable energy. Change in the design of many products to recycle the maximum parts has also come into the picture.
Education plays an essential role in the growth of the countries economy. It helps us analyse the roadblocks and the actual reason behind a cause that slows the growth of the country. Through education, one can find a middle ground for both the industries and the society to settle on and to find the alternate means to ensure mutual development.
We have been using resources at a breakneck rate that the Earth Overshoot Day of this year has already passed. Even practices like agriculture are detrimental to the environment. Through Education, we can explore alternate means by which we can improve the existing methods and move in the direction of achieving Sustainable goals.
One primary part that education plays is “consumer awareness”, it makes a consumer analyse his needs and respond accordingly. It also ensures the maximum utilisation of a resource and controlled the production of goods which indirectly supports consumer’s healthy interaction with nature.
According to me, sustainable development can only be achieved when Environment vs Development becomes Environment & Development.