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The future of sustainability: CSR in the age of technology, part 2

June 20, 2016

Supriya Singh   

Deputy General Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility

In the first part of this blog, I discussed the importance of considering sustainability in our hyper connected world.Ā  But the big question is: what will it take businesses to rise up to the occasion?

The business sector has been steadily gaining importance in the development space. The prominence has also led to increased expectations. To me, this is not surprising, itā€™s been in the making for a long time. Consider this – in 2000, Sara Anderson and John Cavanagh found that of the 100 largest economies in the world, 51 were global corporations and only 49 were countries. According to a Skoll Foundation article, Finlandā€™s budget was about ā‚¬40 billion, 20 percent less than Nokiaā€™s annual sales in 2007. In 2012, D. Steven White, an economic analyst listed the top 175 economic institutions using GDP for nations and revenues for corporations. Not surprisingly, 63% were corporations and 37% were nations.

Drawing on my experience in Antarctica and the long stint in the development sector, I feel it will require major rethinking on part of the corporate sector to honour the expectations and responsibilities that societies have placed on them. This new approach includes:

  • Bold, relevant and candid leadership that is ready to explore, is tolerant of failures and willing to invest in the best technology to achieve results.
  • Ability to collaborate and co-create. There is a world of possibilities beyond competition.
  • Willingness to take a few steps back every now and then and listen to the silence for it is in the silent corners of the world that the services are most needed.
  • Connecting the dots. Sustainability is simple and has a pattern. We all belong to that pattern. The pattern does not belong to us.

At Tata Communications, we are contributing to the Global Goals through a focused sustainability and CSR program. Information & Communications Technology has been recognised by the UN as a ā€œmeans of implementationā€ for all the 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Therefore, by adopting a human centred approach, we are striving to create ā€˜Connected Societiesā€™ by harnessing our expertise in digital enablement and by focusing specifically in the areas of healthcare, education and employability.

I firmly believe that businesses have the potential to address the fundamental concerns of the society and improve the quality of life of the communities. Businesses give hopeā€¦ and hope is a wonderful thing!

How do you see businesses shaping sustainability efforts in the future? Let us know in the comments below.