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Now that ‘sustainability’ has become the world’s favourite buzzword, and companies everywhere are jumping on the bandwagon to promote their products, it becomes imperative to investigate every such claim

Sustainability is not the result of an individual entity’s action. It can only be the aggregated outcome of societal action, where the ultimate goal is to raise the collective living standard, and not just enhancing business profitability.

“We are seeing the final triumph of capitalism followed by its exit off the world stage and the entrance of the collaborative commons.”  Said Jeremy Rifkin, author and political adviser.

The time has come for every corporate organisation to take a good long look at its business practices. Some may need to sacrifice apparent profitability. Expect some resistance in this matter.

We know about compromise. We’re practically professionals in the art. In the immediate wake of a disaster, safety standards are trumpeted about, raised in response, and then forgotten, because we allow them to be forgotten. Rinse and repeat. Does anyone really bother?

Governments are passive regarding climate change; they don’t act, they react. Am I a red-faced, screaming socialist? Before stamping a label on me, think: Three Mile Island, 1979. Chernobyl, 1986. Fukushima, 2011. Bhopal, 1984. Right at the heart of India, and we’re still making nuclear reactors, because even if it poisons generations it’s still clean energy.

I think sustainability needs to come from within. Sustainability truly means the intention to manufacture products that upgrade the living standard of the human race through processes that do not damage the environment – and to be careful that the life-cycle of my product does not beget another new challenge to the world (hello, plastic), be it related to handling safety or final stage disposal.

What are you really handing over to GenZ – the key to true sustainability, or the perhaps-impossible job of cleaning up your mess?

PK Chatterjee (PK) is a veteran Indian B2B journalist, now connected to a number of Indian print and web-based publications. He also contributes to Indian literature. Find him on LinkedIn.

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