The new Companies Bill 2012 – How does it impact you?

The Companies Act of 1956 will now be replaced by the Companies Bill of 2012, which can also be called The Companies Act 2012. Only the President’s assent is pending for this bill, been pending since 2011 to become a reality. The 309 page document tries to clear a lot of conflict points present in the Companies Act 1956 that have been a pain for companies over time and a reason for a lot of legal cases. So how does it impact corporate India & in general, You? Of particular interest to us is how this Bill/Act will address issues of Governance, Responsibility, Transparency, Diversity, Community and Sustainability. Let me try to dissect a few key changes that this bill aims to bring out in the above areas. This might be a longish post so please pardon me for the lack of brevity. 1. CSR being made close to Mandatory Yes, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is not mandatory but the new bill will make sure that companies have to work really …

Why should you embrace Sustainability – Part 2 of 2

This blog post is a continuation from the post I had made previously here where I spoke about how the language of Sustainability is changing. In this post, I focus on some cases where Sustainable practices followed by companies are putting them in good stead while in some cases, how lack of sustainability thinking and planning has risked their revenues and reputation. First, we start with some positive stories. CEMEX – The Patrimonio Hoy Program So when you are a giant construction materials group with over $15 billion in revenues, but seeing a 50% drop in revenues, what do you do? Cemex went back to basics, understood that there is a large market at the bottom of the pyramid in poor people constructing their own homes, and decided to work this market. Integrating sustainability into their core business model, Cemex started a financing program called Patrimonio Hoy. It provided poor people access to building materials (not just cement), financing options to purchase material and technical help through CEMEX team comprising …

Safeguarding Biodiversity – The Conference of Parties on Biodiversity, Hyderabad, 2012

Today, the CoP on Biodiversity Convention of 2012 starts in Hyderabad. To last till 19th October 2012, the CoP is going to be one of the largest activities in the world to safeguard and promote bio-diversity. The World at Risk! Life on Earth can be as simple as a fly, or as complex as an ecosystem of coral reefs. The most unique feature of Earth is the existence of life, and the most extraordinary feature of life is its diversity. Tragically, today biodiversity is disappearing at 1,000 times the normal rate due to human civilization. As human population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, the biodiversity crisis will only get worse as more people consume more resources. When one species disappears, it imbalances the food chain, which may cause some critters to over populate while others starve – the loss of one can impact many. The major causes of biodiversity decline are Habitat loss and destruction, Global climate change, Invasive alien species, Over-exploitation, Pollution and contamination. Even our …

Four Concepts For The Future That Could Create A More Sustainable World

Source: Fast Co-Exist Earlier this year, Sony teamed up with the Forum of the Future to brainstorm four scenarios of what life will be like in 2025. Among them: a treadmill of “hyperinnovation” and declining carbon emissions; a scenario of damaging climate change and reactive technologies (like solar paint); a scenario where sustainability and strong community ties are emphasized; and a world where the sharing economy has taken off on a global scale. Now Sony and a handful of partners have come up with four concepts–a platform, a product, a place, and a philosophy–that could exist within and take advantage of these visions of the future 15 years from now. THE INTERNET OF THINGS ACADEMY In the future, it’s possible that nearly everything will have an IP address–your clothes, your plants, and your refrigerator will all freely send and receive data. The proposed Internet of Things Academy will teach people to use the hardware and software behind this connected world, allowing them to do everything from creating experimental economic models to public health …

Time For Outrage On Behalf of the Planet

Source: Common Dreams It’s Time to Fight the Status Quo by Bill McKibben My solution is: get outraged. Having written the first book about global warming 23 long years ago, I’ve watched the issue unfold across decades, continents, and ideologies. I’ve come to earth summits and conferences of the parties from Rio to Kyoto to Copenhagen, and many places in between. All along, two things have been clear. One, the scientists who warned us about climate change were absolutely correct—their only mistake, common among scientists, was in being too conservative. So far we’ve raised the temperature of the earth about one degree Celsius, and two decades ago it was hard to believe this would be enough to cause huge damage. But it was. We’ve clearly come out of the Holocene and into something else. Forty percent of the summer sea ice in the Arctic is gone; the ocean is 30 percent more acidic. There’s nothing theoretical about any of this any more. Since warm air holds more water vapor than cold, the atmosphere …

States with natural resources more economically sustainable: IFMR Study

Source: Business Standard States with abundant natural resources and less economic activity are environmentally most sustainable in India, while it is just the opposite in the case of those with high intensity of economic activities, according to the Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR) here. The Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI) for Indian States 2011, a study by the Centre for Development Finance under the 1970-founded IFMR, notes that the index for two years — 2009 and 2011 — shared this common characteristic. As per ESI 2010, the states that are most sustainable, which lie in the top 20 percentile, are largely Himalayan. These include Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim besides Himachal Pradesh. On the other hand, the least sustainable states (in the bottom 20 percentile) are Bihar, Haryana, Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.   Even as the states with rich natural resources, like forests, are in the top category of sustainability, states that are rich in other resources like minerals, such as Chhattisgarh and Odisha, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh …

India to pump in Rs 2 lakh cr in 12th Plan to save climate

Source: Economic Times The fight against climate change will take a strategic jump in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-2017) with the government intending to plough in almost Rs 2 lakh crore through the various missions, the working group on climate of the 12th Five-Year Plan has said. The report seeks setting up of a dedicated structure of governance to oversee the different programmes under the 12th Plan with such large funds to be invested. The agriculture mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change alone is to spend upwards of Rs 1 lakh crore over five years to make the primary sector more resilient to inevitable changes in climate change. The report pointed out that the government already spends 2.8% of its GDP on programmes that bring adaptation benefits to people. But the expert group, headed by K Kasturirangan, which wrote the report, has warned that government should not make any further commitments on reducing greenhouse gas emissions without holding the widest possible consultations with ministries concerned and other stakeholders. It …

F1 team Sauber shifts into “carbon neutral” status

Source: Business Green In a move that will interpreted as an example of either effective green management or shameless greenwash, Formula 1 racing team Sauber has today announced that it has obtained “carbon neutral” status. The Swiss team said that it has signed a deal with UK offset company Carbon Neutral Investments (CNI), which supports a range of emission reduction projects around the world, including wind farms in India, waste heat recovery projects in China, and hydro-electric stations in Brazil. Sauber will purchase credits from these initiatives to cover not only emissions from all its facilities, but also emissions from transportation of freight to race venues and staff travel. It added that it would then also purchase an excess of 30 per cent more carbon offset credits to ensure any emissions that may remain unaccounted for are covered. The move builds on the team’s achievement in gaining ISO 14001 certification for the company’s environmental management system in April. “The certification of our environmental management system less than a month ago …

The Companies Combating Climate Change In The Most Innovative Ways

Source: Fast CoExist Coming to a Bloomberg terminal near you: a ranking of the most innovative U.S. companies on climate change. And some of the contenders may surprise you. Produced by Maplecroft, a U.K.-based research house, the ranking tracks how 360 companies worth more than $1 billion are “mitigating climate change related risks,” managing carbon emissions, and innovating “clean-tech solutions and new products”. Maplecroft uses more than 100 criteria to reach its assessment, with the “innovation” piece making up 50% of the scores.   “We see the index as a sign of responsible business managing and mitigating their CO2 emissions and the impact that climate-related events are having on them,” says Kevin Franklin, a Maplecroft director. “But equally it’s about proactive businesses that are looking to generate new opportunities for revenues. The idea is the rating evaluates that, and then the index sits on the Bloomberg terminal, and ultimately helps drive further investment in businesses that are part of the climate solution.” Continue Reading…

Overcoming Barriers to a Green Economy

Source: SustainAbility Blog This year marks two especially significant milestones in sustainable development: the 20th anniversary of the United Nations’ Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and the 25th anniversary of the Brundtland Report, Our Common Future. How far have we come since the concept of sustainable development was elevated to the global policy agenda? To put it simply, not far enough. The recent—and ongoing—financial crisis has made for a dramatic and challenging backdrop to the Rio+20 Summit to be held in June. The February 2012 UN report by the High-level Panel on Global Sustainability, Resilient People, Resilient Planet, clearly points to actions governments should take at Rio+20. Key in our view is the role business will play. By virtue of its own growing power and the corresponding decline in the ability of many governments to deliver various public goods, business is under rising pressure to lead efforts aimed at systems change. Furthermore, business has started to realize it cannot continue to deliver narrowly on the imperative of shareholder return without wider attention …

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