Sustainability Reaps Economical, Ecological Benefits

By T Murrali

Global demand for energy is expected to double within the next 100 years. Today, the main source of energy is still oil, which results in 36 billion tonne of CO2 that is emitted into the atmosphere every year. As this is expected to reach 45 billion tonne by 2035, it will eventually increase global warming significantly. Secondly, potable water is becoming a rare commodity in many cities in several countries. This is further fuelled by the rise in temperature at the poles that makes ice bergs melt which may eventually flood low lying areas, especially in Europe. Sea water ingress will not only shift habitants from low lying areas but also reduce the scarce potable water. Thirdly, use of hazardous chemicals by manufacturing industry and letting out effluents will disturb the mineral content of soil eventually affecting vegetation and other natural resources.

These changes are threatening the very existence of lives and humanity. However, there is no life without growth. Growing population spikes the demand for food and other resources. It is estimated that, at the current population growth rate and demand for natural resources, we may need more
than two earths to cater to the needs, in the next three decades. The realisation of the GHG targets for 2050 will require a CO2 reduction of at least three percent in annual new fleet sales. These threats have made everyone look at Corporate Social Responsibility as an important and intrinsic component.

Sustainability is not merely limited to one aspect. A sustainable solution must meet the three key pillars of environment, economy and society. Every manufacturing unit should be conscious of its environmental impact and strive to reduce the impact on the environment. This warrants a great deal of attention to the production process and use of raw materials based on the philosophy of the circular economy – Reduce, Recycle and Reuse.
This is more relevant for the automotive industry as not only should the vehicle have technologies to help preserve the environment but also its manufacturing has to be sustainable. With technological changes evolving at a faster pace across industries / societies, the challenge is to choose the appropriate ones, to match present and future requirements. The matching technologies should also be sustainable as ultimately all these touch human lives. The challenge for every Government and Captains of every industry is to pick and choose projects that are sustainable, though they may be expensive initially and not very profitable immediately.

As part of the Fourth Anniversary edition of AutoParts Asia, we had requested a few organisations to express their views on Sustainability and the way it is practised in their firms. This section on ‘Sustainability’ in this special edition carries their columns.

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