BY | February 15, 2011

Sameer Pushp writes: The process of Industrial growth plays a vital role in economic development, but any Industrial growth seems to go hand-in-hand with environmental deterioration. Several decades of applying the conventional methods to reduce environmental damage has proved to be just treating the symptoms, the world is suffering from disease of environmental damage and a fear of getting it chronic is a possibility. It is high time to combine technological solutions to overcome urgent pollution problems with ways to prevent wastes from being generated or to reuse their valuable material. We, in India, are mindful of this growing problem and have started interventions in form of awareness and practical solutions to reduce the impact of environmental degradation. To reinforce this belief, National Productivity Council, under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, is celebrating Productivity Week from 12th to 18th February, 2011 with a theme ‘Green Productivity for Sustainable Energy and Environment’. The Productivity Week will revolve around the core concept of ‘Green Productivity (GP)’.

A New Paradigm

Green Productivity is a new paradigm in sustainable manufacturing where resource conservation and waste minimization constitute the strategy in simultaneously enhancing environmental performance and productivity. This productivity approach to the sustainability of industries requires the adoption of clean production technology and the development of appropriate indicators and instruments to measure environmental performance in a continuous improvement strategy that focuses on the manufacturing stage of the product life cycle. The analysis may be expanded to include the entire life cycle with increasing details on impacts, improvement strategies and indicators.

Green Productivity is the well-rounded socio-economic development that emphasizes on sustainable improvement in the quality of human life with minimum or no damage to the environment. It is the combined application of appropriate productivity and environmental management tools, techniques and technologies that reduce the environmental impact of an organization’s activities, products and services while enhancing profitability and competitive advantage.

Green Growth Dynamism

The thrust of the productivity week is to focus on generating awareness on the eco-efficiency considerations and energy efficiency perspectives, which will be supported by principles of ecological economics and impinged by equations of eco-financing and investments and returns cycles. Strategic action by firms and stakeholders including consumers are increasingly focused on eco-design initiatives including product improvement, product–redesign. The aim is to explore future scope in harvesting green consumerism and green growth dynamics and emergence of eco-cities and eco-industrial parks that would foster an eco-culture across boundaries on our planet.

Green Productivity as a principle and strategy has gained wider understanding, stronger support and eventually being applied for enhancing productivity and environmental performance for sustainable socio-economic development. Exploitation of non-renewable energy sources on one hand resulted in depleting the natural energy reservoirs while on the other hand, due to excessive and imbalanced use, it made the world face one of the toughest challenges, Global Warming. Rise in sea levels, fluctuations in the rainfall and frequent droughts are some of the impacts of the environmental damage. All these concerns made us introspect on the situation and this led to the incubation of the concept of Green Productivity for sustainable development.

Substantial Gains

Traditional focus of the productivity was to ensure cost-effectiveness through cost reduction, the quality drive and the customer satisfaction. Now, along with these, productivity improvement programs are also required to integrate environment issues. GP helps company increase its productivity and it is applicable not only to manufacturing, but also to the service, information, and agricultural sectors, more so to government and community economic development. By picking up the baton of quality, productivity has metamorphosed to incorporate environmental protection and community enhancement as a means to increase prosperity.

The challenges of shifting to a pathway of sustainable development embracing the energy & environmental issues are substantial. Improvements in energy management and pollution-reduction technologies will offset some of the problems associated with projected future growth in population. Therefore, Green productivity was launched with the prime objectives to address the issues of increasing profitability, improvement in health and safety, making quality products, promotion of  environmental protection,  regulatory compliance, building up company’s image and raise employees morale which will subsequently lead to holistic growth and development.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Nature is enough to satisfy man’s need but not sufficient for man’s greed.” In this fierce race of globalization, countries of the world have lost the faculty to decipher the difference between need and greed. They are rapidly being trapped into the sands of materialism and thus failing to draw the line. This blurred distinction has consequently resulted boom to the consumerist concept leading to the crude display of extravagance and has thus ushered mindless production of goods and services.

Productivity and competitiveness are the two faces of a same coin. Competitiveness of a nation is linked to the productivity growth and ability of a nation to improve its competitiveness is measured by its environmental performance in addition to more traditional economic criteria. This makes the concept of Green Productivity a simple but elegant solution – to make environmental protection a core business principle instead of an isolated cost element. “Green Productivity for sustainable Energy and Environment” as a chosen theme for the ‘Productivity Week-20ll is the need of the hour.

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