The Sustainable Development Report, 2021 was released and discussed by the dignitaries of Ahmedabad today on the occasion of Ahmedabad Sustainability Conclave. The report on ‘Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals: Role of Universities and Civil Society in Protecting the Environment’ was released by the O.P. Jindal Global University.
This report will prove to be a milestone for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are set by the United Nations. Thus setting a global benchmark, JGU has become one of the first universities to fully implement and implement the SDGs on its campus, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. O.P. Jindal Global University is the first to implement this year’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Ahmedabad, the former capital of Gujarat, is home to some of the most renowned educational institutes such as IIM Ahmedabad, NIFT and MICA. The city has also been the launch pad for visionary leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Vikram Sarabhai.
Therefore, it was a fitting venue for the conclave on ‘Role of Universities and Civil Society in Protecting the Environment’ held on Monday at 5 PM at Four Points by Sheraton, Ellis Bridge, to release the “Sustainable Development Report 2021” prepared by TERI, Trust Legal, Madhusudan Hanumappa and Mazars at OP Jindal Global University.
On this occasion, Ms. Sonal Mishra, IAS Commissioner, Rural Development Secretary, Department of Rural Development, Government of Gujarat, Professor (Dr.) Shailendra Raj Mehta, President & Director, MICA, Professor (Dr.) S. Shanthakumar, Director, Gujarat National Law, University, Dr. Dinesh Kumar Sharma, IFS, Principal Chief Conservation of Forest Head, Forest Force, Government of Gujarat, Mr. Kartikeya Vikram Sarabhai, Founder & Director Centre for Environment Education, Mr. Annurag Batra, Chairman & Editor in Chief, BW Businessworld, Ms. Paridhi Adani, Partner (Head – Ahmedabad), Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, Professor (Dr.) Purvi Pokhariyal, Dean, School of Law, Forensic, Justice & Policy Studies, National Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar Mr. Sudhir Mishra, Founder & Managing Partner Trust Legal Advocates & Consultants, & Co-Author SDR 2021 on JGU, and Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, Founding Vice Chancellor, O.P. Jindal Global University were
present. The Vote of Thanks was given by Professor Anand Prakash Mishra, Director of Law Admissions, O.P. Jindal Global University, Associate Dean, Jindal Global Law School.
The UN SDGs include affordable and sustainable energy, combating climate change, eradicating hunger, education, health and gender equality. To demonstrate its commitment to the implementation of the SDGs, JGU is engaged in an independent assessment of its campus and is taking initiatives to gain a transparent and fair view of the University’s progress in compliance with the United Nations SDGs. A group of 12 evaluators from the environmental and legal sectors, including The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Trust Legal, Advocates and Consultants and Mazars Business Advisors Pvt Ltd, interviewed the University on its initiatives ranging from energy consumption to water management systems and community work, rigorous evaluation of procedures.
The launch of this report comes at an opportune time, when world leaders including Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi attended the COP26 meeting in Glasgow. Such diverse reports, as scientific investigations and debates, will only enrich our collective knowledge in protecting health. The role of the university is important in the path of sustainable development. It becomes imperative that universities dedicate time and resources to creating an SDG-ready generation that remains focused on the mission of achieving sustainable development.
Educational institutions can play an important role in informing young people and creating awareness about the necessary steps to protect and conserve the environment. India has a long tradition of protecting nature and environment. It is an achievement for JGU to conduct such a study on UN-SDG targets and its aim to address the challenges of pollution, carbon emissions to flora and fauna and depleting natural resources.
Speaking on the occasion, Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, Founder Vice Chancellor, O.P. Jindal Global University said, “Sustainability Development Report 2021 aims to create a green and socially conscious campus and to have a transparent and fair view of our progress. The United Nations demonstrates our commitment to our compliance with the SDGs. This comprehensive assessment was conducted on our processes, from our energy and water management systems to community engagement initiatives. While the COVID-19 pandemic presented us with challenges as well as opportunities to reach the SDGs, JGU has taken a step towards a healthier and safer environment by implementing the SDGs on its campus. By striving to implement the UN-SDG, JGU has shown the way to other educational institutions in how futuristic, social and environmental commitments are met. In the past also JGU has demonstrated its commitment to protect the environment by securing top ranking in the Swachh Campus Ranking of Higher Educational Institutions conducted by the Ministry of Education. The SDG Report 2021 on JGU is the culmination of outstanding efforts by TERI, Trust Legal and Mazars to create a new dimension for promoting sustainable development. It has the potential to change the future and help address the challenges of climate change by bringing universities to the centre of knowledge creation, research, experiential learning, innovation and wider engagement with youth. We have taken a right step towards promoting the importance of UN-SDG by progressively carrying out activities in line with the National Education Policy to meet the goals. I am also happy to share that recently we have opened a new chapter of International Green Building Complex under the aegis of Confederation of Indian Industry.”
OP Jindal Global University has created a sustainable model with solar power generation by contributing surplus power to the grid. The university aims to invest in renewable energy generation on campus by establishing zero-net emissions policies and developing long-term resource efficiency and management plans. About 55% of the university’s campus is green. A green area around the university helps in curbing the effects of particulate matter and gaseous pollutants in the area besides playing a major role in environmental protection efforts. The university has also established the Jindal School of Environment and Sustainability to ensure that it generates innovation and youth leadership to tackle climate change and its impact. It also provides interdisciplinary education in other schools to ensure adequate awareness on this important subject throughout the university.
Mr. Sudhir Mishra, Founder and Managing Partner, Trust Legal, Advocates and Consultants, who was the key knowledge partner for commissioning SDR, called the release of this voluntary report a significant moment in the history of the climate change movement in India. According to him, this single bold move by one of the private universities in India on sustainability will be a historic change as many campuses will become symbols of hope to show how they conserve water, how they dispose of waste, how they nurture trees, how they reduce their carbon foot print and how they connect with local communities.
Mr Mishra said, “Sustainable Development Report 2021 on O.P. Jindal Global University is a unique initiative promoted by India’s number one ranked private university as a part of its social responsibility. We are happy to work on this initiative as the University ensured complete intellectual autonomy, operational independence and editorial independence in the preparation of reports. The collective contributions of the TERI, Trust Legal and Mazars teams provided a comprehensive assessment of JGU’s commitment to the implementation of SDG goals and other compliance related matters. The report is a comprehensive 100-page document that identifies every major aspect of the SDGs and its relationship to the governance and functioning of the JGU. India’s Education Minister and Environment Minister were present at the launch of JGU’s SDR 2021, hence its importance has increased even more.