Business Standard

"Time is ripe to replace linear model of growth with sustainable one"

Vikram Bhadauria says India needs to follow a circular economic model for sustainable development

Vikram Bhadauria 

Vikram Bhadauria, director, Alok Masterbatches
Vikram Bhadauria

Manufacturing sector has played a major role in India’s economic growth history, contributing nearly 16.7 percent to the national GDP. Its importance is further evidenced by the Government’s ambitious ‘Make in India’ initiative that aims to promote and incentivise local sourcing and manufacturing. However, an important factor that we as an industry, our policy makers and bureaucratic community often ignore, is the disastrous impact of unsustainable manufacturing processes on the environment - source of all raw materials that fundamentally support the manufacturing requirements; and thereby, hampering our overall growth trajectory. 

Indian industries generate an estimated 13,468 tonnes of waste every day and large quantity of it goes unrecycled and hence, unutilised. Excessive consumption results in depletion of non-renewal resources, ultimately leading to ecological imbalance.

In the Asia-pacific region, India is seen as a leading contributor to International Discourses on and Sustainability. In the past three years, India’s GDP growth has witnessed a positive rise to 7.6 percent, and is well poised to become the fourth largest economy in the world by 2030. However, this will come at a price as the country is presently grappling with significant questions about rapid urbanisation, resource scarcity, and high levels of poverty.

The World Economic Forum states that an unsustainable developmental framework directly results from a linear model of resource consumption - following a take-make-dispose pattern. Today, many experts believe that this linear model of resource consumption has reached its saturation point and hence, it must be replaced with a sustainable model. 

Considering this, a model is a potential way for our society to prosper, whilst reducing demand for finite raw materials and promoting reuse of resources over and over again. Currently, only 10 percent of the entire manufacturing sector is based on a sustainable model. In order to implement sustainable manufacturing practices, continuous research and innovation must be a priority.

Today, continue to be an integral part of the national and global economy. They not only deliver direct economic benefits, but can also contribute to increased levels of resource productivity – from reducing food wastage by extending shelf life to limiting fuel consumption, for transportation by bringing the weight down. To replicate the model in case of plastics, the ambition is to keep from becoming waste; rather, they re-enter the economy as valuable technical or biological nutrients.

Sustainable manufacturing helps companies to save money, enhance competitiveness, and reduce environmental degradation. Indian manufacturing sector is still at nascent stage and requires serious interventions from both private and public players to reach a consensus to promote innovative and sustainable practices in the industry. 

As a growing industry, we must strengthen our commitment to recover and reuse waste that has potential. A strong and sustainable developmental model is important for India to maintain the economic momentum it has achieved in the past one decade. Therefore, it is our responsibility to chart out a comprehensive action plan for sustainable manufacturing that will put us on the path towards regenerative, and value-creating development.
is the director at Alok Masterbatches