There is a greater focus on sustainability and working towards net zero carbon emissions in companies today. This has to work in tandem with the transformation in the digital space, with more collaborations and partnerships between legacy brands and startups. This is one of the many ways we can drive development and growth in India in this age of innovation and advancement.
These were some of the ideas that came up in a discussion led by the founder and CEO of YourStory. shraddha sharma while engaged to Nadir Godrej, President and MD, Godrej Industries and Lingraju Sawkar, President, India, in the latest episode of ‘The New Springboard’ series driven by. The series brings together top leaders from startups, unicorns, and high-potential companies to exchange ideas and perspectives that can facilitate and bolster growth.
Crucial sectors for development
India needs sustainable growth across all segments and strata of society to become a developed nation, according to Nadir. Sectors such as infrastructure, green energy, fintech and digital transition will play an important role in the effort to reach the state of “developed” for 2047.
He says we need to have green energy sources that can provide 24/7 instead of intermittent renewable energy sources. “At Godrej, we will focus on digital transformation, particularly agriculture, new and innovative financial services, and biomass-based energy, both from agricultural by-products and new crops, such as bamboo,” he says. He also points out that India is very competitive in chemicals, so Godrej is looking to expand his chemical businesses with a special focus on green chemistry.
Lingraju is optimistic that we will achieve the target that the Prime Minister has set in much less time than stipulated. “Key sectors will remain a priority, which are infrastructure, financial services, telecom and heavy engineering,” he says, adding that India has the advantage of the power of digital transformation and the underlying technology, which will contribute to the developing. Both Nadir and Lingraju believe that the next set of 30 years of development will be based much more on sustainability.
The role of ecosystem associations in growth
Nadir points out that partnerships, in various combinations between companies, governments and NGOs, are important, especially in building infrastructure in the manufacturing zones of the chemical industry. “But individual effort also has an important role to play.”he adds.
He points out that government mandates and incentives tied to production don’t always work as expected, so we have to rely on ourselves. He agrees that we need to look for optimal partnerships that lead to tangible growth, which unfortunately is often not the case.
Legacy business support
“The greatest leverage will come through the financial inclusion goals that are being set,” says Lingraju, adding that Kyndryl works closely with companies in the microfinance industry that lend to women’s groups, which is helping development at the bottom of the pyramid. He says that Kyndryl is now working with Godrej in the area of digital transformation to accelerate cloud adoption, which opens up possibilities for open ecosystem play in analytics, consumer insights, and market opportunities.
The second area of work is to drive individual marketing instead of mass marketing, so “You can create offers and value propositions for a single consumer and then scale them to many,” he adds.
Long-term value creation
“We have a long heritage, but we are always aware that our values must remain the same, but we must modernize, and we have been constantly modernizing while maintaining our values.” says Nadir, adding that bringing all stakeholders together, corporate social responsibility and innovation has been important to the company. He conveys the story of the founder of Godrej Ardeshir Godrej founding the company on the principle of innovation based on his conversation about an independent economy with Mahatma Gandhi.
Hoping that all stakeholders will continue to benefit from them, Nadir says the company follows the philosophy that its role is nation building and believes that taking care of stakeholders is the best way to take care of its business, that it is a symbiotic relationship. “If you see Mahatma Gandhi’s book influence in many pioneering companies, I would conclude that he is the largest Indian businessman,” he adds.
Giving the example of fintech start-ups and public sector banks mutually benefiting from technological innovation, Lingraju notes that technology has leveled the playing field between traditional brands and startups, adding that it allows form partnerships between startups focused on a single capability and traditional brands that can leverage that capability.
A promise to build a greener world
Nadir says that in 2010, Godrej launched the good and green program, which focused on various goals, including good health through sanitation, the environment, and education. He adds that his focus was on carbon negation by advocating for carbon neutrality and praised India’s mandatory CSR project that will help the nation’s environment, health and employability.
Godrej will continue to focus on preserving biodiversity, fixing the poor sanitation situation and ensuring clean water to combat various diseases, he adds.
Driving technology to increase employability and development
One of the areas Kyndryl is working on is ensuring that lots of green power sources go into data centers to make them efficient, Lingraju says. They are also working to identify how to harness technology to enable skills to make the most of India’s employable demographic.
Another area Kyndryl is working on is ‘Beyond Tier I’, which focuses on extracting potential and talent in Tier II and III cities. “We are working with various government agencies and building capabilities that are ready for employment and consumption in Tier II and Tier III cities,” he says, adding that this development addresses sustainability, employability and skill, and enables the growth in these cities.
“Inclusion is important, not just because you have to be fair and just, but because you have better ideas,” says Nadir, adding that one should try to appeal to people of all backgrounds for better thinking.
It also places an emphasis on ensuring that everyone feels welcome and is heard in the organization. It acknowledges that, given our biases, it is a difficult and ongoing challenge to be neutral, but we must continue to work towards it.
Tips for Young Leaders
“You learn to be a leader in a crisis,” says Nadir, adding that he believes in trusting his team in such situations. He points out that they were able to reverse one of those situations by bringing the team together to brainstorm and work together. “You need to get everyone’s opinion. At the same time, you have to be decisive… as long as you have thought things through and have an alternate plan, it is easy to make a decision,” he adds.