IILM Institute of Higher Education organised its most coveted and flagship event – the fifth international conference on sustainability from February 15 – 17, 2018. The theme of the conference was “Resolution to Resolve: Sustainability Practices in Industry and Education”. Being a lifetime member of the UN Global Compact’s PRME India Chapter and one of its champion business schools, IILM takes pride in hosting the event every year in association with UNGC focussing on specific Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as outlined by UNGC. This year the emphasis was on SDG 4 and SDG 9 and accordingly, the sub-themes of the conference focussed on industry, innovation, infrastructure and innovation. The conference saw participation from eminent personalities from the industry, polity and academia. The conference this year coincided with the celebration of 25 years of IILM’s contribution to responsible management education. To mark the silver jubilee year, a compendium of articles on sustainability, in the form of an edited book, was released during the first day of the conference. There were a total of 5 sessions spread over the three days of the conference.


The conference started with the inaugural session, which was presided over by the Chief Guest Prof. Furqan Qamar, Secreatry General, Association of Indian Universities; Mr. R. Ramanan, Mission Director, Atal Innovation Mission, NitiAyog, GOI; Mr. Vinay Kumar , Director Artificial Intelligence, Azure and Search Partnerships, Microsoft; Dr. Bhaskar Chatterjee, Senior Director, IILM and Dr. Smitha Girija, Director, IILM.

The welcome address was delivered by Dr. Bhaskar Chatterjee during which he welcomed the eminent speakers and the audience to this conference. He gave an overview of the three day to come and then invited the speakers to share their thoughts.

Mr. Vinay Kumaraddressed the gathering and highlighted the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as the fourthindustrial revolution. He touched upon the broader questions of job displacements, AI designprinciples, government policies and AI ethics as areas that need consideration.

Mr. R. Ramananshed lighton various initiatives taken by Atal innovation mission at NitiAyog including ‘Mentor IndiaNetwork’ and ‘Mentor of Change’. Further he stressed on the need for education to createinnovative minds and job creators rather than only job seekers in the Indian context.

The Chief Guest Prof. Furqan Qamardelivered the keynote address. He began his speech by quoting examples of how AI iseliminating repetitive jobs and how, many current jobs will be taken up by machines in thenear future. He specifically spoke about SDG 4 that focuses on quality education and furtherhighlighted its critical aspects including access, equity & inclusion, quality of highereducation and affordability.

This landmark event was set off with the release of IILM’s flagship publication entitled“Resolution to Resolve: Sustainability Practices in Industry and Education” (published byBloomsbury). This book has contributions from some of our Nation’s most well-known andeminent academicians, practitioners, authors and intellectuals highlighting the mosteffective thoughts and ideas related to the focus SDGs as mentioned above. This compilationof thoughtful and well researched contributions is not only a great value add and gravitas tothe event but also provides a thought provoking platform to the discussions that will ensue.The book has been edited by IILM faculty along with Dr. Bhaskar Chatterjee, SeniorDirector, IILM.

Informal post conference interaction between Dr. Bhaskar Chatterjee, Mr. Anil Rai and Dr S Y Quraishi


The book release during inaugural session was followed by a panel discussion on the same topic moderated by Dr.Bhaskar Chatterjee during which Mr. Kamal Singh, Executive Director of UN GlobalCompact Network India, Dr. Sangeeta Mansur, Founder-Catalyst Bhairavi Business &Consultancy, Prof.Vivek Nagpal, Senior Consultant, MHRD, Mr. Rajeeb Kumar Debnath,Advisor PwC, and Mr. Sudarshan Rodriguez, Senior Programme Coordinator, Director’sOffice, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, enlightened the gathering on the subject. Each ofthem presented their contribution to the book and gave insights on its relevance in the contextof current education and industrial set-up.

Day 1 of the conference concluded successfully leaving the audience eager for theforthcoming sessions.

DAY II: PLENARY SESSION I: ‘Laying the Foundation: Alignment of Management Education with Sustainability’

Day 2 of the conference commenced with the first plenary session on the topic “Laying the Foundation: Alignment of Management Education with Sustainability”. Education has always been considered the foundation to bring any kind of reform and it is one of the most powerful and proven vehicles for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The focus of this session was SDG 4, which aims to provide equal access to affordable vocational training, to eliminate gender and wealth disparities, and achieve universal access to quality education. Distinguished panelists for this session included Dr. Manoj Sinha, Principal Aryabhatta College, Delhi University, Mr. Siddharth Sibal, Vice President, Accenture, and Prof. John Varghese, Principal, St. Stephen’s College. They spoke about the purpose of education being to raise awareness and consciousness among people. Mr. Sibal also emphasised different innovative interventions such as solar coins, block chain technology, 3D printing to name afew, that are currently changing the way we live and consume.

DAY II: PLENARY SESSION II: ‘Infrastructure through the Lens of Sustainability’

The second session on “Infrastructure through the Lens of Sustainability” revolved around theimplementation of SDG 9 – to develop quality, reliable, sustainable, and resilientinfrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being. This sessionempanelled Col. Prakash Tewari, Executive Director, CSR, DLF Foundation, Mr. PranshuGupta, Manager, Sustainability Services, Accenture Strategy, Mr. Ajay Tyagi, ManagingPartner, Lex Terrae. They underlined the importance of focusing in infrastructure for any ofthe other SDGs to become a success. They also highlighted the need for culturally andecologically relevant technological interventions, to solve the local infrastructural issues. Mr.Prakash Tiwari talked about various initiatives taken by DLF for transforming Gurugram intoa Smart City. He concluded with a quote “the greatest threat to our planet is the belief thatsomeone else will save it”. Mr. Pranshu talked about Earth Overshoot day and how can infrastructure help in pushing that further if not eliminating it. He stressed upon 3 main aspects: Economic Prosperity, Quality of Life and Environmental Sustainability and discussed the Accenture – NASSCOM framework which consists of Physical, Social andEnvironment aspects to achieve true sustainability. He stressed on the importance on Smart cities mission and citedimplementation ass the biggestchallenge. Mr. Ajay Tyagi emphasised on the importance of achieving sustainable development goals by building infrastructure that caters to the local needs rather looking at some global initiatives and copying them. He mentioned that sustainable infrastructure is one that can primarily address and serve as a solution to local problems and then move on to address broader sustainability issues. The session concluded with the idea that infrastructure must not only be for building smart cities but also for the rural sector.

DAY II: PLENARY SESSION III: ‘Innovation and Sustainable Competitive Advantage’

The third plenary session stressed upon Innovation as an imperative tool to foster sustainable development by solving existing problems and providing a new approach, a new perspective to look at things.The session saw contributions from Dr. Shalini Lal,Founder Infinity OD,Innovation and Change, Mr. Ravi Chamria, CEO, Block Chain Enthusiast and Fintech Expert, Mr. Ravi Bhatnagar, Head External Affairs & Partnerships,Reckitt Benckiser andProf. Holger Briel, Dean, Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University,China.Dr. Shalinibegan her speech by talking about the history of innovation practice in India,explained the difference between Language of Management and Language of Innovation by giving various examples like Innovation labs. She said that the officials who know the Language of Management also find it difficult to understand the Language of Innovation.Mr.RaviChamria expressed his views by talking about the history of Blockchain,its types,its application as Cryptocurrency,need of Cryptocurrency and its effects on Small and Large Investors. He also stressed on the difference between Information Exchange and Value Exchange and the benefits of blockchain technology as transparency and trust, immutability, complete authenticity, no intermediary and traceability. He also mentioned that Blockchain technology can be used in supply chains of organic and inorganic food andin banking sector.Mr. Ravi Bhatnagar expressed his thoughts through two quotes ‘Reputation is synonymous to Innovation’ and ‘Purpose first and then Business’. He mentioned about the concept of Innovation Pipeline.As an advice to budding managers, he mentioned there is greater learning in 1 year in a renowned company as compared to spending 2 to 3 years in a normal company that does not focus on innovation. The session ended with Prof. Holger Briel where he addressed the audience explaining about the living standards, co-working styles, co-working spaces, political potentials. He also gave different examples of Germany and India explaining about the different living standards followed by these countries.

DAY II: PLENARY SESSION IV: ‘Sustainability Practices and Quality Education’

The fourth session focussed on the Sustainable Development Goal 4: Thequality of education, i.e. to ensure inclusive and quality education to all and promote life-longlearning. The first panellist Dr.Onyebuchi Felix Offodile began the panel discussion with a few simple words. He saidthat the Earth is so resilient that it has a way of renewing itself. However, over the past fewdecades with the advancement of technology, we humans have found a way of polluting theEarth faster than it can renew itself. So it is our responsibility to facilitate the renewalproperty of mother Earth. By saving earth we are selfishly saving ourselves which capturesthe essence of sustainability.He went on to explain the crucial role education plays in achieving sustainability. Heemphasized on inculcating the idea of sustainability right from a young age and therebyexplained why primary education is the most important part of a person’s growth. Dr. Felixcalled this idea as the Magic Multiplier. He went on to mention that Quality of Education(Sustainable Development Goal 4) and Partnership (Sustainable Development Goal 17) gohand in hand.Although, education has yielded tools of war, but it also posses the power to provide thesolution for peace. Dr. Felix, thereby concluded by saying that let us not blame technologybut those who are misusing it.Ms.Dilreen Kaur, the director of the renowned non-profit organization “Ritanjli” began herinteraction with an energetic engagement that rejuvenated the audience or rather “createdthunder storm” as she called it. Her passion for fighting against gender inequality, domesticviolence, misogyny and patriarchal norms was prominently visible when she narrated thestory of people whom her organization has helped. “Ritanjli” as well as Dilreen’s vision is to provide a second chance to education and toprovide holistic education so that we can nurture self-reliant people who can return the samefavor someday.Ms.Nidhi Shrivastava began her address by pointing out the four stakeholders of education– students, teachers, management and the society. She pointed out the fact that the focus ofeducation should be on creating job producers rather than job-seekers.She concluded that India is no more left behind in higher education and that in the coming 15years every fourth individual will be a graduate. Dr. Rania Mohy El-Din Nafie focused her discussion towards the role of innovation ineducation. She elaborated the importance of reducing carbon footprints, increasingtransparency in the education system. She further added that any information should not behidden from the stake holders. According to her, private institutions and the governmentinstitutions must come together in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 4. Theessence of her discussion revolved around Albert Einstein’s famous quote “Education is notthe learning of facts but the training of minds to think.”

DAY III: PLENARY SESSION V: ‘Sustainability Footprints of Industry’

Day 3, on Feb 17, 2018 commenced with Session 5 on “Sustainability Footprints of Industry” exploring why industries must strive to become sustainable in true sense by addressing the three pillars of sustainability – economic, social, and environmental – simultaneously. Ms. Jasmine Saini, Head Business Synergy, ITC Hotels and FMCG (Foods) Business, Ms. Sapna Gupta, Solutions Architect , NIIT, Ms. Deepti Rastogi, Director TMF Group, Mr. Gagan Sardana, Super Banker HDFC, all proud alumni if IILM, shared their views on this subject. Ms. Jasmine Saini spoke about sustainability in the industry and briefed the audience about the ITC as a company of innovation and sustainability. Ms. Sapna Gupta stressed the need to give back to the society. She highlighted the initiative “Hole in the wall” undertaken by NIIT and underlined that sustainability growth come from long term relationships. Mr. Gagan Sardana started his address by sharing his journey at IILM. He briefed how sustainability helps businesses to run their objectives. He shared various initiatives by HDFC to promote financial literacy in rural areas, including “Parivartan” an initiative for rural development focusing sustainability through CSR. Mr. Rajiv Kumar focussed on sustainability in the FMCG industry. With the words “To sustain is to Innovate”, he opined that in FMCG industry, one must understand the culture & other dynamics.

Distinguished audience engrossed during the Closing plenary of the IILM PRME International Conference 2018


The closing plenary consisted of alumni from the first batch of IILM, Ms. Deepti Rastogi, Director TMF Group and Mr. N. Srikant, HR Partner & Executive VP, IndusInd Bank, who shared their journey from campus to corporate and gave tips to the students to better prepare them for the future. The conference concluded with closing remarks by Dr. Bhaskar Chatterjee, Senior Director, IILM. He summarised the learning from the various sessions on Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 of the conference highlighting simultaneously steps that IILM has taken so far to uphold the message of responsible management education.

The 5th IILM PRME international conference was a great success and provided a platform for industry experts, Diplomats and academicians from different parts of the world to interact and dialogue on aspects of Sustainability and Innovation that are extremely important drivers of responsible management in the current business context.

Dr. Bhaskar Chatterjee, Senior Director, IILM delivering his address during the Closing Plenary