The news of a pregnant elephant succumbed to injury after feeding a pineapple filled with cracker shocked the conscious of few who had left with some semblance of humanity. Although human-animal conflict is not something new in our world perhaps it is pegged to go up as we progress further. Human beings as a species have always been on the quest to find more resources for their survival, as our population increases, we tend to encroach into wild animals territory as forest space is shrinking fast due to increasing agricultural activities. Our selfish pursuit to grab resources from fellow creatures made ourselves the most dangerous creature in this whole planet. As many reports point out to one thing, ie, our needs only keep increasing day by day, we never get satiated with whatever we have, so we tend to step into animal’s territory as well. In many areas across the globe, human beings have been slowly as well as steadily grabs forest land for cultivation. the recent incident in Kerala is one such heart wrecking story that unfolds severe exploitation happening to animals.
We are the culprits
We as a species are considered superior on account of our intellectual ability, mastering the art of survival better than any known species in nature, so it is incumbent upon us to behave responsibly as a caretaker of mother nature, many ages before we have had a history of living peacefully with our fellow creatures, but as a species, through evolution, we turn out to be more of a liability than an asset to nature. The right to live by consuming natures’ resource is not our right alone, but all the creatures in this world have equal rights similar to us. Our thought process as a human being is weird, out of sync with the reality, The price we have to pay in future because of our irresponsible deeds is incomprehensible we are still living in la-la land thinking that everything revolves around us, perhaps it may take many decades for us to realize that we are just part of a larger scheme of things called nature. I really don’t think our perception is going to change anytime sooner, as our whole system is structured in such a manner to chase limitless possibilities in a world of limited resources.
Intergovernmental panel on climate change in their report says that if we continue to behave irresponsibly; global temperature may rise to 1.5’c between 2020 & 2052. Perhaps once it crosses the 2’C levels then the situation would become irreversible for the entire ecosystem as a whole. Many studies have proved beyond doubt that a rise in global temperature may have a disastrous effect on climate. Climate change or overall change in weather conditions are necessary for survival, reproduction and transmission of diseases pathogens, vectors & hosts. Appropriate climate and weather conditions are necessary for the survival, reproduction, distribution and transmission of disease pathogens, vectors, and hosts. Therefore, changes in climate or weather conditions may impact infectious diseases through affecting the pathogens, vectors, hosts and their living environment. Meanwhile, studies have found that global warming tends to favour the geographic expansion of several infectious diseases. Also, extreme weather events may help create opportunities for more clustered disease outbreaks or outbreaks at non-traditional places and time.
Across communities globally it has been a challenge stares at our face for a long time, However, elected governments and big corporates are not paying much attention towards looming crisis hanging over our head. The developed nation and its institutions own the major responsibility to the crisis, but ironically climate change affects the poor and vulnerable section of the populations from developing and underdevelopment nations. It is time globally nations & institutions across broad should come together on a common platform to fight it. Time has come for political dispensation to take some hard choices to keep environmental health as an equal priority like economic growth. COVID-19 pandemic is one such sign that warns the global community that time has come to do a course correction.
Globally every year on June 6th we recall the day as world environment day. However, it is crucial to remember that being an inhabitant of this planet are we doing the right things to keep our surroundings better for a sustainable lively hood ? We consider ourselves as most sensible creature evolved over many centuries having enough intelligence to protect the ecosystem. Perhaps due to our unending quest for more materialistic comfort had inflicted a huge dent on the planet’s balance. Our evolutionary history goes as homosapiens we have traversed a great length, however, once we grew in numbers massive cultivation for consumption became our primary focus by turning large swathe forest land for agricultural purposes, Later we got in to an era of industrial revolution where mass manufacturing was the order of the day, Despite our achievements we had conveniently neglected the consequences that would create havoc on environment.
Polluting the air today is considered as the modern day curse due to increase in urbanization &Industrialization.Air pollution is consistently ranked among the top risk factors for death& disability worldwide. Also, it is considered as the 5th highest mortality risk factor globally, it has resulted in 4.9 million deaths and loss of 147 million years of a healthy lifestyle. Today more than 90% of the people live in areas exceeding the guidelines laid out by WHO and more than half of global population lives in areas that do not even meet the least standards by world health organisation. Globally the biggest victim of air pollution is the least developed and developing countries. Apart from the pollution by industries and automobiles as per the 2017 report, nearly 3.6 billion people worldwide are exposed to household air pollution.
Forest covers 30% of the world’s land area, it is very disheartening to see that forest cover is fast depleting at an alarming rate. The period alone between 1990 and 2016, the world lost 502,000 square miles of forest. Due to human intervention alone, 46% of the trees have been felled. Around 17% of the Amazonian rain forest has been destroyed over the past years which is always on the rise. The main reasons for deforestation are farming, grazing of livestock, mining & drilling aggregates to 50% of the loss to forest cover.
The addiction to a single use or disposable plastic leads to severe environmental consequences. Around the world, one million plastic bottles are purchased every minute and single plastic bags usage accounts to 5 trillion worldwide. Today we produce 300 million tonnes of plastic waste every year that is nearly equal to the total human population in the globe. It is estimated that out of the 8.3 billion tonnes of the total plastic produced, around 60% of plastic ended up in either landfill or the natural environment. In spite of several curbs announced by authorities the usage of plastic has not come down drastically.
Moment of realization
The biggest problem which I feel is the mentality of the human population that we need to correct ourselves by starting afresh by thinking that as human beings we are also part of the whole ecosystem, our actions and deeds should always be complementary rather than confounding with nature. Because our actions have only created more imbalances rather than striking the right balance for every creature’s coexistence. Among the rest, we have been considered as a superior creature but our imagination about the future is blurred due to our belief system. Time has come that we should start believing in permanent truth that we thrive in this nature, not because of our only effort but there are many unseen factors and attributes that nature provides us in abundance for us to strive. The universal truth is that the moment human races start to think that we are just part of nature not the other way around, Then I feel the whole issues can be addressed proactively.
Every known civilization in this world has been built based on stories. For time immemorial human beings have been using the different type of stories to create civilizations. Humankind has forayed into agriculture by building a narrative well supported by different kind of myths. The ability of stories to usher new changes are immense, that is evident since evolution throughout our history. But it also matters how effectively can we use stories to change the existing situation, lead the society for a better tomorrow. Fast- forward to present we are facing several issues in the form of climate change, poverty & inequality. To overcome the present predicament that we are in, powerful stories can bring big changes in the collective consciousness of society. The positive stories can not only be inspirational but also can create systematic changes in society. Real-time examples of successful social entrepreneurship models can really act as a direct route to emotions, hence it helps in decision making. Stories can set new patterns that create a positive impact on the way we think and behave. Powerful stories play a foundational role in changing the values, mindsets & goals.
Stories illuminate Stores can act as light, glue or web, yet it has a powerful sense to change the way we behave, act and indulge. The point to drive home here is that in today’s chaotic world building positive narratives through powerful stories is very crucial. For instance, supporting and promoting niches in innovation for social welfare can create a wider impact in the system, it builds narratives with a purpose to change the world for a better tomorrow. The stories of people who have been making slow changes in the society need to be highlighted with good supporting narratives. Such impactful peoples’ life needs to be amplified to a larger crowd through powerful stories by leveraging the available platforms.
Changing the future We can use stories to create riveting visions that can bring desired changes with a purpose. The stories can help to humanize issues. For instance, impactful social business models need to be communicated properly, the desired impact aimed from the business needs to be highlighted regularly with personal examples & narratives. The compelling reasons to become outlier by thinking differently for a better cause. Stories should be built in such a way to highlight the success stories more often than usual Stories can act as a tool to build a strong community through empathy & unity. Though It helps people to connect across communities and as a glue that holds everyone together.
Way forward The only way forward to tackle the existing problems is through collective responsibility. Any individual or organisation taking up such causes needs to be given due importance and their activities, efforts need to pass on to larger society through effective stories. Because the world needs more such stories more than the past, Those who are making steady progress in such areas needs to be accepted with respect. However, it is equally important to let others be motivated by hearing such captivating stories that can as a catalyst for a change. So lets all welcome and follow such success stories from business, art, environment and other social issues.
The partnership between Misfit & Balder speciality foods seems to be a perfect example of social enterprises working in unison to create an impact. The duo believes in adding value to their products in the market by using the unused fruits & vegetables that are being thrown away as waste. The misfit is a Washington based startup founded by Phil Wong & Ann Yang in 2005 deals with cold pressing juices from fruit scraps. The innovative idea by the founders believes in creating product lines by converting one man’s trash to other man’s treasure. Around the globe, huge quantities of food are getting wasted, so the message is loud & clear from Misfit that they want to be in the forefront to fight this social issue with innovative ideas. So the duo has decided to tie up with “Balder” one of the leading distributors of neatly cut fresh fruits & watermelons in the market. The process of producing neatly cuts fruits creates wastages daily, So finding this is an opportunity in 2016 Mist fit juicy has successfully tied up with Balder. Although balder is a large corporation involved in the distribution of perfectly sliced fruits to the grocery shops in the Northeast, yet they were clueless in minimising the wastages during the process. Amid all the daily wastages Balder has agreed to sell its carrot tops and trimmings to misfit, This resulted in a significant reduction of wastage of food materials, wastages, Henceforth after the tie-up with misfit, balder started generating a fresh revenue stream by addressing the issue of food waste by associating with a social enterprise.
The partnership between misfit & Balder speciality foods seems to be a perfect example of social enterprises working in unison to create an impact. The duo believes in adding value to their products in the market by using the unused fruits & vegetables that are being thrown away as waste. The misfit is a Washington based startup founded by Phil Wong & Ann Yang in 2005 deals with cold pressing juices from fruit scraps. The innovative idea by the founders believes in creating product lines by converting one man’s trash to other man’s treasure. Around the globe, huge quantities of food are getting wasted, so the message is loud & clear from Misfit that they want to be in the forefront to fight this social issue with innovative ideas. So the duo has decided to tie up with “Balder” one of the leading distributors of neatly cut fresh fruits & watermelons in the market. The process of producing neatly cuts fruits creates wastages daily, So finding this is an opportunity in 2016 Mist fit juicy has successfully tied up with Balder. Although balder is a large corporation involved in the distribution of perfectly sliced fruits to the grocery shops in the Northeast, yet they were clueless in minimising the wastages during the process. Amid all the daily wastages Balder has agreed to sell its carrot tops and trimmings to misfit, This resulted in a significant reduction of wastage of food materials, wastages, Henceforth after the tie-up with misfit, balder started generating a fresh revenue stream by addressing the issue of food waste by associating with a social enterprise.
The association between Misfit & Balder is a classic example of aligning one’s own business with a social enterprise to gain an advantage in the marketplace. The partnership with a social enterprise in today’s world increasingly makes more sense. It also helps both partners in creating social impact by keeping their bottom line in sync with the overall business objective. I think these models can be emulated better in developing markets like India in a big way. Traditionally every organisation gives more importance to improve their bottom line through delivering better value to its shareholders & investors. Now it is time to think beyond this notion in order to create a better social impact in the society. Founders of the Misfit feel sustainable business relationships not only add value overall but also helps to create a better social impact. In this case, Misfit as an organisation is successful as a social enterprise to leverage its strengths to create an authentic impact by addressing the pain points faced by large organisations. So any forward-thinking organisation for that matter can reap real benefits socially and financially by associating with such social enterprises.
Impact investing offers significant potential for growth. The term Impact investment in the broader sense means a lot. Impact investing literally means “ a financial undertaking that aims to generate specific and measurable benefits to society & environment in addition to financial goals. Conventional investment models are skewed towards giving more importance to financial gains. However, the impact investment philosophy gives equal importance to social and environmental benefits. It uses private capital to fund to address the issues faced in the society and the environment.
Impact investment has been gaining more traction, as evident on the ground, its growth in the last several years looks promising. The investment seeks innovative solutions and ideas with a dual return of assets, It also aims to measure the impact it has created and its outcomes. The organisation that promotes impact investment also benefits handsomely whilst improving overall reputation in the society.
The individual investor, trust, funds or organisation who applies the principle of impact investment would always believe in taking steps to create long-term value for the society. The art of doing impact investment is by adopting careful design and implementation of programs that are scalable to have a very positive impact on the society. The future of this society and environment largely revolves around making sustainable development goals to tackle the problems faced by society. The realm of impact investment looks beyond the single objective of just making financial gains but deploying capital in such a way that benefits the overall wellbeing of the society & environment.
The united nations estimates that reaching the Sustainable development goals in developing countries will cost around 3.9 trillion per year and private and public capital put together provides just 1.4 trillion.
Amid all the benefits discussed so far, impact investment means different things to different people. Some would see it as a strategy for beating financial benchmarks because a business that target the existing gap in social or environmental needs can be profitable, one other hand inspite of the guaranteed lower returns, still they would like to back the investment for the sake of the society or environment.
Social enterprises and impact creation. At present mainstream managers are willing to allocate their share of money as capital to a promising company for impact-oriented business or to social enterprise, however, most of them are still reluctant to deploy a that significant portion of the money for such activities. So it is the responsibility of government agencies and large companies to expand markets for impact investing.
Designing new products and practices. The impact fund managers need to be clear about the overall strategies they are going to adopt and its objectives, also it is equally important how to balance the nonfinancial impact with financial returns. Impact fund managers can also create sector or issue specific products whose impact can be measured consistently. Though impact investment still remains as a novel idea, if adopted across the board has the potential to bring significant changes in the society. Unlike traditional investment models, impact investment takes time to bear fruits also due to its long gestation period. it takes a longer time than usual to create an impact that can be realistically measured. But one thing is sure our world needs more of such impact investment themes, professional fund managers to handle and deploy the capital to its best use. But the overall transformative impact it creates in sectors like education, Healthcare and the environment is huge that can fetch huge dividends for the nation as a whole.