Creating a sustainable business is hard enough in the developed world. But in important emerging markets it can be more difficult still. When Harish Hande set up India’s Solar Electric Light Company (Selco), in 1995 with the aim of providing cheap, clean solar energy to the nation’s rural poor, he quickly ran into a series of barriers. Money was a big problem: India had few financial institutions willing to invest in renewable energy projects. He also needed to develop a method of distribution.
"Despite the world's third largest economy, India still has huge problems with poverty, graft, water distribution and the environment. There is much to be done, especially with India's children."
That's how environmental journalist Robert Weir summed up his recent seven months in India, spent mostly in Calcutta (Kolkata), working with Rosalie Giffoniello's "Empower the Children" program.
As co-chair of the National Agricultural and Fisheries Council’s Committee on Climate Change of the Climate Change Congress of the Philippines, Christian Monsod also spoke at the forum about the role of green technologies and sustainability in poverty alleviation.
India has had some success in reducing poverty, but a staggering 350 million people still live below the poverty line.
And discontent is rising, with the middle income feeling the pinch from soaring food prices.
Industry experts said it's time the government introduce new reforms to spur the country's economy.
If anything, the world's ecological problems have only grown over the past 20 years since the Earth Summit of 1992 held in the Latin American city of Rio de Janeiro. As the developing world catches up with lifestyles that until recently were the privilege of the leading industrialised countries, the future looks even more perilous than before. Read more: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2012/1093/fe1.htm