E-Conclave 2020 Day 2- Session 3

The second day of SIIB’s E-Conclave 2020 took place on the 31st of October, 2020. The theme of session 3 was ‘Future of Work Post Pandemic – Global Food Chain’.

The moderator for the session was Dr. Ravi Sharma, Assistant Professor in the Department of Energy and Environment. The keynote speakers for the session were Mr. Dilip Rajan, Managing Director- East-West Seed, Mr. Atul Mehra, Chairman of M/s Tasty Dairy Specialties Ltd and founder of INDUCED, Mr. Abhijit Duragkar, Vice President- Global Gourmet Pvt. Ltd., Mr. Praveen Wagh, General Manager at Reliance Retail. The session started with the student coordinators welcoming the moderator and the eminent guest panel along with the Director, Dy. Director and students from all over the country and industry professionals present in the audience. Later, a short video that captured the essence of the topic was played. It was followed by an introductory note by our Director, Dr. Asmita Chitnis. 

The student coordinators introduced the moderator, who went on to deliver a welcome note where he spoke about the role of Agriculture in reconstructing the economy and how pandemic has affected the same. He further went to introduce the first speaker of the session Mr. Dilip Rajan, who stressed how Agriculture is the forerunner in today’s crisis. He also mentioned the three recessions the Indian Economy has gone through in 1958, 1955, and 1980, followed by the one we are facing currently. Although, he stated that the Agriculture sector will be the one to uplift the economy from this downfall. He mentioned that by 2050, feeding 10 billion people will require a radical transformation of producing, processing, trading foods while maintaining nutritional and sustainable status in the global food chain. According to Mr. Rajan, the vegetable market has the potential to offer an economic choice to marginal farmers due to its quick returns and changing consumer preferences. He stated that to alleviate agrarian distress, the government needs to deploy strategies and rapid, sustainable, and resourceful solutions.  

Further, the moderator introduced Mr. Atul Mehra, who compared the situation of the milk industry in the pre and post-Covid era and how we have managed to emerge as the biggest milk-producing nation after the significant movement that was ‘Operation Flood’. Looking at the current supply chain disruption, he talked about four factors that need to be worked upon, namely, Procurement, Processing, Distribution, and Consumption. According to him, some sectors as Ice-cream and skimmed milk powder might still have a negative impact on their demand, but on the other hand, bulk demand is expected to rise. Advancement in digitization and evaluation of changing food habits will help the industry recover post-Covid.

Next up we had Mr. Abhijit Duragkar, who mainly stressed Operational management, Audit and changing Consumer behaviour as the main factors in establishing a product in the market. According to Mr. Duragkar elevating customer need, rebooting the innovation model, rearranging current portfolio, revisiting brand building capacity, innovating your Go to Market Strategy, and lastly transforming the value chain are the major aspects that a company should focus on to ensure a strong producer-consumer relationship and establish their position in the market.

This was followed by Mr. Praveen Wagh who gave us valuable insight into the impact of Covid on the Retail Industry. He told us that the biggest questions imposed by the pandemic on Retail Industry are how Retail Industry has changed, how Supply Chain has changed, how the leaders are expected to behave, and what would be the future of jobs in this scenario. Mr. Wagh stated that consumer behaviour is changing as they are shifting from looking for cost-effective alternatives to safer food options and its knowledge of its sourcing. Supply chain leaders are expected to be more agile as they need to find a balance between the changing harvesting patterns and meeting consumer demands. In the job scenario, the need for skilled labour and middle management will be on the all-time rise which will make the Agri-Business sector more structured. 

On contrary to general belief, with the introduction of Artificial Intelligence, the jobs will increase but the requirement for unskilled labour will go down, promoting an overall growth in the sector.

After this, the floor was declared open for question and answer session for the students and the speakers were met with some acute and pertinent queries. The session was later concluded with a thank you note by Mr. Sharma.



E-Conclave 2020 Day 2- Session 4



Date: 31/10/2020

Time: 2 PM to 4 PM Indian Standard Time

Location: SIIB Pune Zoom Virtual Platform

Number of people attended: 500+

This year the Symbiosis Institute of International Business hosted the E-Conclave in virtual mode. The theme of the conclave was Future of Work Post Pandemic. The fourth session was on the theme ‘Future of Work Post Pandemic: Sustainability Next’ and participants attended on the virtual platform Zoom and viewers across the globe viewed the proceedings on YouTube.

Dr. Prakash Rao, the Deputy Director, SIIB and also the moderator for this session started the session by mentioning Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring on climate change and said that sustainability should become the cornerstone for human development. Sir also stressed the importance of adapting to sustainable ways of living, loss of biodiversity and food security. He mentioned that today, 31/10/2020 happens to be World Cities Day and then gave the floor to Mr. SanthoshJayaram to start his speech for the session.

The honorable speakers for the session were:

  1. Mr. Santhosh Jayaram, Partner & Head – Sustainability and CSR Advisory of KPMG

Mr. Santhosh Jayaram started by saying that this year is an ‘age of consequence’. He elaborated on 3 steps: the first one being the comparison of humans to elks in Yellowstone national park in the USA. The introduction of wolves there drove the elk population to decrease. He gave the Blackstone example of investors becoming climate activists. Sir had invested in an ESG fund and said that his fund was doing better than BlueChip funds and the biggest shift in the coming decades will be Net-Zero. Coming to the solar energy and EV space, he said as EVs have risen and petrol and diesel have been cash cows. He also gave the example of Saudi Aramco, which changed their business from crude-to-fuel to crude-to-chemicals. 

The second step was investing in a business; he gave the example of a KPMG IT executive who learned fundamental equations to master strategic sustainability and said that digitization is here to stay. He said that there will be more caution, more black swans and green swans in the future and that there will be a new order of consumerism.

 Mr. Arvind Bodhankar - Jt. Executive President & Chief Sustainability Officer – UltraTech Cement Ltd.

Mr. Arvind Bodhankar picked some points from Mr. Santhosh and said that we are already in the eighth month of the pandemic. Sir mentioned that on 17th September we had around 97,000 people affected and since then the recovery rate has improved a lot. He said that India is geared up to tackle the pandemic and said that his organization UltraTech Cements had surpassed EBITDA by 30% in Q2 this year by having proper policies in place. From 24/03/2020 to 15/04/2020 the company had developed its Standard Operating Procedures. The company started working on digitization early in the year and thus could implement in 2 to 3 months. The three attributes he focused upon were: business continuity, risk assessment and crisis management. 

Sir then moved on to the value chain where he mentioned that volumes and procurement had gone up by at least 30%, pre-delivery inspections happened virtually, chatbots and ERMs helped the company and that Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning had identified unsafe conditions and its application was found in remote access platforms like AnyDesk – a German proprietary remote desktop application distributed by AnyDesk Software GmbH. 

Mr. Gautham R K, Director – Sustainability – Cushman & Wakefield, India

Mr. Gautham R K talked about conferences with the future of business in the Post-Covid era, however; he had never been a part of the webinar with sustainability as the context in the Post-Covid world. He mentioned how this crisis has been a mirror to our unsustainable practices and this nature has provided us with a way to start with a clean slate. He elaborated on three factors namely Downside, Upside and Opportunity. On Downside of this pandemic, he talked about the return of disposables like single-use plastics, masks, PPE kits. 

He went on to talk about the Upside of the pandemic which resulted in cleaner air, cleaner water and muted noises that were generated by industrial activities. Fewer automobiles and limited industrial activities resulted in low emission levels. People stopped buying non-essential commodities and e-commerce platforms are used for buying essential commodities. The bulk generator of wet waste like hotels and restaurants are not generating waste due to low footfall. On the opportunity side of this pandemic, he mentioned how we can reset; redesign our habits and practices with a fresh mind. He mentioned the importance of wellness, resilience, climate justice, biodiversity and sustainability.

In the end, he corroborated his lecture by providing examples of innovation like low-density offices with 6 feet concept that will help businesses and people in the long run. He talked about the IT sector now being contributing towards the emissions that increased from 0.3% of total emission 10 years back to more than 3% of total emission in the pandemic. At last, he mentioned about the importance of sustainable lifestyle of employee or workforce of an organization wherein organization can educate employee to reduce their individual emissions.

After this, the floor was declared open for question and answer session for the students and the speakers were met with some acute and pertinent queries. The session was later concluded with a thank you note by Dr. Rao