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E-Conclave Report Day 2

The second day of SIIB’s E-Conclave 2020 was held on 31st October, 2020. There were two sessions conducted on day two and the theme for session three was ‘Future of Work Post Pandemic – Global Food Chain’ and for session four was ‘Future of Work Post Pandemic: Sustainability Next’.

Session three on 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 event 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 event 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 was played that captured the essence of the topic and was followed by an introductory note by our Director, Dr. Asmita Chitnis. 

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. He stated that agricultural 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 him 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.

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.

Mr. Abhijit Duragkar, who mainly stressed on Operational management, Audit and changing Consumer behaviour as the main factors in establishing a product in the market. According to him elevating customer needs, 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.

Mr. Praveen Wagh who gave us valuable insight into the impact of Covid on the Retail Industry. He pointed the biggest question imposed by the pandemic on Retail Industry and how the Supply Chain and Retail Industry has changed, how the leaders are expected to behave, and what would be the future of jobs in this scenario. He stated that consumer behaviour is changing as they are shifting from 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 of skilled labour and middle management will be on 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.

The session was later concluded with a thank you note by Dr. Ravi Sharma, Assistant Professor in the Department of Energy and Environment.

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Session four on Future of Work Post Pandemic: Sustainability Next”

The moderator for the session was Dy Director, Dr Prakash Rao and he 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. He also stressed the importance of adapting to sustainable ways of living, loss of biodiversity and food security. He mentioned that today (i.e. 31st October 2020) happens to be the World Cities Day.

The keynote speakers for the event were Mr. Santhosh Jayaram, Partner & Head – Sustainability and CSR Advisory of KPMG, Mr. Arvind Bodhankar - Jt. Executive President & Chief Sustainability Officer – UltraTech Cement Ltd and Mr. Gautham R K, Director – Sustainability – Cushman & Wakefield, India

Mr. Santhosh Jayaram addressed the audience by saying that this year is an ‘age of consequence’. He gave many examples like the Blackstone where the investors are becoming climate activists, Saudi Aramco, that changed their business from crude-to-fuel to crude-to-chemicals and KPMG IT executive who learned fundamental equations to master strategic sustainability. Coming to the solar energy and electric vehicles (EV) space, he said as EVs have risen, the petroleum productslike petrol and diesel have been cash cows. He said it would be far better to err on the side of caution as there would be more black swans and green swans in future and may enter in a new era of "Consumerism" 

Mr. Arvind Bodhankar focused on three attributes that were business continuity, risk assessment and crisis management. He then moved on to 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 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 talked about conferences with the future of business in the Post-Covid era. 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 further indicated 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.

The session was later concluded with a thank you note by Dr. Prakash Rao.

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