Strategies to Mitigate Tragedies of the Commons

As the world is acknowledging, sustainable development is the need of the hour, especially for India and our current government recognises its importance. Propagating the issue of sustainability and its adoption to make the society and environment more live-able is very much required today. It is also imperative to appreciate the nature of the tragedies of the commons and the implications for sustainable and inclusive development.

The theme of the fourth annual conference of Centre for Responsible Business (CRB) “From Tragedies of the Commons to the Strategies for the Commons” underlines this. CRB, the global Centre of excellence, will organise this three day’s conference ‘India and Sustainability Standards: International Dialogues & Conference’ (ISS, 2017) from 15-17 November, 2017 at India Habitat Centre (IHC), New Delhi.  ISS 2017 will provide most sought after dialogue with multiple stakeholders about adopting and implementing the practice of sustainable development at various sectors, fields and levels besides creating huge knowledge bank and developing tools for the change.

The ISS 2017 is very relevant keeping few major and much publicised initiatives of Government of India in view. These initiatives like Make in India, Skill India, Zero Effect Zero Defect (ZED), Swachchh Bharat (Clean India), Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (cooking gas accessibility to underprivileged) are around now for more than three years. The dialogues at the conference take a stock of these initiatives and contribute a lot to make them more effective and sustainable.

It has been noted that the knowledge, technology and skills to create a new sustainable economy exists, but a much stronger political will, business leaders commitment, and civil society engagement is required to develop a common rhetoric and to resolve varying ideologies and conflicting interests. Public policies, diverse ideologies and contradictory interests are resulting in market conditions that are stacked against pro-sustainability approaches, applications and adoption of new business models and technologies, even though they would be in long-term common interest.

Due to the globalisation of neo-liberal values like free market competition, individual rational choice, and lesser government, social trust is conventionally reliant on confidence in the institutional mediation of individual interests. Business as the most powerful institution in the modern age, government with the constitutional mandate and civil society as a watchdog are relevant in this respect. In liberal democracies government act if there is a broadly supported political will, i.e. adequate social capital for pro-sustainability strategies in the business community, civil society and wider society.

The principal aim of the India and Sustainability Standards: International Dialogues & Conference will be to move towards building Social Capital for Pro-Sustainability Strategies and help provide required knowledge, tools and advocacy to the companies and businesses to be more sustainable. Though Voluntary sustainability standards are getting more acceptance these days, since businesses in India, especially in the manufacturing sector, will be facing the compliance issue sooner or later as well in terms of sustainability, this conference will be very helpful for the businesses, government agencies and civil society organisations.

ISS 2017 is aimed to generate dialogues and set in motion processes to build social capital for pro-sustainability strategies among the business community, policymakers, civil society, and wider society in India and beyond.

The journey of ISS, conceptualised by CRB, began in 2014. With overwhelming response and encouragement received over the years, ISS evolved into India based independent international Multi-stakeholder Dialogue Platform. The ISS convenes diverse industry sectors and themes in different formats every year in November, with Partners as Co-hosts and Convenors – to deliberate and dialogue on the status, challenges and opportunities inherent in each sector and theme covered.

An international centre of excellence, CRB is working to promote collaborative sustainability initiatives and sustainability standards as voluntary and self-governance tools and mechanism among various stakeholders since 2010. As one of the important element of this endeavour, it has been organising this conference since 2014.

Over the years, we received huge encouragement and support for the initiative from large and small businesses, public sector companies, government, international and multilateral agencies, standard setter organizations and civil society. This event has now emerged as a strong India-based international multi-stakeholder platform, attracting Indian and international policymakers too. In the last three years, the conference has received patronage from over 1500 delegates and more than 100 partners from across the world and created a benchmark of its own.


This conference has now become a much awaited international sustainability conference based in India. The event offers an occasion to dialogue on challenges and opportunities presented by international and Indian Sustainability Standards and Collaborative Sustainability Initiatives, in supporting business and policy contributions towards positive social, economic and environmental impacts in India and beyond.

The ISS 2017 would be a conclave for participatory and inclusive dialogues on opportunities and challenges for promoting responsible business in India and beyond, with special reference to sustainability standards and collaborative sustainability initiatives. The 2017 edition of ​‘India and Sustainability Standards: International Dialogues and Conference’ will aim at:

  • Providing intellectual guidance and bring forward experiences and evidences to the issues and challenges of sustainability.
  • Presenting business case and practical/tangible solutions to adopt, practice and promote sustainability.
  • Mobilizing stakeholders to strive for creating better “People, Planet and Profit”
  • Devising ways and mechanisms for inclusive voluntary governance for sustainability through standards.
  • Creating better visibility and awareness towards the benefits and requirement of sustainable growth, particularly in India.

ISS 2017 has been planned as a three-day event. The first day would revolve around the theme of this year’s conference i.e From Tragedies of the Commons to the Strategies for the Commons. The next two days of the conference would comprise more than 20 parallel sessions.

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