The Hon’ble Minister of Education and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated the initiative.
Kotak School of Sustainability will focus on multiple facets of sustainability enabling India’s goal of pursuing sustainable development
New Delhi, 14 December 2023: The Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK) and the Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited (“KMBL”/ “Kotak”) today announced the launch of Kotak School of Sustainability – India’s first fully integrated school of sustainability at IIT Kanpur. The launch event was graced by Shri. Dharmendra Pradhan, Hon’ble Union Minister of Education and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India as the chief guest; Dr. Abhay Karandikar, Secretary, Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, and Shri. Nagendra Nath Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Steel, as guests of honour; Prof. S. Ganesh, Director, IIT Kanpur; Mr. Prakash Apte, Chairman Kotak Mahindra Bank, Shanti Ekambaram, Whole-time Director, Kotak Mahindra Bank, C S Rajan, Independent Director, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Himanshu Nivsarkar, Senior EVP and Head CSR, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Mr. Kapil Kaul, Chief Executive Officer, IIT Kanpur Development Foundation.
Global warming poses a serious threat to our existence, manifesting in untimely natural calamities, pollution, and biodiversity loss. Research indicates irreversible ‘Tipping Points’ with rapid, harmful climatic changes. Realising this is an imminent existential crisis and that anthropogenic activities need to be environmentally sustainable; world leaders have been discussing in COP (Conference of Parties) meetings to come up with policies and actions that can lead to a sustainable future. The United Nations (UN’s) seventeen sustainable development goals address this challenge, crucial in densely populated countries like India. Urgent climate actions are needed to mitigate, adapt, and build resilience.
Despite the challenge, collaboration among policymakers, academia, businesses, and society offers opportunities for the mitigation, adaptation and resilience to climate change. In addressing the climate-driven sustainability challenge, educational institutions play a vital role. The UN emphasizes education’s role in promoting climate action, empowering people to understand and address climate impacts. Sustainability education and research require academic institutions to blend environmental science and clean technology-based approaches with social, economic and ecological aspects of sustainability. Institutions, through Education, Empowerment, and Engagement (3E), can lead climate action, empowering communities and conserving the natural ecosystem.
To address this challenge, IIT Kanpur and KMBL have come together to establish India’s first integrated School of Sustainability. KMBL is funding IITK through its CSR program to establish Kotak School of Sustainability with a vision to promote pedigree education, research, and outreach. Kotak and IITK believe that this School is poised to offer thought leadership solutions towards sustainability actions and prepare future generations to lead the cause of sustainable development. The School will bring together departments and centres of excellence at IITK with an aim to provide an enabling environment for collaborative research across multiple facets of sustainability. Kotak School of Sustainability will have dedicated centres of excellence covering different aspects of sustainability such as clean energy, environment, ecology, circular economy, climate finance, sustainable societies and policy.
The Kotak School of Sustainability will be led by tenured professors and leading industry experts from across the globe. The School is placed to run both undergraduate and postgraduate academic and skill-building programs in different themes of sustainability. The School will be housed in a green building in IITK’s main campus that will be platinum-rated with net zero practices on energy, water, and waste.
Shri. Dharmendra Pradhan, Hon’ble Union Minister of Education and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India, said “The National Research Foundation was set up to boost research and innovation through funding from industry and government. I thank Kotak Mahindra Bank for taking the right step and accepting the responsibility by contributing towards setting up the School of Sustainability. The Kotak School of Sustainability will give global leadership in the field in line with the history of IIT Kanpur and its alumni who are leaders in organizations across the world. The school will not only be about technology and economics, but will cover the A to Z of sustainability. This will be instrumental in helping India meet the ambitious target of net zero by 2070, as announced by our Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi ji.”
Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Secretary, Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India, said, “Kotak School of Sustainability highlights IIT Kanpur’s commitment to offer a holistic approach to address sustainability challenges due to climate change. School’s mission are in sync with India’s National Missions related to sustainability. The school will help in developing a strong foundation for sustainable development to achieve a climate resilient economy and society and will support country’s climate action plans and national target to reach net zero by 2070.”
Shri. Nagendra Nath Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Steel, said “Opening of a School of sustainability serves an important need of the Indian economy. The goal of Sustainability requires inter-disciplinary approach which this school offers while the solutions must be contextual. The school would be able to draw faculty, researchers, students, policymakers, and diverse stakeholders to attempt solutions to complex and seemingly intractable problems. I am looking forward to this institution significantly contributing towards the progress of the society and economy, benign to Mother Earth.”
Mr. Prakash Apte, Chairman, Kotak Mahindra Bank said, “We are delighted to announce the establishment of the Kotak School of Sustainability in association with IIT Kanpur. This association in line with our CSR vision to enhance the quality of life for communities through positive impacts on economic, social, and environmental parameters, aligns with India’s social development objectives and UN’s SDGs. We believe the creation of this School provides both Kotak and IIT Kanpur with a timely opportunity to create a legacy and work towards sustainability, the most important survival challenge we face today.”
Prof. S. Ganesh, Director, IIT Kanpur, said, “Sustainability has emerged as one of the foremost global challenges of our times which requires various stakeholders to work together and the role of educational institutes like ours is extremely crucial in this mission. Adding to many of IIT Kanpur’s path-breaking initiatives and with the generous CSR funding support from Kotak Mahindra Bank, Institute is establishing ‘Kotak School of Sustainability’ with the overall vision of providing thought leadership, developing concrete solutions toward sustainability actions, and preparing future generations to lead the cause of sustainable development.”
Ms. Shanti Ekambaram, Whole time Director, Kotak Mahindra Bank said, “As India continues on its growth path with aspirations to reach high middle-income status, our ability to exist and develop without depleting all of the natural resources will be a challenge that needs to be addressed. The Kotak School of Sustainability marks our commitment to contribute to growing India’s skilled workforce towards achieving the goal of long-term sustainable development including its net-zero target by 2070. The Bank’s CSR Project being implemented in association with IIT Kanpur will focus on enhancing home-grown capabilities to address sustainable development.”
Prof. Ashish Garg, Professor-in-Charge of the School, said, “The Kotak School of Sustainability aims to excel in sustainability education, research and innovation, technology development, entrepreneurship, and outreach. The key to the development of holistic end-to-end technology solutions for sustainable development will be school’s emphasis on synergistic integration of different aspects of sustainability for greater educational, scientific, technological, environmental and social impact.”
Kotak Karma is the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) identity of the Kotak Mahindra Group of companies.