“niiti”, a Sanskrit word means, in different contexts, policy, ethics, tenets. To us, who belong here, it is our raison d’etre, our touchstone. So we constantly turn to our ethics and tenets when we re-examine the basis of what we do and how we do it over and over again. This is our space to engage with our core, with you, our readers and companions on the path towards an equitable society in the deepest meaning of the word. Over the past years, there are several social issues and organisations that we have engaged with and been enriched with both experience and knowledge along the way. We believe that in creating a conversation platform for those engaged in the field, including some of our clients, partners, all of you out there who have reached this site wanting to be the change and others who have expertise to comment and critique, we can actually crowd-source actions and solutions for some of our most pressing social issues.

Some of these stories feature organisations and people who have been the change; others highlight innovative approaches to long-entrenched social issues; yet others point to ways in which change can be facilitated, simply. If you are inspired by them as well and motivated to replicate their work, or want to share inputs on other bright examples like these, do write to us at

This is your platform. Feel free to contribute, critique, and most importantly, converse.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Role of sustainable development in carbon offsetting

The Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) aims to help industrialized countries with emissions reduction targets to meet their targets by generating credits from the developing world, and to help developing countries achieve sustainable development goals and to reduce climate change. Sustainable development forms a core concept in exercising the CDM. However, the term sustainable development is defined rather vaguely.

If one does attempt to define sustainable development as the coming together of social, economic and environmental objectives, most projects which claim to be sustainability-focused suddenly do not seem so sustainable after all. With the lack of a definition, countries have chosen to define sustainability as per their convenience especially considering the conflict of interest they face regarding attracting investment versus sustainable development choices. Many standards are available in the current market to assess sustainable development through indicators but there still continues to be a considerable backlash from academia stating that most CDM projects have not lived up to their commitment of sustainable development as promised.

However, carbon offsetting plays a small part in promoting sustainable development by setting it as a criterion. It advances efficient energy use and moving to better alternatives. Unfortunately, that makes for a very thin silver lining to the cloud and increased standardization is required for fulfill the condition of sustainable development in a more wholesome manner.

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