Circular Economy for India: Perspectives on Stewardship Principles, Waste Management, and Energy Generation

Circular Economy for India: Perspectives on Stewardship Principles, Waste Management, and Energy Generation

Saravan Krishnamurthy (Symbiosis International University (Deemed), India), Geoffrey Fudurich (Ryerson University, Canada) and Prakash Rao (Symbiosis International University (Deemed), India)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 27
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8482-7.ch015

Abstract

The stewardship of resources for the good of the people is an ancient concept in India, practiced by revered kingdoms. This chapter discusses the original ideals of stewardship and how colonization caused a deterioration of this philosophy in favor of materialistic wealth generation. Colonization followed by the development of an industrialized and capitalistic leaning in the economy brought wealth and increased consumption for Indian people and also created multiple waste-related issues. These issues require a drastic overhaul of waste management practices, with particular attention to industrial ecology. Modern stewardship by India's CSR community is essential to prevent further environmental degradation due to poor waste management practices. The circular economy holds promise as a new economic system and philosophy that can refocus society towards the values of stewardship espoused by the nation's ancestors, while transitioning to a circular economy.
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Background: A Brief History Of India Relevant To Stewardship

A seminal research proposed a definition for stewardship:

Stewardship is the responsible use (including conservation) of natural resources in a way that takes full and balanced account of the interests of society, future generations, and other species, as well as of private needs, and accepts significant answerability to society. (Worrell & Appleby, 2000).

Stewardship is a willingness to be deeply accountable for a larger body than ourselves and puts leadership in the background (Block, 1993). While our current governance systems continue to be plagued by some form of colonialism, it is desirable to explore both worldly and religious interpretations (Block, 1993; Worrell & Appleby, 2000). Stewardship aims towards collective-serving rather than self-serving behavior (Davis et al., 1997). Even within business corporations, empirical evidence lends some support to stewardship theory (Donaldson & Davis, 1991). Stewardship, while keeping opportunistic tendencies in check, maximizes the potential performance of the system as a whole. Another seminal research reminds us of the great threats of modern times, global warming and finite fossil fuels, and implores us to pursue the much-needed cross-disciplinary flow of ideas (Chapin et al., 2009). This chapter explores cross-disciplinarily, beginning with a historical example, and arriving at recommendations for stronger accountability in adopting the modern method of circular economy.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Arthashastra: An ancient Indian treatise on statecraft, economic policy and military strategy, written in Sanskrit, in 2nd century BCE. The book Arthashastra has a broader scope, including the nature of government, law, civil and criminal court systems, ethics, economics, markets and trade, theories on war, nature of peace, and the duties and obligations of a king.

Linear Economy: Raw materials used to make product, after use, culminate in a landfill. In economies based on recycling, such waste materials are reused.

3Rs: The three terms used to address waste are reduce, reuse, and recycle. Reducing is cutting back on the amount of waste, reusing is finding a new way to use waste material, and recycling is using waste material to remake new goods that can be sold or used again.

Indigenous Studies: Studies in the academic field that examines the history, culture, politics, contemporary issues, and experiences of Native peoples of the land. Considering the people regarded as the original inhabitants of an area, as opposed to settlers from elsewhere.

Agency Theory: Agency theory in political science mentions the “agent”, who can make decisions on behalf of another person or people (i.e., “principal”). The dilemma occurs where the agent is motivated to act in his/her own best interests, which are contrary to those of the principal, thus becoming a moral hazard.

Social Power: The degree of influence that an individual or organization has among their peers and within their society as a whole. The social power can be credited to the level of eminence or knowledge that they possess in a field.

Urban Local Bodies (ULB): Urban local government implies the governance of an urban area by the people through their elected representatives. Government of India, 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992 provided constitutional status to local urban bodies.

Freedom of Association: Is the right for coming together with other individuals to collectively express, promote, pursue or defend common interests. Freedom of Association is both an individual right and a collective right, guaranteed by all modern and democratic legal systems.

Incinerator: A special large container for burning waste at very high temperatures. This thermal treatment of waste materials converts the waste into ash, flue gas and heat (which can be recovered as an energy source).

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