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The role of business in society is not new and has existed in the form of philanthropy through the course of human history but in various manifestations. Its scope, coverage and impact also continued to evolve. Over time, community, however, expected from businesses an “obligatory” role through a “social compact.” Subsequently, sovereign states introduced laws, regulations, frameworks and provisions to mandate businesses responsibility in support of societal purposes and well-being covering a swathe of areas, among others, education, health, livelihoods, environment, air, water, biodiversity, green growth, and sustainable development.
The history of societal transformation has kept pace with changing paradigms and changes that shaped its relations both with the businesses, the state, and the civil society –independently and interdependently. These benign and sometimes adversarial relations between and among the stakeholders accelerated actions towards frameworks, treaties, and goals and came to redefine the future of human welfare that set-in motion a renewed focus on co-creation and collaboration.
Over the years, sustainability, in all of these, has remained a common strand and now discourse is more about collective and joint actions both within and beyond national boundaries to re-set the pathways of relocating new grounds for a just and a fair course of green growth. This would essentially determine societal progress led by business transformation in harmony with nature, consistent with new role that science, technology, and innovation would contribute to making development more people-centric in times ahead.