IIM Alumni promotes sustainable development

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Singapore, Apr 20 (UNI) Some 700 alumni of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) in Singapore continued their three-year old annual series for promoting green-environment and sustainable development globally, with the support of multi-national corporations.

The IIMPact signature series events, held first in 2005, aims to increase awareness of the critical global business imperative within the corporate professionals and management students, said IIM organisers at the annual dinner held in Singapore's Raffles City Convention Centre last night.

Indian High Commissioner S Jaishankar and Pakistan High Commission Sajjad Ashraf joined the dean of Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Prof Kishore Mahbubani and 400 delegates at the event, themed 'Sustainable Development'.

''With our IIMPact series, we aim to bring together organisations, corporate professionals, management students and alumni members to engage in stimulating discussions relating to relevant and topical business challenges,'' explained Sanjiv Aiyar, President of the IIM Calcutta -- Singapore Chapter.

Singapore, where a growing number of projects are being regularly launched relating to global carbon emissions and enviornmental issues, is the obvious choice for the IIM alumni community, the largest outside India.

The series promotes innovative ideas of students, having this year attracted 75 entries from 14 business schools in Asia.

Mr Aiyar expects to make it a global event next year, inviting innovative ideas from business schools from all over the world.

Winner of this year's 'Business Plan Challenge 2007-2008 on Innovative Ideas for Sustainable Development' was a team from the Business School of National University of Singapore, which presented a plan for recycling cooking oil from hotels, restaurants and other food catering outlets into biofuels/biodiesel.

The series are regularly supported and sponsored by international corporations including ICICI Bank, ING, Merrill Lynch and Lois Vuitton Moet Hennessy as well as the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Separately, Singapore-based corporations are getting actively involved in environmental conservation projects.

The state's Keppel Group, National University of Singapore and National Environment Agency, are working on the first coral nursery at a site off Pulau Semakau, an island off Singapore.

''This coral nursery will enable us to proactively enhance existing marine habitats by maximising the survival of naturally occurring corals,'' said a Keppel spokeswoman.

Marine conservation in Singapore has always posed a much greater challenge than land conservation as it is the busiest ports in the world, she pointed out.

The two-year Semakau project aims to grow as many hard coral fragments as possible.

Suitable candidate species for propagation of coral colonies will be grown to sufficient size and transplanted to coral reefs off the southern coast of Singapore to enhance the ecological health of these coral reef habitats.

The species that are fragments damaged by some impact, are collected from existing reefs in Singapore and nursed to a level before planting them back in the original places.

Unlike commercial nurseries that make use of fragments deliberately broken off from healthy colonies, no healthy colonies will be used at the Keppel nursery, assured Singapore's top congolomerate. Development and industrialization have impacted coral reefs in Singapore over the years.

''Even though it has been reported that 60 per cent of the local original reefs have been lost, Singapore still boast high biological diversity with almost 200 species of reef-forming hard corals. This accounts for about 25 per cent of the global total species,'' Keppel points out.

''This proactive marine conservation initiative seeks to sustain the marine biodiversity in Singapore as development here continues,'' it said.

UNI XC MP VP0715

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