Shailendra Singh, Founder, SustainMantra, focused on Sustainability and the Circular
Shailendra is a sustainable development strategist, with a keen appreciation of the impact of climate change on business models.
India is a country where we worship nature. However, we also have left no stone unturned in its exploitation. We have exploited it to the extent where it has become dangerous for us. We see many natural calamities happening due to it. We talk about nature for a few days and then we go back to our daily lives like nothing happened. However, we still have some people who are continuously working on this problem. One of those people is our guest for today, Mr. Shailendra Singh.
Shailendra Singh is the founder of SustainMantra. SustainMantra focuses on sustainability and the circular economy. He is a managing partner at an organization called Green Easy. Shailendra Singh also is quite experienced in chemical and plastic packaging. He has an experience of 30+ years of the same with multinational companies.
Shailendra tells us that his career has always been connected to the use of plastic. Some time back he realised that plastic has become a big issue for the environment. He saw many posters and pictures showing the bad effects of plastic on the environment. He tells us that plastic is only one part of the problem, not the whole problem. There are many other issues that need to be addressed. He decided to do something about it and this is how SustainMantra came into existence.
How is SustainMantra addressing air and water challenges
As Shailendra tells us, SustainMantra is trying to simplify sustainability so that people can understand and practice that. Secondly, he states that 60-70% industry in every country is covered by the MSME sector. He believes that if you want to scale something you have to get the MSME sector along. Hence, SustainMantra asks small companies to make a self-assessment of where they stand in sustainability. As they go through the process of self-assessment, they see the gaps and understand the needs of sustainability better. Once they have identified the gaps, SustainMantra helps them fill that.
Challenges faced by SustainMantra in preaching sustainability to MSME sector
The biggest and most common challenge Shailendra talks about is building awareness. He tells us that some people don’t understand and argue otherwise when told about environmental issues. However, Shailendra takes the challenge and teaches them with figures and charts why sustainability is important and why we cannot afford to postpone it.
Some of SustainMantra’s works
Shailendra tells us about a company involved in chemicals with an annual turnover over 600 crores. He tells us that the company was eager to do sustainable development and was already working on it. They were making green chemicals. As SustainMantra approached it, they didn’t understand what wrong they were doing and where they were lacking. After some conversations with them, SustainMantra suggested to them what more they could do to protect the environment. They realised and followed.
How difficult is it to achieve the sustainability standards set by different governments for different industries?
Shailendra believes that India is a very regulated country. We have a law for almost everything. The issue is to get the regulations implemented on ground level. He also believes that thought to sustain should come naturally to corporations and not just because there is a law. It should not be about following the rules but about the planet we live on.
In Shailendra’s words, “Circular economy is a kind of economy where there is no waste, everything is a resource”. We thrive to make our economy a circular economy. But it is easier said than done. It is very difficult to create an economy where the wastage is minimum when we already have a hundred years old linear economy. However, Shailendra also states that the MSME sector is largely getting awareness and accepting the circular economy. In Shailendra’s opinion, Indians just need a few successful examples of waste management and they will understand and contribute to the circular economy.
How is the corporate world contributing to sustainability?
Shailendra says that if you look at the top 50 corporations in the world they are excellently working towards sustainability. But if you keep those 50 organisations aside, the fall is very steep and low. The problem is the MSME sector not understanding the concept of sustainability. They need to be given education about it.
Green Easy is an organization that rates the built environment. There are many other popular organizations in different countries that do the same.