The heroes protecting the environment through social enterprises, activism


The heroes protecting the environment through social enterprises and activism

Because climate change is real

By ELLE team  May 28th, 2020

Meet the trailblazers who are sounding the alarm on climate change, boldly questioning policymakers and fiercely advocating environmental conservation.

Svanika Balasubramanian, Aditya Siroya and Peter Wang Hjemdahl
FOUNDERS OF REPURPOSE GLOBAL, WORLD’S FIRST PLASTIC CREDIT PLATFORM

According to Great Britain’s Royal Statistical Society, more than 90 per cent of the plastic produced is not recycled, and it takes more than 400 years for it to degrade. But, rePurpose Global—started by Wharton graduates Peter Wang Hjemdahl, Svanika Balasubramanian and Aditya Siroya in 2018—is a social enterprise that helps you offset your plastic footprint by providing financial and technical assistance to a global network of vetted recycling projects across three continents and six countries.

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[L to R] Peter, Svanika and Aditya

Licypriya Devi Kangujam
8 YEAR-OLD CLIMATE CHANGE ACTIVIST AND FOUNDER OF THE CHILD MOVEMENT

Eight year-old Licypriya Devi Kangujam has travelled to over 32 countries to raise her concerns about climate change. Her foray into activism began after she attended a UN disaster conference in Mongolia in 2018. “It was life-changing for me because I met world leaders and delegates who spoke about uniting to save the planet,” she says. Once she was back, she set up The Child Movement, as a network for other children to raise their voices to bring about a global change.

Ronit Kanwar
CO-FOUNDER OF EMPOWER ENERGY, A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE THAT PROVIDES ELECTRICITY TO RURAL INDIA THROUGH SOLAR ATMS

Although Rohit Kanwar grew up in the UK, he would often return to India to meet his grandparents. “I still remember being petrified whenever there was a power cut. Knowing this was the norm for millions across India was truly moving and I wanted to do something about it,” he says. So, he decided to co-found Empower Energy along with Gideon Laux, as a social enterprise, which would distribute life-changing technologies to rural communities, such as solar lamps.

He believes that global challenges can be solved by ensuring that profits are always aligned with impact. This pushes corporations to act in a sustainable manner and they can be scalable as well. “By distributing solar lamps we’ve seen our customers reduce kerosene usage and women entrepreneurs double their income as they were able to produce leaf plates after sunset, which they previously could not do,” he explains.

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