Eco Dispatch #9

27 February 2024

Hello, you amazing climate enthusiast,

Thank you for subscribing to Eco Dispatch, a monthly climate newsletter from The Sustainability Mafia (or SusMafia for you).

Each month, we will be bringing you stories and updates from the world of climate action, member milestones from our community, and resources that will inspire you to say - “Hell yes!” to making sustainability the default choice in your life.

Interested in joining the largest community of climate entrepreneurs? Find out more on our website.

On Small Changes That Make A Big Difference

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Viktor Frankl’s thoughts on Man’s Search For Meaning have resonated with generations of philosophers, ponderers, literature enthusiasts, and startup founders. 

The context to his governing conclusion is that Frankl, a war veteran, Holocaust survivor, and doctor, lost his family in the most cruel way imaginable- as prisoners in a concentration camp during World War II. 

When seen with that perspective in mind, his words take on a gravity of their own- after witnessing the worst that his time had to offer, he could yet manage to conclude that our ultimate superpower is our own state of mind.

Eventually, he would go on to become a psychiatrist, devoting his life to the development of psychotherapy as a science, and humanizing the war wounds that we cannot always see.

Sometimes, we presume that the only way to take meaningful action is to have a strong motive. That’s how the hero arc goes- we rise, we fall, and then we find the will to rise again.

But what do we do when the problem facing us does not come all at once? What if it arrives in bits and pieces, enough to desensitize us to the problem itself? How do we find reasons to strive for something bigger, then?

It begins, perhaps, with intent. To solve a problem so massive and so insidious that it requires the will of everyone who will come along.

And that includes you and that includes us.

We are human and therefore we have one last freedom- to choose our attitude, and that applies to the climate crisis as well. 

Every founder we feature today started with just that- a desire to throw themselves at a problem that seemed too big for them and see what emerges. To lead with curiosity over concern. To build solutions at scale, and across impact areas.

What happens when hundreds of us come together to solve the most pressing problems of our generation? 

Miracles, that’s what we think. 

Member Milestones

Smart Joules bags fundraiser issued by Denmark to IFU

Smart Joules, established in 2014, aims to provide extensive cooling solutions to industrial and corporate workspaces to increase energy efficiency and savings by more than 20%, pioneering a ‘Pay-As-You-Save’ model in India.

Under a new green strategic partnership between Denmark and India, Smart Joules is among the first to receive an investment. 

Varaha raises 72 crores to reduce carbon emissions in farming

Recently, Varaha raised around $8.7 Mn (INR 72.1 Cr) as a part of its Series A funding round led by RTP Global. Varaha is working closely with enrolling smallholder farmers, quantifying greenhouse emissions, and verifying and selling carbon credits.

Varaha plans to use these funds to improve its tech stack and science capacities, expanding operations in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa and meeting the growing demand for carbon credits.  This achievement comes after a seed round of $4 Mn led by Orios Venture Partners last year. 

Recircle wins big at the FICCI Circular Economy Symposium

Recircle has been awarded the Circular Business Model- Evolved Category award at the 7th FICCI Circular Economy Symposium & 4th Circular Economy Awards 2024. This award exemplifies their vision of committing to a pathway of sustainable resource recovery and pushing boundaries to achieve a circular economy in the future. 

Recircle is an emerging global leader in the space of waste transformation by employing solutions to waste pollution while engaging in sustainable practices and the social upliftment of informal workers.

Watsan Envirotech selected for the Water-Tech Accelerator Program

The Circle Founder Club (The Circle FC) a business accelerator for growth-stage startups announced the commencement of ‘The Water Challenge’ Accelerator Program. This initiative is in collaboration with the Embassy of Israel in India and IDE Technologies to empower 10 innovative water-tech organizations.

Watsan Envirotech emerged as a winner after a rigorous process of selection accompanied by an extensive interview.

Find out more and save water this summer by ordering yourself an award-winning purification kit using the link below.👇🏽

Without by Ashaya bags a deal on Shark Tank India

Without by Ashaya was featured in Shark Tank India, season 3 and emerged as an absolute icon and game changer in the space of sustainability by bagging a 75 lakh deal by selling one percent equity to Upgrade co-founder Ronnie Screwvala and Lenskart co-founder Piyush Bansal.

Entrepreneur and founder Anish Kishore Malpani, a risk-taker and innovator, zeroed in on the creative idea of producing eyewear like sunglasses from chips packets sourced from garbage waste. 

Through a combination of extensive research on plastic chip packets and the setting up of a research lab in Pune, he managed to convince the sharks on National television.

Ajinkya from Padcare makes the Forbes 30 under 30 list

Ajinkya Dhariya graduated as a mechanical engineer and began his journey of developing the world’s first patented technology that recycles sanitary pads and napkins by extracting and recovering the pulp and plastic from the pads to use for industrial purposes. 

Padcare Labs was launched in 2018 which has changed the way we look at the technology involved in reshaping menstrual hygiene and waste management practices that minimize pollution and alleviate issues of disposal. Their recycling technology, PadCareX, breaks down absorbent sanitary waste into high-quality by-products. 

Program Updates

Sustainability Ventures

In the first cohort, 50 student entrepreneurs from multiple engineering disciplines across the Hyderabad, Goa, and Pilani campuses of BITS Pilani enrolled in the Sustainability Ventures program to build 14 Climate Startups!

In the 18 lectures conducted so far, along with professors from BITS Pilani, industry leaders like Saurabh Kumar of GEAPP, Shyamal Kumar of Lavelle Networks, and Jason Jay of MIT School of Sustainability have taken guest lectures. 

The startups have gone through the journey of target market selection, customer segmentation, and determining the USP of their solutions and are currently in the phase of exploring their choice of operating business models.

Climate Ninja Program

The Climate Ninja Program is the best pathway for youth who want to work in the Climate Ecosystem, and we’re jumping the growth ladder to bring this to institutes across India and drive Gen-Z to Climate Action.

We kicked off our call for applications for Cohort 4 before the end of 2023 and received a massive response from Climate-focused students and young professionals.

On another front, our Student Chapters have been hustling and new ones have been cropping up. Notably, Aalok Deshmukh, MD and Co-Founder at SuperHumanRace spoke at IIM-L Noida Campus to the students of PGP – Sustainable Management as an introductory event for the Student Chapter. 


SCALE 2024

SOLVING FOR CLIMATE ACTION BY LEVERAGING THE ECOSYSTEM (SCALE) is holding a conference from 4th-6th March 2024 to find solutions for scaling your technology which can then be adopted by nations in the Global South to tackle climate change.

Why should you attend?

It is an interactive opportunity to engage in conversations with Tech startups, potential JV partners, strategic partners from family offices and corporates, and access quality talent. 

Our Mafiosos at SCALE include-

Rishika Reddy - The Mend Packaging
Mansi Jain - Digital Paani
Ajinkya Dhariya - Padcare
Arjun Gupta - Smart Joules
Ganesh Shankar - FluxGen Technologies

String Bio’s Report - ‘Responsible Rice: Call to Action’

String Bio is hosting an engaging panel discussion on the future of rice cultivation on 27th February 2024. That’s today!

Esteemed panelists will share diverse insights, exploring the collective responsibility in shaping sustainable rice practices. String Bio will also launch the groundbreaking report, "Responsible Rice: Call to Action".

Solve the SDG

India’s first-ever Solve the SDGs hackathon is here in collaboration with Accenture, IIT Madras, and Aalto University, Finland!

Solve the SDGs is a 48-hour hackathon on two continents for one purpose: creating solutions to real sustainability challenges provided by various organizations. Our Ninjas will be there in troves and we recommend you apply and spread the word among Climate Enthusiast Students.

Want more inspiration? We got you covered

A little inspiration goes a long way- all of the founders we featured this month started with a simple idea- to make the world a better place through their skills and their actions.

If you’re looking for some inspiration to get you going, here are some resources our team recommends. 

Send us your climate-positive recommendations, tips, and content suggestions by responding to this email!

The Ocean Connection

The Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) is one of the seven marine turtle species found in the oceans of the world. In a move that captures every storyteller’s imagination, the female turtle always returns to the same beach from where it hatched, to lay its eggs.  

Talk about life coming full circle!

Today, Olive Ridleys face serious threats across their migratory route, habitat, and nesting beaches, due to human intervention. These turtles are considered endangered because of their few remaining nesting sites in the world. Honavar, a small coastal town in Karnataka is one such nesting site.

This documentary features the threats faced by the turtles on the nesting beaches of Honavar. But it also presents the heartwarming story of a community conservation effort where fishermen have come together to protect the beaches that are so critical for this species. 

Our Planet 

Our Planet is a groundbreaking Netflix Original documentary and the winner of two Emmy Awards. The series focuses on the wildlife and natural wonders of eight different ecosystems and has been noted for its greater focus on human impact on the environment than traditional nature documentaries, centering around how climate change impacts all living creatures. 

It is the first nature documentary Netflix has ever made, and makes a great conversation starter with growing kids.