The Sustainability Mafia : A brief about all that we are

5 December 2023

Who are we?

The Sustainability Mafia is a community of Sustainability frenzied people - primarily entrepreneurs supplemented by select Investors and volunteers. We’re a bunch who have banded together, acting like a Mafia, because we believe our collective strength is crucial to go head to head with the cartels obstructing effective Climate Action.

We have come a long way but like all great things came from humble beginnings. A rant group - that’s how we started out, because our founding directors could not find like minded people to chat about their hardships as Climate Tech Entrepreneurs.

The Blog that started it - by Ganesh

Dear friends,

Hope you had a great time on Ganesha Chaturthi last week. Since I’m named after the God, the stories of Lord Ganesha have been of great interest to me. Like for instance I used to wonder during my college days why do people worship lord Ganesha made of clay, and then why so much flowers and leaves are cut from plants to celebrate the festival. To an extent I was reluctant to be even part of the festival until I heard this story later in my life:

The story goes this way, Yudhistira also known as Dharmaraya from Mahabharata, was advised by Lord Krishna to perform fast on Bhadrapada masa shukla paksha (fourth day of waxing moon period) in the name of Lord Ganesha, the virtues one who’s thoughts will take away all your worries. Krishna further suggested on making a clay idol of Ganesha from his garden and do the pooja with various flowers and leaves that he would grow in his garden to do the ritual. The idea was to get inspired by the virtues of Ganesha who had gained great siddhi and buddhi, in a symbolic way.

The above is a short version of a long story. What made me think about the story is that if one takes the ritual very seriously then they really have to grow so many variety of plants and trees to have the flowers and leaves required to perform the pooja. The fact the idol is made of clay and will be put back to a pond after a few days also appealed to me. Well, it’s very difficult to grow all the plants required to perform the pooja, however, if it is done so then I can imagine a wonderful garden. A pond in this place would make it just perfect. Taking a closer look on the pooja process, I felt that the festival unintentionally or intentionally promotes greater sustainability of life on earth.

Coincidentally, I started my career in Sustainability, about eight years back to work with Selco Solar, just after performing the Ganesha Chaturthi pooja . So far I have had my share of luck and a fair bit of success. This Ganesha Chaturthi, I thought why not start a forum for people in Sustainability, with an intention of keeping the planet the way we got it or may be make it even better than how we got it. Thanks to my colleagues at FluxGen and 14W Technologies, friends from Orxa Energy, HenRin, Solarify and researchers from IISc we have started a group to promote Sustainable Technologies called Sustainability Mafia! (Yeah, you read it right, it’s a Mafia!)

More to come soon — do subscribe to the posts. Please mail me if you wish to be part of the mafia!



Staying true to our character - we’re a community by and for Climate Tech Entrepreneurs

The Sustainability Mafia has had several opportunities to sell its soul, and evolve into a cash cow, but it's not who we are. Since Ganesh’s article and even when we formalized it as a Section-8 not-for-profit, the underlying goal has been to work towards the betterment of this planet, for our sake if nothing else - and the belief was, and is that the best way to do this is to enable Climate Tech Entrepreneurs. Our core audience has and always will be our Mafiosos, because without these adventurous avengers of the planet, Climate Action at scale will cease. 

The Present - Our programs and partners

Today 5 years since the ideas for SusMafia was originally conceived, we have come a long way. We actively run 3 programs - Climate Ninja Program, Investado Program and the latest game changer, Sustainability Ventures. We are leveraging our community and larger network to bring Climate Action and drive value for multiple audiences in association with passionate individuals and organizations.

We started our first SusMafia Student Chapter at TERI SAS in September 2023, leverage JPMC’s FFG program to build a platform for Climate Ninja, and are launching Sustainability Ventures at Masters’ Union and BITS in the coming months. We are sure to onboard many more institutions as partners for these programs as the effects of Climate Change become more apparent, and Climate Action becomes more urgent.

Over the years we’ve had multiple partners support us financially or as a part of a our various programs in addition to our Mafiosos chipping in. Our mission is to ‘TO MULTIPLY THE IMPACT OF SUSTAINABILITY LEADERS THROUGH GOAL ORIENTED COLLABORATIONS’, and SusMafia would have been a fraction of what we are without our collaboration with our donors and partners. We look forward to associating with more such individuals and organizations to multiply the good work of our community.

What’s in store?

There is much to be done and we have lofty goals for our programs. We want to build a ‘LinkedIn for Green Jobs’ for our Climate Ninjas and are aiming to launch at least 10 Student Chapters over the next 6 months to that end. Sustainability Ventures has a crystal clear goal - 100 Sustainability Ventures within the next 3 years. Both will grow rapidly to enable talent and Climate Tech Startups to drive Climate Action. So much more in the wraps which we will unveil soon including some super cool partnerships that will take us into another orbit.

At the core however, we are a community, of Climate Tech entrepreneurs, of individuals passionate about climate and the environment, of humans whose thoughts resonate, a community of friends. The Sustainability Mafia will always be a group of people, and your interactions with us will always have the human touch and will continue to enable Climate Tech Entrepreneurs along the arduous journey of being one. Stay tuned and feel free to reach out, we’re always happy to make new friends.