A Message from the Chairman

Hello there!!!

I am delighted, indeed gratified, to see your intellectual presence on this website, spending your precious time reading this message. I am gratified coz your presence signifies (to me) that you are a passionate individual committed to the cause of planet’s state of environment. You may perhaps be looking for ways to be helpful, albeit, in your own special way that makes you most happy! Well, my friend, that is a precious thought and so are you! Please hold your ideas until the end of this message when I address how you can get in touch and share with us your environmental ideas and aspirations. Mind you, we are not looking for resources per se, we are looking for out-of-the-box ideas that are loaded with significant environmental value.

Before I address the Foundation’s philosophy and unique approaches, it is important that I share one of my pet peeves with you and put it out of the way. These days, it has become fashionable to wrap the current state of environment in projections of despair and doom. A well-known periodical, that will remain nameless, suggested using such phraseology as climate cancer or climate calamity in order to goad people into action. Respectfully, I beg to dissociate from such messages. In my view, such frightening admonitions would only serve to instill a sense of fear and futility that, in turn, would engender inaction and abandonment.

Founder and Chair, Prof Ashok Kumar receives Global Green Award 2020 at the World Environment Summit 2020, New Delhi

That negativity off my chest, I would like to adduce some facts that should convince the nastiest of the naysayers that the current state of environment is precarious and warrants post-haste remedial action on a global scale. Here they are:

Doomsday Glacier: In an evidence laden research, jointly sponsored by National Science Foundation of the US and UK Natural Environment Council, it has been determined that Thwaites Glacier, also called the “Antarctica’s ‘Doomsday Glacier,” is melting far faster than previous estimates suggest. The 1,255-sq-mile (Roughly the size of UK) and 200-metre-thick Larsen B ice sheet took less than a month to completely disintegrate at the end of 2021. The entire glacier is projected to melt in 5 years or sooner. While the sea levels thus far have risen only 20 centimeters since 1900s, the melting of this glacier alone would cause the sea level to rise by 65 centimeters. However, if the other glaciers in vicinity also melt – that is a likely scenario – the sea level will rise more than 300 centimeters, i.e., 10 feet! Should that happen, major cities in the world– including Shanghai, New York, Miami, Tokyo, and Mumbai will be all under water. Countries like Bangladesh may face total drowning.  An estimated 630 million people will face a partial or total disruption of their lives. Those with knowledge of Hindi/Sanskrit would know that this is exactly what is defined as Pralaya in our scriptures. Only way to prevent this catastrophe is to bring down the planet’s temperature differential over the pre-industrial era to 1.5 degree centigrade or even lower

Alarming Frequency and Cost of Natural Disasters: According to NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), 2021 recorded 18 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disaster events during the first nine months in the United States. The financial damage alone from these disasters exceeded $105b which was greater than disaster costs for all of 2020. In fact, the total financial cost of disasters in the last five years ($691.7 billion) is nearly one-third of the total disaster cost incurred in the last 42-years (1980-2021). Furthermore, 2021 is the 7th consecutive year that has recorded over $10b dollars related to climate change disasters and has exceeded the frequency of such events over any other year in the past. The accelerating trend of the frequency and cost of natural disasters is a direct outcome of the climate change – a fact that has been substantiated and established by an overwhelming body of research.

Consequences of 20 C Temperature Rise: Many self-acclaimed environmental skeptics are defining this 20 C rise in planet temperature beyond the pre-industrial era as negligible and are pooh poohing the efforts to reign in this rise. I feel sad for their woeful ignorance. There is evidence galore (as reflected in point 2 above) that a temperature differential of more than 20 C would cause, “extreme weather events (e.g., hurricanes, flooding, and droughts), leading to devastating environmental, social and economic consequences” at a frequency never heard before. For the climate-change deniers, I would make this additional point: Our normal body temperature is 98.4o If this temperature rises by 20 C (= 3.60 F), i.e., becomes 1020 F, what happens? Immediate medical help becomes essential. All of a sudden, your life is in a state of dire suspension. This is exactly what the planet suffers through and needs immediate help, albeit at humongous scale, I hope this engenders an urgency for action in your mind.

Friends, the trajectory of the current emissions of GHG gases is headed for an unacceptable rise of 2.7o C. by the end of this century. The remedial and preventive measures simply cannot wait any longer. So, pull up your socks, tighten your belts and get ready for some effective remedial action.

Let me now furnish some insights about the Foundation’s strategies and approaches that distinguish us from others. We are fully aware that there are millions of entities and individuals who are engaged sincerely and passionately in developing solutions to the environmental problems, daunting as they are. What differentiates us is the following:

But, first, let me emphasize that we are not a business, nor do we exist to support businesses. We are the entity that has the distinctive competency to bring about a pro-environment, pro-socially responsible changes while synergistically increasing profits for business through several non-traditional, innovative strategic formulations. Indeed, we exist to support and promote United Nation’s seventeen Sustainability Development Goals that aim to impact clean energy discoveries and usage, climate resiliency, economic growth, hunger, poverty, health, education, equality, peace, and justice.

We believe that the role of business can be and should be changed from a huge polluter and emitter to that of huge savior of environment. For this we need to retrain and reshape the executive mindset. My interactions with business executives in India largely revealed that they worry about profit erosion if they modified their policies and strategies to produce environmentally better products or reduce emissions in their operations. By deploying the Triple Bottom Line (people, planet, and profit) paradigm of business performance, we can make pro-environment and pro-people products and services synergistic with profits. We have significant expertise in developing such strategies and implementing them with substantial profit increase. In many cases, reputational dividends convert into sizeable customer loyalty retention.

  • Many business strategies are designed to earn greater profits by providing high degree of customization (or differentiation, a much more inclusive term) of products. Unfortunately, higher customization comes with disproportionately higher prices that customers can ill-afford. However, our expertise in designing strategies that fall under the umbrella of Mass Customization would be very effective in providing very high levels of product/service customization while maintain prices associated with mass production levels.
  • Finally, for all projects and products we consciously deliberate the mix of customer priorities to be built into the products or projects that would maximize customer satisfaction. For this we consider: environmental performance, quality, speed of delivery, customization levels and of course, price. This strategic modeling revolves around two factors: product/service differentiation and price. We try to maximize the product differentiation at the expense of least resources, using superior environmental performance and quality as the binding constraints.

I would like to add that not all these strategies are in place at this point of time. After all, we are a two-year young toddler.  These, however, provide a glimpse in how we are equipped with unique strategies that will change the competitive landscape of businesses as we evolve and help the cause of environment in unprecedented fashion.

This has been a rather lengthy message, I would now fold it quickly by merely mentioning the significant futuristic projects that the Foundation envisages to get involved in near future: E-Waste mitigation and management and Renewable/Clean Energies. We also intend to launch Professional Development Programs at executive level. I hardly need to emphasize how enormously important each one of these is.

Finally, as I mentioned in the introductory para, I believe that everyone, literally every one, is capable of impacting (improving or damaging) the environment. If you believe you have unique ideas that can help develop enduring solutions to an environmental problem, I invite you to share it with us.  My email and phone as well as the Foundation’s CEO’s email and hone are available on this website.  I would encourage you and invite you to share your ideas and let us see how far we will go with it!

Thanks infinitely for reading this message,

Most Sincerely

Ashok Kumar