18 August 2017

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Helping Businesses Turn Green

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Green Evangelist is a company run by an academician, an industry practitioner, a marketing professional and a communications specialist, who came together to pool their collaborative expertise in order to influence the corporate world in a way where they in turn impact society positively.

The journey for setting up Green Evangelist started when Sejal Sheth and Lata Sankaranarayan, both marketing and communications experts with over a decade’s experience struck up conversation. Both of them are the alumni of Narsee Monjee Institute of Management studies (NMIMS) in Mumbai, a premier educational and research institutes, wherein they underwent training for MBA in Marketing. According Sejal, Latha came up with the specific the idea of promoting the cause of “Green” amongst corporate houses.

“However, as we moved along, we realised that ‘sustainability’ was a much larger and appropriate canvas. This is because we wanted corporate houses to better the society along with environment,” explained Sejal. “After much discussion, Green Evangelist was setup in March 2009, using our personal savings as the initial funding needed to infuse into the business.” Sejal further added that the name “Green Evangelist” has two significant aspects to it. “‘Green’ is the analogy for sustainable, everlasting life, while ‘Evangelist’ represents the passion which charges us up to influence the karma of a corporate,” said Sejal.
 
The core evangelists of the company include Manoj Chakravarti, the Evangelist for Responsible Business of Ethics and Governance; Dr. Bala Krishnamoorthy, the Evangelist for Sustainability; Sejal Sheth, the Evangelist CEO;  and Latha Sankarnarayan, the Evangelist COO. Green Evangelist currently provides a wide range of solutions, which are customised to meet its clients’ sustainability needs. “Our services range from putting together a sustainability framework, recommending a CSR strategy and assist with the implementation, training on business ethics or thinking green, or other sustainability driven topics as well as sustainability reports development,” explained Sejal.

The company also currently offers pro-bono services to NGOs, which Green Evangelist thinks is its way of contributing to society. “We're hoping to play the role of an initiator in young Indian companies and that of an implementer and facilitator in companies who have already embarked on their sustainability journey,” commented Sejal. “When you look at the market, you either have consulting companies or specific niche consultants for engineering and social aspects. But we're a company which works as a part of the client's extended team focused upon sustainability.”

Green Evangelist has already worked with a variety of companies such as Sterlite Industries (Vedanta Group), Dr. Reddy’s, Sesa Goa, and Tata Tin Plate. “We’re also very keen to work with industry bodies to get companies started on sustainability. In the pipeline is a project with Nasscom Foundation to get IT companies to focus on CSR. Our entire revenue model is based on consultation fees for projects we undertake. The revenues currently are not a big number to speak about as yet. However, we're growing year-on-year at 300 percent, albeit on a small base,” added Sejal. “We however broke even in the first year of our operations.”

Sejal does have a piece of advice for budding entrepreneurs in India. According to her, every entrepreneur should research, collaborate, design, and then deliver. “Team building as regular jobs are always more lucrative, safe and acceptable. Also initial financing is almost always self financing which is limited. As long as you have the passion, things will work out. But focus on where the financing will come from. Remember that the funding as well as your own capacity to hold out before you give up is also important,” concluded Sejal.

 

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