We’ve all been talking (and hopefully already taking actions) about living a green lifestyle to help combat climate change. That in our own little ways, we as individuals can do our share of the heavy-lifting to help our planet. Thankfully, there is a growing number of companies – big and small – who are also going green. They make it easier for us to walk our talk because they provide us with the options to to do so, offering healthier and more environmentally-friendly alternatives to the things we already consume.
At this point, the call for change is already passe. As the Institute of Entrepreneurship Development (IED) states on its website, “We need to start bringing solutions instead of creating more problems.” And the best place to start is in the business world since economic activities have a huge impact on the environment.
This is where green entrepreneurship comes in. As IED puts it, it is doing business while “consciously addressing environmental and social problems and need, and coming up with brilliant innovative entrepreneurial ideas that will bring a solution to them.” This may include improvements in resource management, reduction of harmful greenhouse gas emissions, promoting local cultures, and helping communities become more sustainable. Green entrepreneurship is three-fold – it has economic, environmental, and social benefits. This is indeed raising the bar in rethinking the role of businesses in the attainment of our Sustainable Development Goals.
Companies also benefit when they engage in green entrepreneurship. Studies have shown that its positive effects include higher morale and boosting employee productivity, while improving the brand’s image and reputation. This is because ordinary people, like you and me, are thankfully turning into more eco-conscious consumers. They want to support businesses that proactively do something to help the environment. That’s why we’re witnessing the growth of various exciting green start-ups today as entrepreneurs are boldly making the initiative to incorporate an eco conscience into their business whilst still pursuing profitability.
In fact, most green companies use a triple bottom line approach to their business. For many of these businesses, sustainability isn’t just a marketing strategy – it is at the core of their business. They do good business ensuring that their products and services benefit communities and the environment whilst also making a profit.
We have all the right reasons to support green startups so here are some of the most exciting and fastest-growing eco-friendly businesses across Asia.
ReNew Power Private Limited (India)
This is the largest renewable independent power producer (IPP) in India. This energy startup company owns, develops, builds, and operates utility-scale wind and solar energy projects. As of the end of 2020, their total capacity is almost 10 GW of alternative sources of energy. ReNew Power provide B2B solutions to small and large companies so that they can switch to using renewable energy and harness its benefits. They recently received huge funding to expand their wind power development and solar farm project. Founder and CEO Sumant Sinha said that these projects are “a significant step forward for ReNew Power and reflect the commitment of the team to contribute towards India’s ambition of achieving 450 GW of clean energy by 2030.” Indeed, ReNew Power is an example of a business with sustainability at its very core.
Bounce is the first-ever smart mobility solution in India that helps commuters reach their destination faster and easier. They have a fleet of fully electric bikes and scooters (that they designed themselves) which are lightweight, spacious, and their batteries are easily swappable; and their electric vehicles have zero direct emissions. Customers can hire electric bikes and scooters via the smartphone app on a subscription plan or long-term rental basis. At the time of writing, the service is only available in Bangalore, India.
Japan-based Daiz produces plant-based meat oozing with umami flavor. According to Daiz President Tsuyoshi Ide, the company’s main motivation was to provide “an alternative to meat and contribute to the eradication of world hunger.” As a solution, they developed the Ochiai germination method – a cultivation technology that stimulates biological reactions during the germination process of soybean seeds. Through this soybean processing technology, they make Miracle Meat which mimics the texture of meat and can be used for various dishes, replacing chicken, pork, and beef without sacrificing the taste that people have come to expect from traditional meats.
Le Fromage by Ma (Hong Kong)
Le Fromage by Ma is the very first all-vegan cheese shop in Hong Kong. All of their cheeses are carefully handmade using almond and cashew as their base. They then then add other natural ingredients to give each variety of cheese its own flavor and personality. This is the brainchild of former jeweller now vegan chef Tina Barrat. She says, “Given the climate crisis and the troubled times we live in, there’s no better idea than changing our approach to food, going cruelty-free and being gentle with Mother Earth.” She continues to reinvent plant-based food to ensure that they are delectable so as to encourage more people to eat vegan.
Chilibeli is an app where you can shop for fresh produce at affordable prices. They bridge the gap among farmers, producers, and consumers in Indonesia. Small businesses can enlarge their market while consumers can shop for their daily needs at their convenience. Chilibeli used the concept of social commerce to make online and offline shopping possible. Aside from the online app, there are community-based Chilibeli Partners who sell these goods in their neighborhood. This is also a source of extra income for the partners (growers) so this startup is able to provide sustenance and sustainable livelihoods to more families across Indonesia.
ATEC Biodigesters International (Cambodia)
Based in Cambodia, ATEC Biodigesters turn farm waste such as green waste and animal manure into biogas and organic fertilizer. Farmers can use biogas for their kitchens while the organic fertilizer is essential in ensuring the health of their soil for better crop quality and yield. Their vision is to help farmers improve production capacity and promote the use of sustainable sources of energy.
RAD Green Solutions (Philippines)
RAD Green Solutions, a green start-up in the Philippines, produces technologies and approaches to help solve environmental problems. Pyroclave is one of their innovative solutions. It is an energy-efficient way of processing bio-medical waste. These machines have higher processing volume so they can treat more medical wastes until they are made safe for disposal. They also offer a Modular Containerized Sewage Treatment Plant which is prefabricated and ready to use upon delivery. It can also be used in different locations so that there is a safe and environment-friendly way of treating waste so that it is safe for disposal or reuse.
Augmentus is an AI-robot programming platform that makes it easier and more affordable for companies to automate their business processes and the work that they do. Used by pioneering robotics and advanced manufacturing companies, Augmentus helps businesses reduce inefficiencies in production and maximise output. They make robotics so simple that it can be used even by urban farmers who do not have any knowledge about programming and automation. This way, the farmers can use robotics technology to boost their output by powering the harvesting and inspection processes.
GreenPod Labs (India)
GreenPod Labs aims to solve the food waste problem in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The food waste in India has cost their economy $12 billion. Roughly 40% of the fruits and vegetables grown in the country are spoiled before they even reach the market due to inefficiencies within the food supply chain. This startup uses technology to activate the natural defense mechanism of plants so that they can slow down the ripening process and reduce bacterial growth. Through this, the fruits and vegetables stay fresh longer, and there is less chance of spoilage and waste.
Third Wave Power (Singapore)
Singapore start-up Third Wave Power provides portable solar power solutions to consumers. Their products include solar chargers, power banks, emergency kits, solar lamps, and solar panels for rural and urban homes – products that are very relevant to people’s everyday lives. What’s great about this startup is that they make renewable sources of energy accessible to consumers by offering products that they use for their daily activities. Third Wave Power also has plans to incorporate IoT into their solar products for smart applications.
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Cover image via Bounce.