India, a country celebrated for its cultures, traditions, languages, and heritages is also the beholder of the position of the world’s fourth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. In the account of India’s diverse geographical nature, 2,400 Indians lost their lives in 2018-19, to extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, and cyclones. These issues not only need to be acknowledged and steered in a direction involving solutions. Around the world, impact investments are meeting needs in areas as diverse as childhood education, clean technology, and financial services for the poor. The impact investment wave is approaching and measures must be taken to harness its full potential.
Though the situation may seem hopeless, all is not lost yet as social entrepreneurs and companies are realizing the devastating environment and working towards a breakthrough. Some impact enterprises have excelled at handling delicate situations by taking prompt actions. SELCO Solar Light Pvt. Ltd. is a for-profit social enterprise based in Bangalore founded by Harish Hande which contributed over 120,000 installations and has more than 25 operating retail and service centers in Karnataka. It is followed by Waterlife, founded by Sudesh Menon, Mohan Ranbaore, and Indranil Das. It ensures safe and clean drinking water for communities in areas with high water contamination. Another enterprise that responded was Daily Dump, founded by Poonam Bir Kasturi. It manages urban home waste within the home by cleverly fusing design, traditional pottery with the science of composting to develop more than 50 aesthetic products and services.
Though innovative and applicable, these companies cannot survive with mere ideas and require financial back up which is offered by impact investors to assist them to row their ideas without any financial barriers. The initiatives of Selco were made possible by investments from a Dutch impact investor DOEN. Villgro, founded in 2001 by Paul Basil is an investment firm that holds a mission to create impactful, innovative, and successful social enterprises. They believe that market-based models are a powerful way to solve social problems and create impact at scale. Another firm is Aavishkaar, founded in 2001 with a vision to catalyze development in India’s underserved regions. It targets a range of sectors like agriculture, energy, handicrafts, health, water and sanitation, technology for development, and financial inclusion.
Though certain measures are operational, it is no match for the rate at which matters are getting out of hand. Immediate and influential strategies from the government are not only expected but needed at a time of crises like today. Initiative as small as a complete ban of single-use plastic bags can go a long way in publicizing their stand on this grave matter. With the uproar of impact startups, the authorities can efficiently involve themselves in unraveling the deep-rooted enemies which are preventing India from setting up a streamlined course of action.
The path towards building a strong base plan isn’t undemanding because in a country with as much diversity as India, countless barriers with multitudinous levels await us. One of the most vigorous ones being the non-participation and especially the non-cooperation of the literate class. Dealing with the rural section of our society to bring them together and face this situation is going to be another battle. The situations have worsened to an extent where private institutions are pitching in their share in addition to the government and the locals which all the more emphasizes the need to practicalize the theories.
Impact investing is poised to change the trajectory of poverty, crime, homelessness, education, green energy, and much more. It just needs to be unleashed in the right direction and in the hands of the right navigators.