20 Most Influential and Sustainable Organizations of 2020
Our tradition continues to highlight the top sustainable and impactful organizations of the year. The 4th edition is here on your special demand.
2020 was a rollercoaster year. It taught us new things including how to survive in this new normal. In just a few months, COVID-19 transformed from a dangerous regional health threat into a widespread global pandemic and economic disaster. However, in a record-breaking speed multiple vaccines were also developed and have already started to be used. Though we must still take precautions until 70% of the population is vaccinated, there’s more hope of reigning in COVID-19. In addition to the pandemic, there were other major issues from racial injustice to the forest fires of Australia and the Western US. Climate change meant that the forest fires were more difficult to control and the floods and hurricanes were more devastating. Climate change and biodiversity depletion are important issues that need to be addressed because if we don’t take care of the environment around us, our future generations won’t be able to survive.
These issues of sustainability and a just transition are important and we are just one piece of the puzzle. This list has become a tradition to celebrate influential and sustainable companies, many of whom we have met through the communities we have been a part of over the years. We’re excited to share their work to be part of this transitions to a more just and circular economy.
The future depends on eco-friendly and sustainable companies. We look forward to seeing how each year there is a longer list of companies to choose from.
We would like to thank the wonderful platforms that have created an opportunity to bring all the sustainable and eco-friendly organizations together. A big thank you to One Young World, Meaningful Business 100, SheEO Ventures, Halcyon Incubators, Earth Company - Impact Hero, Extreme Tech Challenge and many more.
Take a spin to find out the most influential and sustainable companies in India and around the globe. Do let us know if you want to get connected or involved with any of them.
Here is the list of top 10 organisations in India:
I Was a Sari sources their raw materials in the colorful markets of Mumbai. Used saris and dead stocks become vibrant products that are sold worldwide. As a player in the circular economy since 2013, they enjoy global press coverage, awards like Eco Age’s Green Carpet and the support of luxury label Gucci. What really fuels their business are the artisans, whose lives have been changed by their unique business model.
Like Saathi, I Was a Sari are a unique entity because they see the world differently by giving people second chances. Where some see uneducated women with no skills, they see their potential to become wage earners and leaders in their community.
Radix Lifespaces is a company generating Bio Compressed Natural Gas (Bio CNG) from organic waste. It has grown from four small proof-of-concept plants to become the largest independent Bio CNG producer in India, with a capacity to process 40 tons of organic waste and produce 2 tonnes of Bio CNG every day. And Radix is not done growing – it has confirmed orders for the supply of 10 tonnes of Bio CNG per day.
Graviky began as an MIT Media Lab experiment when the founders hacked together a tool to capture soot from a burning candle and used the closest available solvents - vodka and vegetable oil - to produce a rough version of what is now AIR–INK®.
Then, they invented a device that captures air pollution and turned the captured particulate matter into a safe, water-based ink. After a successful Kickstarter, Graviky came to the fore with the world’s biggest sustainability collaboration with Heineken. Now, they are a dedicated team trying to change industrial production with forays into packaging, apparel printing, and advanced materials.
Swachh Sustainable Solutions (RaddiConnect) works on managing all municipal solid waste. They collect different categories of waste through different models. The aim is to create a circular economy wherein waste can be converted into resources and provided back to the source. They are also working with plastic manufacturers & brand owners (FMCG Companies) to set up recovery channels for the plastic they are putting out in the environment.
Me Meraki seeks to make art a part of our daily lives and to truly cherish hand-made products as against fast fashion. They think of everything as a canvas, waiting for beautiful stories to be told. Handbags, clothes, walls – everything can be made beautiful with Me Meraki’s hand-crafted pieces. Artists are the heroes at Me Meraki – and rightly so, they not only craft exquisite, one-of-a-kind merchandise but are also inspiring stories, rewriting and preserving history and heritage. Their work truly embodies the essence of the name – to do something with so much heart and soul that you leave a piece of your soul in your work.
Ecoright is a young startup trying to save the world and passionate about finding a solution to some of the problems our world faces – starting with finding ways to reduce our plastic footprint on our planet. At EcoRight, they create products that help people go eco-friendly in a fun way - bright, well-designed bags, cases and masks made from cotton, jute, etc. which have absolutely no plastic. They do so in the highest quality and in ethically audited manufacturing facilities. All their manufacturing facilities are ethically, socially, legally and environmentally audited as per the SEDEX 4 pillar standards.
At Ugaoo, the aim is to reintroduce one and all to the joy of growing your own patch of green. A space to breathe clean and live healthily – both mind and body, a green space that is your refuge. The dream is to make the world greener, one home at a time and together, we can change the landscape of the planet. At Ugaoo, you can order just about anything related to gardening, right from the comfort of one’s home. They believe that even if we cannot do all the good the planet deserves, it deserves all the good we can do.
Ninjacart is India's largest fresh produce supply chain company that is solving one of the toughest problems in the world through technology - food being wasted due to rotting, owing to long lead times.They connect producers of food directly with retailers, restaurants, and service providers using in-house applications that drive end to end operations. Currently, NinjaCart’s Supply Chain is equipped to move 1400 tonnes of perishables from farms to businesses, every day, in less than 12 hours.
Nicobar is a vehicle to communicate a philosophy of living. The founders felt that the fast fashion pendulum was swinging too far and yearned for products that are designed to last, not trend-driven, and inspired by natural design and materials. Products at Nicobar are made in small batches, by local artisans from nooks and corners of India and also their facility at Tulsi Farms. They now use crumpled paper, egg trays, shredded paper and corrugated sheets instead of air pouches and foam pouches for packaging fragile items. Their product tags use seed and elephant poo paper instead of paper from trees, and our jewellery pouches are made from completely biodegradable raw fabric intended for repurposing.
Namo e-Waste provides door-to-door services to ensure that e-waste is collected with convenience and transported to their recycling plants where their technicians extract those parts which can be reused and sustainably dispose the rest through in an environmentally friendly way. They have made it their mission to ensure that at least 50% of e-waste produced in India is disposed sustainably. To further commit to the same, Namo e-Waste is soon moving from providing their services to just producers to everyday consumers.
Here is the list of the top 10 organizations internationally:
Queen of Raw buys and sells deadstock and sustainable fabrics online in their marketplace. They have everything from organic cotton, peace silk, faux leather and fur, to some of the highest quality luxury deadstock fabrics that would otherwise be burned and buried if it wasn't for Queen of Raw.
Their mission is to make these sustainable materials available to anyone, at any time, from any place so that those fabrics can be put to use and can escape landfills.
Genecis’ biological processes convert food waste destined for landfill into valuable materials. They were 2020 winners of the Extreme Tech Challenge. Genecis are on a mission to drive our world towards a circular economy, where major brands utilize eco-friendly PHA plastics in packaging, food services, agriculture, textiles and many other areas to reduce the 18 billion pounds of plastic polluting our oceans every year. They leverage technology and team to benefit the planet, and their customers’ bottom line.
Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy. They believe that access to sustainable products and resources that positively benefit people and the planet is a basic human right.
Their goal is to reshape the consumer product landscape, redefine what a truly good product looks like, and make natural and plastic free products more accessible, affordable, and convenient for all.
TOOL is the world’s first floating lab for entrepreneurs and change agents across ocean industries, sustainable solutions & tech. They envision that the ocean industries need to be completely emission free and waste free, regenerating life and resources in the ocean as part of the business models for the future. TOOL is an open canvas for testing ideas and working on radical innovation across the community.
Green Bronx Machine builds healthy, equitable, and resilient communities through inspired education, local food systems, and 21st Century workforce development. Dedicated to cultivating minds and harvesting hope, their school-based model using urban agriculture aligned to key school performance indicators grows healthy students and healthy schools to transform communities that are fragmented and marginalized into neighborhoods that are inclusive and thriving.
They believe that healthy students help drive healthy schools, and that healthy schools are at the heart of healthy communities.
Rheaply’s Asset Exchange Manager maximizes the reuse, remanufacturing, and exchange of resources within and across organizations. The software platform tracks inventory and depreciation, allowing users to better visualize, quantify, and utilize surplus assets, or to dispose of them properly. The transparent asset management system also offers facilitated peer-to-peer asset exchange, a gamified online marketplace, and sustainability metrics—enabling less waste and more cost-effective reuse.
For smaller and nonprofit partners, such as K–12 public schools, Rheaply’s software can help save operational budgets and provide in-kind support services through equipment and knowledge sharing with larger organizations, which creates and expands key community relationships.
The Bamboo Company is an eco-friendly start-up that aspires to safeguard the beautiful stories we can still experience today, as well as to bring back those that we have lost. They aim to preserve these stories of the Philippines by reducing plastic waste and providing an environment-friendly lifestyle of exploring the world.
They make the most useful and beautiful products from bamboo and their vision is to have clean water around the Philippines where marine life can thrive peacefully and live unharmed by plastic waste.
TerraCycle® is a social enterprise Eliminating the Idea of Waste. In 21 countries, they tackle the issue from many angles. TerraCycle has found that nearly everything we touch can be recycled and they collect typically non-recyclable items through national, first-of-their-kind recycling platforms.
Leading companies work with them to take hard-to-recycle materials from their various programs, such as ocean plastic, and turn them into new products, and our new Loop platform aims to change the way the world shops with favorite brands in refillable packaging offered with convenience and style.
Beyond Meat is set to revolutionise the way we eat meat. They believe there is a better way to feed our future and that the positive choices we all make, no matter how small, can have a great impact on our personal health and the health of our planet. Not to mention that the plant-based meat is very tasty - from breakfast sausages to steak!
By shifting from animal to plant-based meat, Beyond Meat is set to positively impact four growing global issues: human health, climate change, constraints on natural resources, and animal welfare.
App Harvest is turning a high-tech farming hub in Appalachia into reality. The company, which has raised more than $100 million in funding, is building some of the largest indoor farms in the world, combining conventional agricultural techniques with today’s technology to grow non-GMO, chemical-free produce to be sold to the top 25 U.S. grocers.
AppHarvest is on a mission to feed the future, from the heart of Appalachia. Growing fresh, nutritious fruits and veggies for the betterment of people and the planet. They are building a sustainable, homegrown food supply that’s accessible to all, all year long. AppHarvest’s massive indoor farms are part vision, part science, and all inspiration. They combine innovative technology with natural resources and farming know-how, using less to grow more.
The aim of writing this blog is to highlight, raise awareness and appreciate the efforts of these startups and organizations that have been able to balance environmental & social benefits while delivering superior products and services to their customers and making the world a better place to live.
If you know any sustainable or socially impactful organization that you’d like people to know about, please share it in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!
If you liked this blog, check out our 2017 (10 Influential and Sustainable Organisations in India), 2018 (10 Most influential and sustainable organizations in the world), and 2019 (20 Most influential and sustainable organizations in the world).
Saathi is an award winning social venture which has a patented technology to convert agri-waste into absorbent materials. Our sanitary pads are 100% biodegradable and compostable made from banana and bamboo fibers, which convert into compost in 6 months of its disposal. Saathi pads are good for the body🩸, community and environment. We are on a mission to revolutionize the hygiene industry as a consumer products company that makes products in a sustainable and responsible way.
We are recognized by the United Nations, TIME Magazine as one of the 100 Best Inventions of 2019, Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards and Expo 2020 Dubai among others for our innovative, social impact and sustainable work. We are working towards United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 12, 13, 3, 9, 5, 6, 8, and 14.
Check out a short video of our story here and Follow us at @saathipads on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin and Youtube to learn about more facts and myth busters about sustainability, women’s health, and more.