Press Release: Nikkei Asia Award 2022

Press Release: Nikkei Asia Award 2022

We're honored to share that Saathi has been selected as the 2022 Nikkei Asia Award recipient. We'd like to thank Nikkei, the esteemed Board of the Nikkei Asia Award and Asia Society for elevating our work and highlighting the issue of period poverty as well as plastic pollution. Please see the press release below.


AHMEDABAD, December 20, 2022 - An Indian startup that makes biodegradable and compostable sanitary pads has been named winner of the Nikkei Asia Award for its unique technology and potential benefit to society, Nikkei announced on Tuesday.

The Nikkei Asia Award is a project to recognize innovation originating in Asia. “Innovation from Asia” involves any novel and innovative activities that promote the transformation of Asia and the world, and support the realization of a free and prosperous society from the Asian perspective – based on the diverse value.

The award focuses on novel and innovative activities started in Asia, and led by people from and living in Asia, creating a free and prosperous society by revitalizing the region and improving lives.

Nikkei newly launched the Nikkei Asia Award in 2021. The Nikkei Asia Prizes, established in 1996, had ended with the announcement of its 25th winners in 2020.

In order to reflect the diversity of perspectives in Asia, Nikkei has established the Advisory Board for the Nikkei Asia Award. The group consists of ten experts from Asian countries, including Japan. Nikkei appoints experts from nations and regions with shared values such as democracy, liberalism and market economy.

The Advisory Board submits the evaluations and opinions of the prospective candidates, selected by the Nikkei Selection Committee. Based on opinions and advice from the Board, the Nikkei Selection Committee chooses the award winner at the selection meeting, and obtains the approval of the Board. The Board includes the following esteemed members:

  • Fujio Mitarai, Chairman and CEO, Canon, Inc.
  • Brahma Chellaney, Professor, Strategic Studies at the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi
  • Un Chan Chung, Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea
  • Kayoko Hayashi, President, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Japan
  • Masami Iijima, Counselor, Mitsui & Co Ltd.
  • Tetsuo Kitani, Professor/Chair of IMS Lab, Office of Society-Academy Collaboration for Innovation, Kyoto University.
  • Shinichi Kitaoka, Special Advisor to the President (former President), Japan International Cooperation Agency
  • Takehiko Nakao, Chairman of the Institute at Mizuho Research & Technologies, Ltd.
  • Soh Wai Lin, Christina, Dean, College of Business (Nanyang Business School) , Nanyang Technological University
  • Somkiat Tangkitvanich, President, Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI)

Saathi is a purpose driven manufacturing company that makes eco-friendly hygiene products. Saathi is on a mission to create hygiene products that are good for the body, environment, and community. Saathi’s aim is to drive systemic change around how menstrual hygiene is addressed thus driving the shift to a circular economy. The team creates pads from renewable materials, making them accessible to women no matter where they live and collaborate to ensure products get upcycled. The company measures their impact according to the nine UN SDGs: increasing farmers' income, employing women in manufacturing & distribution, providing access to pads & education to women and girls, measuring plastic waste eliminated & CO2 emissions reduced. This award will enable Saathi to fulfill its aim, over the next 5 years, to reach 10M women and eliminate 18k MT of plastic waste.

Here is a quote from the Chairman of the jury, Fujio Mitarai, Chairman and CEO of Canon, Inc. on why Saathi was selected:

"Saathi, India, was selected as the winner of the second Nikkei Asia Award from among more than 400 nominations received from countries and regions throughout Asia. Through the supply of sanitary products for women, the company is an innovator that addresses various social issues while aiming to improve public health, an important issue in the region.

The promotion of sanitary products is one of the most urgent issues in the field of reproductive health worldwide. The COVID-19 disaster brought attention to the issue of "menstrual poverty," the lack of access to sanitary products for economic reasons. The situation exists in both developed and developing countries, where it is a barrier to commuting to school and working, and there is no need to wait.

While the environmental impact of plastic products has been pointed out, the products supplied by the company can be biodegraded and composted, and the company is also pursuing user comfort. The company's business development with an awareness of the impact on a circular economy and health is also in line with the principles of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

At the same time as high value-added products, the company also offers low-cost versions for low-income consumers. The company's consideration for the disparity in society is also reflected in the enthusiasm of the founder to leave no one behind. In addition to the products themselves, the company's efforts to empower women through business, including the employment of women in production, are also commendable.

We have high expectations that the company's business will expand from Asia to the rest of the world and achieve growth."

Previous Winner of the Nikkei Asia Award:

In 2021, a Singaporean startup that makes lab-cultured seafood was named winner of the inaugural Nikkei Asia Award for its unique technology and potential benefit to society, Nikkei announced December 20, 2021.

Founded in 2018, Shiok Meats is a unique company in Asia's emerging alternative food industry, as it focuses on shrimp, lobster, and crab. Its products have the potential to contribute to food security as the global population grows. They may also help resolve problems such as overfishing and environmental damage stemming from construction of fish farms -- key issues for Asia.



About Saathi:

Saathi, an award-winning social venture, has patented technology to convert agri-waste into absorbent materials. It is known for its 100% biodegradable and compostable sanitary pads made from banana and bamboo fiber. Saathi pads are better for the body🩸, community 🌎 and environment 🌱. We are on a mission to make products sustainably and responsibly. 

We are recognized by the Global Citizen, DBSUNDP Growth Stage Impact VenturesUNESCO Green Citizens projectCartier Women’s Initiative AwardsUniversity of St. Andrews, and Global Cleantech Innovation Program among others for our innovative, social impact, and sustainable work. We are working towards 9 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Check out a short video of our story here and follow us at @saathipads on Facebook, TwitterInstagramLinkedin, and Youtube to know how menstruation can be sustainable and stigma-free.

About Nikkei:

For more than 145 years, Nikkei has been providing unparalleled coverage of Japan's economy, industries and markets. The group's business portfolio includes publishing, broadcasting and the Nikkei 225 stock index. Its flagship media, The Nikkei, has a circulation of approximately 2.83 million. With 37 bases globally and 1500 journalists, Nikkei is ideally positioned to provide Asian news and analysis to a global audience.

The Financial Times(FT), the global business newspaper, joined the Nikkei Group in 2015. As content partners, the Nikkei Asia and the FT share select articles with their respective audiences and collaborate on joint editorial projects.


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