The event was attended by over 45 ecosystem stakeholders including start-ups, thought leaders, incubators, impact funds, academics and CSR donors.
NSRCEL, the incubation arm of the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB), organized “Circular Conversations: Where Innovation and Impact Collide”, a conversation that brought together innovators, start-ups and other stakeholders focused on circular economy .
The event was organized on November 17 with an aim to showcase the collective efforts by various industry players to promote innovation and create impact in the field of circular economy.
Over 45 ecosystem stakeholders including start-ups, think tanks, incubators, impact funds, academics and CSR donors participated in the event which provided an opportunity to discuss, exchange ideas and foster collaborations focused on sustainability. Provided a platform for.
Participating organizations included World Research Institute, Alstom, Rainmatter Foundation, Villgro, Caspian Impact Investments, Awana Capital, Courage, Hasiru Dala Innovation, Capgemini and others.
Young start-ups and enterprises talked about several challenges that are common across the industry and hinder the growth of start-ups within the domain. These included challenges related to raising funds, policy regulations, customer demand and mindset, and circularity in the supply chain – particularly around packaging solutions.
Noting that sustainable products often come with premium charges, he said this was often a challenge in a market like India where price point is one of the biggest priorities for the customer.
“How do you show value to the customer – that I’m charging a premium because my product is sustainable? “Does the average Indian consumer care about sustainable products?” Mayank B., co-founder of Good Gum, an FMCG start-up that makes plastic-free chewing gums. Nagori said in surprise.
Seetharaman Basavanhalli, co-founder of Indic Initiatives, which works towards recycling and upcycling solutions, talked about the many policy challenges faced by sustainable start-ups in the country. Experts wondered if sustainable consumption is not a priority for the consumer, whether it could be emphasized through policy incentives for companies working towards creating a circular economy.
The participants were later divided into groups to explore innovative solutions to tackle the four key challenges that emerged during the discussion and maximize impact.
Strategies to find the right group of customers, create platforms to promote sustainable products and change people’s aspirations towards sustainable alternatives were discussed.
When it came to circularity within the supply chain, standardization of the materials used for labeling and packaging was one of the solutions put forward.
“It will also make the lives of those working in the recycling industry a lot easier,” said Divya Tiwari, principal scientist and advisor at SAHAS.
It was reported that while there is a lot of capital to invest in sustainability start-ups in the global market, many of them do not have the confidence to invest in Indian companies due to red tape and lack of clean image.
Experts also talked about a number of sustainability myths – such as paper cups being better than reusable plastic cups – that currently exist among consumers.
This was the first of many conversations organized by NSRCEL in the circular economy area and the organization intends to bring together many more stakeholders going forward.
Commenting on the event, Anand Shri Ganesh, CEO, NSRCEL, said, “In the dynamic domains of circularity, sustainability and climate-tech, NSRCEL is leading the way in tackling critical start-up challenges. “Our innovative platform empowers founders to explore and impact India’s circular economy.”
“Today, at Circular Conversations, we unite visionaries, innovators and stakeholders to collaboratively shape the future of the circular economy. Looking forward to continued success, we are committed to hosting future events of this nature,” he said.