Mridula Ramesh founded the Sundaram Climate Institute
Image: P Ravikumar for Forbes India
Mridula Ramesh, daughter of K Ramesh, chairman and MD, Southern Roadways, found her personal calling after a drought in her hometown Madurai in 2013. “I had to take my corporate blinkers off and figure out why this was happening,” says Mridula, who had started working in the TVS Group at Southern Roadways company as an assistant manager (trainee).
She researched to understand that the region was getting hotter and India had been experiencing heat waves, which impacted a change in rainfall and caused “weird” weather conditions, including droughts.
Since then, the family and her factory staff have become more sensitised to water, waste and energy management. At her home, waste is now segregated, weighed and a compost pit created to lower garden-related waste. In the past three years, the Ramesh family has reduced waste from 17.6 kilograms a day to 400 grams now. “This means annually we have prevented six tonnes of waste from entering the landfill from one house alone,” Mridula writes in her recently released book, The Climate Solution.
In 2017, she founded the Sundaram Climate Institute (SCI), which teaches waste and water management solutions to individuals and corporates. She has been teaching a postgraduate class on climate change at the Great Lakes Institute of Management in Chennai. Mridula has expansion plans for SCI, to take its education programmes national and even international. SCI would also, in the coming years, plan surveys and environmental data on the state of water and waste in Madurai.
Mridula is now an angel investor, funding at least 15 clean technology startups, through her personal wealth.
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(This story appears in the 06 July, 2018 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)