Case for Moral Capitalism


‘Top 10 Trends of the 2020s’ was an engaging programme presented by Ruchir Sharma in association with Prannoy Roy. The programme was aired on NDTV last month.

The trends for businesses in this decade made repeated reference to companies working with a head and heart. Moral Capitalism was the headline used to describe this new phenomenon.

The Millennials (current age group 22-37) together with Gen-Z (age group 7-22) make up about 60% of the world’s population. This large group of consumers are far more socially conscious compared to the previous generation. It was explained that they are known to demand social and environmental accountability from brands that they engage with. Businesses, therefore, have been forced to look beyond profits and demonstrate a ground-level implementation of their commitment to people and the planet.

For us at Saahas Zero Waste, we have always been convinced that companies should have social good as the primary objective of their existence. This is how it was in the ’50s and ’60s of the last century. We are thrilled that the trend is coming back in this decade.

We are then more than happy to take our place as a ‘trendy’ company that works on the ground to bring impact and social good.

Last year, we worked closely with brands to support them build a reverse logistics system for plastic packaging. This is an essential part of compliance which is now required under Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). The current supply chain to bring back post-consumer plastics is largely dependent on the informal sector.

Our intensive engagement with the sector is now focused on moving scrap dealers and waste pickers towards social inclusion. This means minimum wages, no child labour, and compliance to health and environment regulations.

Process formalising the work of informal waste workers

1,900 individuals across 17 states in India were impacted as we worked with scrap dealers, dry waste collection centres, waste picker colonies, the transport network, and others to move them towards compliance and social inclusion.

The impact numbers are as yet relatively small but the approach is being widely accepted. We are excited to now go full throttle and notch up the numbers so that our social inclusion programme becomes the new normal for the informal sector in India.

This is a tremendous opportunity for us to clean up not just the county but also the system.

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