Given the environmental problems that India is facing, the country is gradually becoming a test-bed for initiatives that pin-point polluters and prevent “greenwashing”, a phenomena whereby businesses falsely claim to be making a positive impact on the environment.
Blue Sky Analytics, a start-up founded last year by the Indian Institute of Technology, India’s prestigious engineering college, and Yale alumunus Abhilasha Purwar, is analysing satellite imagery to offer “high fidelity" pollution data to governments, businesses and citizens, according to online news provider livemint.
“You want to see bright minds tackling non-trivial problems," says Shobhit Shukla, co-founder of location-based data analytics company Near, who is an early investor in Blue Sky Analytics.
Similarly, Sushant Kumar, principal at Omidyar Network India, a philanthropic investment firm that handles “responsible tech investments” said: “High net-worth families, foundations and institutional investors are investing in firms or initiatives which fall in line with their values or that of the investors. Large multilateral funds now have a presence in India. They’re the next-level cheque writers beyond early stage investing.”
The phenomenon of “impact investing” is gradually gaining traction. The trend focuses on making a social and environmental impact along with financial returns.
According to an annual survey of the Global Impact Investing Network, this type of investment rose to $228 billion in 2018, growing 13 percent annually over five years.
A McKinsey report pointed out that the momentum picked up in India 2015 when impact investments crossed the $1-billion mark. The trend continued the following year as the average deal value doubled.