This week, we spoke to the brilliant mind behind GuruQ, Minal Anand. GuruQ is a digital platform that connects tutors and students creating an easy, simple way for parents to ensure their children are provided with a high-quality education from qualified educators. In their own words, they aim to provide "the right guidance by the right people, at the right time, and in the right manner."
Moreover, besides being a CEO, Minal is an avid green heart-er with a passion to live sustainably. Being a dog-owner and a general nature lover, it makes sense that she would want to see the wildlife around her and their habitats thrive.
Here, she tells us about her green journey, its effect on her business ventures and daily life as well as how slow fashion was brought to her attention.
This is her green story.
Tell us about yourself, what sustainability means to you and when you became concerned about it?
Being a wildlife and nature enthusiast, what about nature inspires or intrigues you?
In my opinion, nothing compares to the splendour of nature and wildlife; they are timeless and limitless. In today’s fast-paced world, surrounded by concrete jungles, the significance of being in nature and amongst wildlife in their natural habitats has risen enormously. It helps you feel free, liberated and allows us to open up our minds. Visiting natural parks and conservancies is how I like to spend any free time I may have. The simplicity of life in the wild makes you truly realize and understand what is important.
What is the most important lesson your sustainable journey has taught you?
That we all need to do our part. It may seem small and insignificant but only if we all contribute to the cause of sustainability will we really be able to make a dent in our fight to protect our planet. Even the smallest step counts!
Working in education, what can you do to encourage sustainability in your profession?
Being in the education space allows me to use our platform to spread messages on all relevant issues such as air pollution, issue of landfills and proper disposal, water conservation, and various other ways in which we as humans can make a difference. Social media platforms, public speaking and constant interactions with India’s youth allows me to spread the message of sustainable living as much as I can.
Do you incorporate green values in your business and how so?
In our other company, HPL Additives, we manufacture additives which are used in rubber, plastic and petroleum. Thus, we are constantly trying to offset our carbon footprint, through our endeavours such as launching an oxo-biodegradable additive that, if added to the manufacturing process, will allow the plastic to biodegrade. We also implement efficient effluent treatment plants, identify options to move to solar power and, recently, are spearheading the importance of industries’ need for water conservation at our Expo in Germany. These are just a few, but over the years we have done various activities like organizing plantation drives in and around our factories in Haryana and Punjab, gifting plants as part of Diwali gifts to employees to spread the importance of clean air, hold clean-up drives in Haryana, etc.
When did you become aware of slow fashion and what would you like to see change in the fashion industry so that it can become even more sustainable?
I think consumers have become more aware of what they are buying. They realise that their purchase and consumption patterns have a direct impact on our planet. People are now relatively more aware of the repercussions of their wants and needs for the planet. Therefore brands and the overall market have had to evolve to meet this growing ‘conscious’ demand. Sui is a great initiative that I believe appeals to this conscious consumers’ heart with their use of sustainable fabrics and production. But yes, other brands in the industry have a long way to go. Only now, have many major brands stopped using real fur or exotic leathers, but many still haven’t. So there is a lot still to be done.
Sui's new collection 'Flow', is all about slowing down to appreciating moments and nature around us. How do you manage to take a moment for yourself within your busy day?
What is your favourite 'Flow' piece?
The Cape top is definitely one of my favourites. It's super soft and so versatile, one can style it in so many different ways.
What is a green pledge you try to live by every day?
Save water and electricity, reduce plastic and other waste, use biodegradable and natural products, recycle, reuse as much as possible are probably some things I do regularly but that’s just the bare minimum we all should do.
What advice would you give others about how to live greener?
So these are very simple things people can do in their everyday lives to live a greener life and start today:
- Save water by taking short showers, turning faucets off while brushing your teeth.
- Make sure you segregate trash into recyclable (plastic, glass, steel), other dry waste and wet waste. There are companies like Extra Carbon that come and pick up your dry waste from your house. Ensure your waste is treated properly.
- Make sure you turn off any unnecessary lights at all times.
- Use energy-efficient or hybrid cars or use public transportation.
- Do not burst firecrackers at all.
- Use a reusable water bottle instead of buying new bottles of water.
- See animals in their natural habitat and visit conservations and natural parks instead of zoos. By visiting zoos, you are paying them to keep animals in captivity that are meant to be free. Aquariums and places like Sea World are also very bad. You can go snorkelling or diving to see various marine life.