As sustainability is often associated with the environment, many have raised the concern that there hasn’t been enough focus on the social and governance aspects of ESG. Further, over time, we’ve realized that merely monetarily contributing to the cause is not enough; in order to make any tangible change we must come up with sustainable, long-term solutions. Therefore, the question becomes what the most effective way is to do this.
Successful start-ups and organisations have identified new, innovative, and impactful approaches. One such example is Places of Impact.
India has over 140 million migrant workers, making up around a fifth of its total workforce (Aljazeera). Further, in recent years, there has been a growing number of females, in particular, migrating for economic reasons (Female Migrants in India). Despite migrating, many women find themselves living far away from work, having nutritional deficiencies, and having poor access to healthcare, ultimately preventing them from becoming financially independent. Over 84% of migrant workers do not have accommodation or stay in poor quality accommodation.
Places of Impact has recognized “women-centric, affordable, purpose-built housing around fast-growing industrial hubs”, as the best solution for migrant women, reducing inequality (SDG 10) and improving physical, social, and mental well-being (SDG 3) (Places of Impact)
To Places of Impact, it is not just about accommodation, but on quality housing that can change various aspects of a migrant’s life in the long term for less than 25% of their income. The housing they offer has constant security, access to clean food and water supply (SGD 6), community engagement, and increased proximity to work to ensure both a safe and sustainable community (SGD 11).
Success has already been seen with their first two projects by developers Purthi and Moonshot Environment LLP, positively impacting over 3000 lives, ultimately allowing for improved financial outcomes for the women migrant workers (SDG 8). Further, they have received recognition as a top 10 global finalist at the EU Tech Chamber 2021 SDG Awards. Yet, this is just the beginning.
Aware that making an impact entails risk, they have a clear roadmap to their ambitious goal of helping 150,000 lives by 2025. They have exciting projects planned like a digital platform to complement their buildings and online access to health insurance, along with research and development investments to improve construction and operational efficiencies.
As large of an endeavor as this may already be, Places of Impact hasn’t limited its efforts to just social impact. They have also committed to reducing carbon emissions from construction processes, using “low embodied energy construction materials [and] renewable energy for operations and maintenance”. By limiting and recycling their waste, they also aim to reduce their current trajectory of emissions by 5000 tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2025, contributing to climate action (SDG 13).
Awareness regarding social issues and ESG has certainly increased in the last decade, inspiring more people who are passionate about the cause to further research and innovate. As start-ups continue to develop unique approaches and angles, we as a society can build multi-faceted approaches and identify what works best in the long term, depending on the issue involved. Let us get inspired and inspire others.
This blog is compiled by @Sarina Uttam- for CorpStage.