The waste management sector is still underserved and has huge potential to grow with a focus on technology-driven execution
Prashant Singh, CEO & Co-Founder, Blue Planet
At the helm of Blue Planet Environmental Solutions, Prashant Singh, Co-founder & CEO, is responsible for the global operations, strategic growth and development of the integrated waste management solutions company. In a recent conversation, he shares the vision, inspiration, and journey that has set Blue Planet on a trajectory to become one of Asia’s most sustainable integrated waste management solutions providers and what the future has in store for them and the sector.
It is evident from our discussion with Prashant Singh, Co-founder & CEO, Blue Planet Environmental Solutions, that he firmly believes the need of the hour is to ensure that global development does not come at the cost of the environment and the sensitive ecologies of the planet. With the increasing expansion of urbanization and the rapid progress of industrialization around the world, the amount of waste generated by populations and communities is also increasing, especially in developing nations. We need to positively alter the thought process and mindset of our society and corporates in general on what our priorities should be, should it be only focused on profits and growth? Or achieving development and growth while balancing our responsibility of taking care of the environment today, to be proudly handed over to our next generations. In the future, will our youth be thankful for our actions today or will they hold us accountable for our inaction?
Founded in 2017, and headquartered in Singapore, Blue Planet has grown steadily over the past few years to create a truly global footprint of integrated waste management solutions, to deal with the burgeoning issue of waste that threatens many sensitive ecologies and communities across the globe. With being an industry thought leader, comes another critical aspect, one of how we re-engineer our approach to climate change to be more relevant, cautious, and aware. Citizens of every country should make stakeholders accountable and ensure we all are contributing towards a better tomorrow. Sustainable solutions have been on the forefront, but in order to increase adoption, they need to be made more relevant to our existing problem statements and more visible within the ecosystem. The Blue Planet team, has been committed and is continuously delivering World Class Sustainable solutions that are relevant to today’s challenges in the Waste Management sector.
“The sector is still fragmented and there is a huge potential to bring efficiency and growth with a focus on technology-driven execution. So, when we started evaluating the sector and spending time with key stakeholders, we found an enormous gap in terms of the magnitude of the problem and the available solutions around it. This gap is where we saw an opportunity and thought of founding Blue Planet to ensure that solutions are created in the most sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. Along with providing solutions, we are also focused on making sure that we are well aligned with UN SDG goals and operate in seamless compliance with ESG guidelines within the sector” says Prashant. “We want to be a social enterprise with a triple-bottom-line focus which is people, planet & prosperity.”
By acquiring technologies and solutions and integrating them into solutions being offered, Blue Planet is not only creating a new way to manage waste but is also ensuring that new benchmarks for service delivery mechanisms are created.
“If we take the Indian market as a reference, at any given point of time in the waste collection to processing or landfilling process value chain, there are three to five players involved in the process. If there are five partners owning the solutions to the problem, no one really owns it,” says Prashant. “We want to change this and transform the sector to ensure that there is accurate accountability and ownership in solving the problem, from the point of waste generation to final upcycling and disposal. The focus should ensure that it’s an outcome and service delivery-oriented model so that people get the quality service that they deserve, and are eventually ready to adapt the “Polluters to pay” model, which is the only long-term sustainable solution to the problem”
Blue Planet is focused on deploying on the ground, synergistically integrated, and sustainable waste management technology solutions and breaking the past trends of isolated offerings.
“In the Waste Management sector, the time frame where we would have been able to make a tangible impact on the ground would have been much longer if we had to do it all by ourselves – in terms of building teams, creating relevant technologies, proving those technologies, having an integrated platform setup, etc. This would have easily taken 10+ years.,” explains Prashant. “As a company, we might have a decade to establish ourselves, but our communities and the environment don’t have that much time. Therefore, we adopted a strategy of building and investing in companies that are doing great groundwork in the waste management ecosystem. We don’t come with the baggage of the past on how the sector operated. We are looking at the sector with a fresh outlook, in terms of solving the problem, not just closing our eyes and assuming traditional ways of operations are the only way forward”
“To understand the challenges, overcome the gap, and create awareness on the benefits and actual implementation of the integrated waste management solutions, we have and will continue to engage with key stakeholders that include municipal bodies, policymakers, industry peers, and others. Furthermore, we are working closely with the Indian Government’s premier public policy think-tank, in creating a framework for the sector,” shares Prashant. “Policies should be well balanced and facilitate the scaling up of the sector as well as ensure that there is discipline being brought in for a level playing field for service providers in this sector.”
In Prashant’s own words, Blue Planet is on a transformational journey. Committed efforts to adhere to tangible benefits and the triple bottom line focus for people, planet & prosperity, have led to us establishing a robust, leadership position in the markets we operate in.
“We are a firm believer and true implementer of Circular economy solutions. We understand the need for a dual-pronged approach to tackle today’s challenges, while we try to deal with solving the legacy waste menace, there needs to be a swift and parallel effort to bring sustainable solutions for dealing with fresh waste. Our portfolio technologies and companies work seamlessly in a very synergistic manner to make sure that it’s a win-win situation for our clients and us. We are planning to further evolve the company which will have a global and not just regional play,” shares Prashant. “In terms of providing an integrated solution which is based on technology-driven execution, I believe we will be among the top global players in the sector, in the next three to four years.”
The sector continues to grow lucrative as well. Over 1/3rd of global PE funding is attached to ESG guidelines which is more than 30% to 35%. Furthermore, multiple new initiatives are coming out in the form of newer opportunities in markets and policy catalysation from the Government side.
Managing such a large enterprise in a growing sector needs a strategic approach to leadership as well. This is even more important in the context of a company like Blue Planet that brings together talented individuals from a diverse set of geographical backgrounds and entrepreneurial mindsets.
“Adopting an inclusive leadership style, we ensure that people feel comfortable in getting their ideas across for both opportunities as well as challenges. This becomes a means for people and teams to thrive and grow in this business. Our approach to transparency and bringing in a positive climate change and sustainability focus, to the business is something we are passionate about, and it also resonates well with the new generation of team members that are joining us. We are confident that we will be able to provide them with a vision where they are adequately challenged and can meaningfully contribute towards a better tomorrow and grow professionally.
He adds – “Blue Planet’s vision is to become the most sustainable Waste Management company, by leveraging our Technology-driven execution. Our dream of ZERO to landfill is undoubtedly ambitious, but not farfetched as our technologies are already making a meaningful & tangible impact and are delivering desired outcomes.”
His ideal way of unwinding after a day of high-power meetings and strategy brainstorming is running, reading, and spending time with his wife and children – aged 4 and 12, by creating and having memorable experiences with them both within the home and outside.
“By experiences, I don’t mean just going to places,” Prashant laughs. “The quality of life, memories and experiences that you make are more important to you both as an individual and as a family. This will give you the courage and support to fight challenging times like these and make sure that we stay a united family, ready for the future.”