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24-Year-Old Indian Climate Innovator Set To Launch Diversity Petition At Inaugural Nobel Prize Summit

Hailing from India and Oman, Svanika Balasubramanian is the Co-Founder & CEO of rePurpose Global, the world’s first plastic credit platform. Svanika is a Forbes 30 under 30 honoree, World Economic Forum SDG Champion, One Young World Lead2030 Champion, Halcyon Fellow, and graduate of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Climate change has quickly risen up to the top of our global agenda, but the unfortunate reality is that the mainstream dialogue has systematically left out those who will bear the brunt of its irreversible impact: young people of color. Now, a global campaign is underway to radically improve diversity and representation in the fight against our planet’s climate crisis.

Svanika Balasubramanian, 24-year-old Indian-Omani environmental innovator and CEO of rePurpose Global, is gearing up to address the inaugural Nobel Prize Summit on April 28th and introduce a radical, 8-point agenda to tackle this critical gap.

Featuring dozens of Nobel laureates, activists, experts, and world leaders such as Ursula von der Leyen, the Dalai Lama, Dr. Fauci, Ramesh Mashelkar and Leena Srivastava, this year’s Nobel Prize Summit: Our Planet, Our Future will explore solutions that address some of humanity’s greatest challenges and put our world on a path towards a sustainable future for all. On this world stage, Svanika is set to emphasize the need to amplify diverse voices and launch the Color For Climate Petition, packed with concrete demands aimed at the climate movement’s most consequential stakeholders.

Speaking about the momentous opportunity to highlight this important cause, Svanika Balasubramanian, co-founder of the world’s first plastic credit platform said, “I am honored to be a part of the first Nobel Prize Summit. I see it as a pivotal moment for young, passionate innovators to lead the conversation on our planet’s future. The unfortunate reality is, at many other summits I’ve spoken at, I have often been the only young person of color at the podium.”

As Oxfam’s recent report points out, the wealthy 1% produces more than double the carbon emissions of the bottom 50% in the world, yet climate change negatively impacts youth, women, indigenous communities, and minorities in developing countries significantly more than it does others. If not for global warming, economic inequality between rich and poor countries would be 25% less, a recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds. This massive gap isn’t easily bridged, but elevating voices from marginalized communities of color is a necessary start for the climate movement to succeed.

As a key demand in the Color For Climate petition, Svanika is calling for international environmental organizations such as WWF and Greenpeace to create a first-of-its-kind Reality Seat on their governing boards. The Seat is intended to be occupied by people of color below 35 years who can represent the concerns of communities intrinsically linked to the environmental issues addressed by those organizations.

The petition also appeals to COP26, the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in November, and all ensuing climate negotiations for balanced representation within their organizing teams, champions, and expert panels. Currently, COP26 is garnering criticism for having only one woman among its senior leadership, and many activists have already called on Alok Sharma, COP26 President, for greater accountability and transparency on gender equality.

Svanika’s personal identity as an Indian-Omani woman has continuously shaped and refined her unique perspective on diversity in the climate movement. Along with her co-founders, Svanika is fostering an inclusive culture at rePurpose Global, the only plastic credit platform in the world founded entirely by young people of color. Headquartered on the shores of Goa, India, Svanika’s social enterprise is constantly transcending barriers to include new voices through its 100+ purposeful brands, impact projects across the Global South, and most importantly, 30 passionate employees who hail from 11 countries and average at just 26 years old.

“From the landfills of Mumbai to the corporate headquarters in New York, my team and I have traversed across the world to build a global coalition of people and companies dedicated to empowering environmental innovators.” In the run-up to the Summit, she says, “Diversity has been absolutely integral to our venture’s success. It’s about time that we add some color to the climate movement as well.”


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