Increasingly, businesses acknowledge that what they produce and how they do it affects people and the planet. This is especially true for mindful, detail-oriented, and impact-conscious startups in how they operate and solve business problems.
With nearly 90,000 startups, India’s startup ecosystem is the third-largest in the world. Among these are companies that strive to make sustainability part and parcel of their business approach.
Let us look at five startups that share a common commitment to leveraging technology for reach and are breaking new ground in sustainability.
Providing livestock with emergency care
Consider animal husbandry provider, Animal ICU. The startup is the first to offer a tech-enabled platform for animal healthcare. It was established during the pandemic by Manish Kumar Meena after he experienced the challenges farmers endure when their cattle fall ill. The livestock platform enables farmers to reach out to doctors locally and gain access to quick and accurate information when animals are sick.
The platform also provides an accessible dashboard for farmers to see information about routine check-ups, healthcare tips, and a health ‘card’ to track their livestock’s health parameters and vaccination due dates. Animal ICU is the first organization in the world to have launched a cattle credit card and unique identification number to help future buyers see what an animal is worth, including its ancestry.
Enabling farming in metros
Next, consider a startup in the urban farming space, Blueleaves Farm. The organization builds automated vertical farms on complex residential rooftops. Its aeroponic cultivation setup can produce yields over 50 times per unit of land without pesticides and with up to 90 percent lower water requirement. With the help of robotics, artificial lighting, and IoT, Blueleaves is able to work with just a fraction of the space, time, and labor usually required to produce high-quality yields.
The farms show organizations and individuals a sustainable way to cultivate crops. The startup’s use of smart tech ensures that farming is climate-independent, and pesticide-free, with far lower water requirements than conventional farming and 50 times more yield.
Enhancing farmer yield
We’ll look at another startup, ELAI Agritech. It tackles food productivity but from the point of view of rural land productivity. ELAI Agritech tackles the challenge of low farm yields due to a lack of affordable tech. Affordable tech allows monitoring fields remotely and providing time-sensitive input to farmers to improve their crop potential and income.
ELAI Agritech harnesses the power of next-gen tech tools and processes, including AI, remote sensing, and IoT to enable greater transparency throughout the entire agricultural supply chain. With the help of a data network consisting of an interconnected set of mobile, satellite, and on-ground sensors, ELAI Agritech enables timely insights for farmers and other agriculture stakeholders.
ELAI Agritech also helps farmers reduce losses and improve farm yield with the help of an android app. The app creates a digital trail of the farm for the crop cycle, which then provides agriculture stakeholders with the data they need to access vital insights through a SaaS-based monitoring platform. This, in turn, makes data-driven policy creation and business planning possible for agribusinesses and governments.
ELAI Agritech has seen positive results in its 50 model farms, and it is in the process of expanding its farmer network.
Disposing of waste sustainably
An essential aspect of sustainability is learning how to dispose of waste responsibly and sustainably. The startup Elemantra works in the waste disposal space. This non-profit focuses on empowering communities to learn how to engage in sustainable and responsible waste disposal activities to promote the long-term well-being of the people and the planet.
Elemantra applies its technical know-how and innovation to offer unique waste disposal products that help to foster change in the way waste is managed and disposed of. Since its inception, it has transformed the lives of more than five lakh people across the country through fieldwork, scientific innovation, and a vision to revolutionize waste disposal.
Fuelling the economy
Finally, let us consider Jivoule Biofuels—a startup in the biofuels space. Driven to create clean, green fuel, Jivoule Biofuels is building a bioeconomy in the country by making biofuels available. Its mission is to transform everything from organic, wet, biomass, biodegradable, dairy, agri-waste, and poultry waste into Biomethane or Compressed Biogas (CBG). CBG, or biomethane, is a renewable and sustainable fuel used in industries, transport, and cooking and can easily replace CNG or natural gas.
Clearly, these five startups are fostering more sustainable ways of growing food, expanding farm productivity, helping farmers take better care of their livestock, and disposing of waste responsibly. They are trailblazers with innovative and sustainable business models and promise to serve as role models for other businesses committed to making a difference.