If Sumant Sinha is the face of ReNew Power, Vaishali Nigam Sinha is the force that’s integrating sustainability with the company’s strategy and operations. While her passion for the environment dates back to her college days in India, she continued to participate in environment-related events during her time at the Harvard Business School and Columbia University. “I was also interested in giving and impact,” she says.
Her subsequent career in investment banking, which was spread over 15 years and took her to the US, the UK and India, gave her a nuanced insight into impact investment.
It was not surprising that one of the initiatives she set up upon returning to India along with Sumant was iCharity, an online portal connecting donors with NGOs. “I was excited about it. I wanted to marry giving with technology and enable people overseas to donate money. I knew it was difficult to give. It still is,” she says.
When Sumant set up ReNew Power in 2011, she wondered what she would do in an energy infrastructure company. “In any entrepreneurial venture, you always need extra hands. You need more brains, too. A few people have to do a lot more,” she says, while recollecting her early days at ReNew Power.
Soon Vaishali started driving the corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability initiatives under the ReNew India Initiative. She is also the founding chair of the company’s philanthropic arm ReNew Foundation.
At ReNew Power, her current focus is on the company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy, its implementation and disclosures. Climate action, sustainable development and women empowerment are the other causes that she holds dear.
If ReNew Power is known for its leadership in sustainability as much as it is known for renewables, Vaishali could claim a fair bit of credit for embedding corporate sustainability, ESG aspects and responsible investing successfully within the company’s business strategy and operations. The company’s CSR programme claims to impact four lakh lives across 200 villages in India.
On ReNew Power making it to the list of Top 10 renewable power companies in the world on the ESG Risk Ratings by Sustainalytics, Vaishali says, “The third-party validation is a testimony to our success.”
Vaishali is also actively engaged in the social and environmental initiatives of the World Economic Forum, Energy Transition Taskforce under the Sustainable Markets Initiative and is also part of the Global Alliance for Sustainable Energy, South Asia Women in Energy and Confederation of Indian Industry. “ReNew Power has given me a platform to make my voice heard, and I find it satisfying,” she says.
Going forward, she is keen on sharing what she is learning. “If I can take leadership and share at least in the global south what I am learning, I will be a happy and fulfilled person,” Vaishali adds.