A 29-year-old Indian entrepreneur, Vidyut Mohan, is among the seven winners of the prestigious “Young Champions of the Earth” 2020 prize which is given by the UN environment agency to global change-makers. All those included in the list have been awarded for using innovative ideas and ambitious action to solve some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. Vidyut who has received the prestigious award by the UN is an engineer and the co-founder of “Takachar”, a social enterprise that enables farmers to prevent open burning of their waste farm residues and earn extra income by converting them into value-added chemicals like activated carbon on-site. Mohan has always been passionate about energy access and creating income opportunities for poor communities.” That is at the heart of finding answers to the difficult question of balancing economic growth and climate change mitigation in developing countries,” said Mohan as reported by The Business Standard.UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that in the middle of a global pandemic, where societies are struggling, economies stretched to their limits, and escalating biodiversity and climate crisis, “we need to act boldly and urgently to repair our relationship with nature and take the path of sustainable development.”
He also said that the Young Champions of the Earth “inspire and mobilize”. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director, Inger Andersen, globally, the youth is leading the way in calling for meaningful and immediate solutions to the triple planetary crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. Takachar buys rice husks, straw, and coconut shells from farmers and turns them into charcoal. This process also allows for saving the debris from the fires, which cause climate change.UNEP also informed that since the launch of Takachar in 2018, Mohan and its co-founder Kevin Kung have worked with about 4,500 farmers and processed 3,000 tonnes of crops. The chief of the energy and climate branch at UNEP’s Economy Division, Mark Radka, said the open burning of agricultural residues is a big source of air pollution in many parts of the world. Takachar, with its innovative technology, could help farmers turn what is currently thought of as waste into a valuable resource while helping clean up the environment. Mohan who is also 2019 Echoing Green Fellow and a 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 awardee said that gradually all funding streams available and support services are turning towards sustainability. Takachar chooses activated carbon (AC) as the starting market value chain and brings it to the doorstep of farmers. Through this, it reduces air pollution associated with crop residue burning, while ensuring a stable, renewable, pollution-free, and financially lucrative raw material supply for the AC industry in contrast to the traditional fossil-based sources.
UNEP added that Takachar is expected to impact 300 million farmers affected by this problem by 2030. It will also create additional rural income and jobs, and mitigate carbon waste produced by residual burning. All the Young Champions awardees this year were selected by a global jury of experts following a competitive public nomination. Each will receive USD 10,000 in seed funding and tailored training to help scale up their ideas. The Young Champions of the Earth prize is awarded every year to seven entrepreneurs under the age of 30 with bold ideas for sustainable environmental change. By choosing activated carbon (AC) as the starting market, Takachar brings this value chain to the doorstep of farmers. Through this, it reduces air pollution associated with crop residue burning, while ensuring a stable, renewable, pollution-free, and financially lucrative raw material supply for the AC industry in contrast to the traditional fossil-based sources. By 2030, Takachar will impact 300 million farmers affected by this problem, create USD 4 billion/year equivalent in additional rural income and jobs, and mitigate one gigaton/year of CO2 equivalent, UNEP added. This year’s Young Champions were selected by a global jury of experts following a competitive public nomination. Each one of them will receive USD 10,000 in seed funding and tailored training to help scale up their ideas. The Young Champions of the Earth prize is awarded every year to seven entrepreneurs who are under the age of 30 with bold ideas for sustainable environmental change.