Episode 4: Ep 4 – Conversation with Nira Johri ( VP of Global Inclusion and Sustainability at Rich Products Corp)

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In this episode, we speak with Nira Johri, Vice president of Global Inclusion and Sustainability for Rich Products Corporation, a privately held multinational food products company. Nira begins by discussing her professional journey. She started out in the public sector in the Obama administration where she helped shape foreign policy. She then went on to work with an NGO before entering the private sector and her current role with Rich Products Corporation. This journey has helped her understand how stakeholders in each of these sectors operate including what drives them and what motivates them. Nira makes a point about how we need to move from generic sustainability to regenerative models: i.e., how do we recreate and foster growth and prosperity in ways that give back to people and the planet. On working in a privately held company like Rich Products, which has more than 5 billion US dollars in revenue, Nira says food companies have to focus on climate. This means working on ingredients, packaging, water, and waste. She also talks about human rights, especially fair labor.  When talking about the drivers of sustainability, Nira discusses making it a table issue at her company. She also notes the importance of legislation and regulations that will help push the system along. She discusses some of the impediments to implementing sustainability and inclusion, pointing to issues like sustainable ingredients, sustainable packaging, payback time that may be 7 years instead of 3 years, etc.  Nira spends some time on the importance of social and environmental KPIs and how technology can be used to enable them. She concludes by noting that she is an eternal optimist about our future because this work cannot be done out of frustration. It is very important that everyone learns how to stay positive and stay energized.   Guest Bio Nira Johri is currently Vice president of Global Inclusion and Sustainability for Rich Products Corporation, a privately held multinational food products company. She has 18+ years of experience leading transformational global strategies across the public and private sectors. She is passionate about delivering impact for organizations where inclusion and sustainability are fundamental parts of doing business. Nira is adept at building relationships across cultural and political divides and creating mutually beneficial partnerships.   Key moments timestamps [00:36]- Nira’s professional journey [01:57]- What does sustainability mean to Nira? [03:23]- What’s the link between diversity, inclusion, and sustainability? [05:25]- How different is her current role compared to what she has done in the past?  [07:20]- On the difference between a private company vs a public company and the roles of financial performance vs long-term sustainability [09:09]-  What are the major drivers of sustainability in business and if Nira thinks businesses can solve the sustainability issue on their own.  [11:52]- What are the major impediments to businesses being more sustainable?  [14:12]- How exactly do sustainability and social impact issues get taken into account at her company Rich products?  [17:02]- Given that Rich Products is a privately held company, how do they report and how often do they report?  [17:58]- Personal stories on sustainability and social impact [19:47]- How are social, environmental, and technology issues connected? [21:51]- Sectors that are helping make progress on sustainability and ones that are holding us back. [23:42]- What does the future hold? Is Nira optimistic? Check out the full episode transcription at: https://https://morewithlesspodcast.com/           

Quotes A huge part of any sustainability role is influencing without authority. So, understanding what your stakeholders want is really a key and instrumental part of success. – Nira Johri            About Us Venkata Gandikota is frugal innovation and impact investing evangelist and Prof Jaideep Prabhu is a Professor of Marketing at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School and co-author of an award-winning book on frugal innovation. If you have questions or feedback on this episode or our series, reach out to us. Twitter: https://twitter.com/morewithlesspodLinkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/more-with-less-podcastInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/morewithlesspodcastYouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_hymDe_ez7RbRko0PLsFkwWebsite: https://morewithlesspodcast.com