#IWD2020: 10 Women Changing The Future Of Impact In Asia

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International Women’s Day is internationally recognised on the March 8th every year, and represents a focal point for women’s rights and is a celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. At times, it appears as though global environmental and social crises are too overwhelmingly large to tackle. But there are some amazing women right here in Asia who are striving every day to make a positive impact, one issue at a time. Today, we recognise 10 women who are pushing for change by bringing corporates and other stakeholders to task to initiate environmental and social forward policies. 

Ellie Tang, Head of Sustainability at New World Development & General Manager of Sustainability at K11 Concepts

For helping to pioneer a greener skyline through eco building design

Source: Ellie Tang

Ellie Tang is the Head of Sustainability at New World Development. In her role, she is driving the shift towards eco-friendly buildings in the city from green building design to resource efficiency. She has been responsible for leading the conglomerate’s vision for sustainability in the next decade to come, paving the way for the group to develop responsibly by engaging in environmental protection and adopting clean energy. In addition, as the General Manager of Sustainability for K11 Concepts, Tang has established the new Nature Discovery Park at K11 Musea, the city’s first sustainability and biodiversity-themed education park. 

Read: Ellie Tang speaks to Green Queen “I feel accomplished when I convert naysayers”

Regina Larko, Founder, Host & Producer of #impact

For creating a platform to showcase and celebrate impact

Source: Regina Larko

There are few people in Hong Kong more passionate about the power of audio to change minds than Regina Larko, the founder, host and producer of #impact podcast. Her mission-led podcast is all about giving a voice to people, especially women, who are making the world a safer, kinder and greener place. Her episodes have inspired many to take immediate action on the most pressing issues in the world, from the climate crisis to fashion waste. Recently, she even created an online course to help others launch impact-driven podcasts.

Read: Regina Larko tells us what she learned from launching #impact 

Esther An, Chief Sustainability Officer at City Developments Limited

For pioneering urban sustainability

Source: UN SDG Compact

Esther An is the chief sustainability officer at Singapore developer City Developments Limited (CDL). She is one of the leading figures behind the city-state’s SDG City Challenge, a campaign that brought together the Building & Construction Authority, Health Promotion Board and Sport Singapore to promote green healthy lifestyles – all while raising awareness about the Global Goals. Under CDL, An has also pioneered a program called Incubator4SDGs, which helps to host local startups that are focused on at least one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Emily Au-Young, Co-Founder & CEO of Reemi

For tackling period poverty with groundbreaking innovation and empathy

Reemi - Self-disinfecting period underwear
Source: Green Queen Media

After coming across period poverty during her work with female refugees in her time as the Communications and Fundraising Manager at Hong Kong’s Crossroads Foundation, Emily Au-Young began her research journey to dive deeper into the issue in Bangladesh. She then went onto creating New Zealand-based charity Reemi with Ashleigh Howan, which has developed the world’s first self-disinfecting and reusable underwear product. In addition to tackling wasteful nature of single-use feminine care, the organisation is making a social impact with 100% of the profits going towards benefiting women in Bangladesh through period care education, breaking social taboos, and offering a culturally sensitive mesh bag washing solution.

Read: Emily Au-Young speaks to Green Queen about fighting period poverty for the people and the planet

Janice Lao, Director of Group Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability at The Hongkong & Shanghai Hotels

For forging a corporate career defined by impact and courageous choices

Source: Janice Lao

Janice Lao is the director of corporate social responsibility (CSR) at the Hongkong & Shanghai Hotels Group. Not only has the Hong Kong-based executive led the conglomerate’s pledge to reduce single-use plastics two years ago, Lao has a long list of green sustainability achievements in her CSR career. Her work included lobbying for a shark fin ban at Cathay Pacific and pushing for one of Asia’s first green bonds at MTR Corporation. 

Sahar Mansoor, Founder & CEO of Bare Necessities

For helping to put zero waste on the Indian map

Source: Sahar Mansoor

Sahar Mansoor is the founder and CEO of Bare Necessities – Zero Waste India, a zero-waste personal care and home care brand and an education-oriented hub raising awareness on waste-free living in India. Her entire brand’s collection is made by “bare” natural and organic ingredients that are sourced locally and ethically and is sold in 100% recyclable packaging. But much more than offering clean beauty and personal care, Mansoor’s company provides education on living zero-waste through talks and workshops, and sustainability consulting services for corporates. 

Read: Sahar Mansoor talks to Green Queen about her mission to make India go zero-waste

Archana Kotecha, Asia Region Director & Head of Legal at Liberty Shared

Source: Archana Kotecha

For tirelessly fighting for human rights and migrant worker rights

Archana Kotecha is the Asia Region Director and Head of Legal at Liberty Shared, a Hong Kong-based nonprofit working on anti-trafficking projects across Asia. At Liberty Shared, Kotecha has produced reports in policy and advocacy and has worked tirelessly to educate human rights practitioners, financial institutions and governments about the legal and anti-laundering frameworks of human trafficking.

Julia Majail, Director of Standard Development of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)

Source: RSPO

For working to forge a sustainable palm oil industry

Since joining the RSPO Secretariat Office in 2011 in Malaysia, Julia Majail has led development and implementation of crucial sustainability standards and guidelines to push for change from corporations on the issue of deforestation associated with palm oil production. From providing strategic and policy advice to facilitating decision making between auditors, organisations and businesses, Majail’s work is helping to shape a future where exploitation of our planet’s resources are shunned and sustainable palm oil is the norm.

Louise Hardman, Founder & CEO of Plastic Collective

For empowering remote communities to stand up against plastic waste

Source: Coastbeat

Louise Harman is the founder and CEO of Plastic Collective, a focused on tackling the issue of waste in remote communities in Asia-Pacific through her plastic recycling machine dubbed the Shruder. It shreds and extrudes plastic for recycling, and is mobile, which enables the solution to be taken to even the most remote places and eliminates the cost and need to transporting plastic waste from rural regions and islands to large-scale processing sites. Giving small businesses an economic opportunity with the organisation’s “trash-to-treasure” technology, Harman’s work has also empowered communities in the process.

Benita Chick, Founder & CEO of Encompass HK

Source: Benita Chick

For working to highlight and raise awareness about the UN SDGs

Passionate about community outreach and making a social impact, Benita Chick founded social enterprise Encompass HK, an organisation dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace and is striving to galvanise efforts to achieve the SDGs. Not only has she collaborated with youth groups and nonprofits, through her organisation, Chick has led consultation and training services about the Global Goals, from sustainability to equality targets. 

Read: Benita Chick explains the myths & challenges of achieving the SDGs in Hong Kong


Lead image compiled by Green Queen Media, individual images as credited above. 


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