GIST Spotlight Series: Palash Yadav

Growing up in Lucknow - one of the world’s top ten most polluted cities - has made Palash Yadav a habitually wellness-conscious individual. A keen cyclist and a pre-pandemic mask wearer, Palash has always taken an active part in trying to raise awareness of wellness issues in his local community. Over time, his passion for wellness has evolved to encompass environmentalism, after recognising the connection between the health of his community, communities around the world and individual polluting habits.



Palash started out life wanting to serve his country and protect his community in a different way: by joining the military. While his plans changed over time, that sense of service to his community and to the world has stayed with him into adulthood, “To quote one of my favourite Bollywood movies, ‘You don’t need to be a military person to serve your country.’ This has always rung true to me. There are other ways to contribute to building a healthy life for everyone.”


Palash’s connection between wellness, nature and the environment started to properly take form when he developed an addiction to solo travel, “Any opportunity I get to travel, I take it. Any place that is green and serene, with perhaps a lake or river view, is my favourite. I started travelling alone a long time ago, as I was finding the struggle of diary comparisons with friends was becoming a barrier to me just being able to go. I started to realise that being in nature decreased my stress levels and spending time alone made me appreciate its quiet serenity even more.”


His passion for nature grew further when he started following the works of Sir David Attenborough. “The scene in one of David Attenborough’s documentaries where a walrus in the Arctic was trying to stay afloat with its babies on a shrinking patch of ice, really struck me. The realisation that my own habits and behaviours all the way in India could impact a species that I hadn't even met on the other side of the world shocked me. It changed me, almost overnight. I realised that I wanted to have a more responsible life. It transformed me from within.”


Striving to do more, Palash started to search for a way to make his professional impact align, “While I was simultaneously growing my interest in sustainability, I also felt I needed to apply this passion in my career. The challenge that I faced was that, traditionally - and in my experience, business was focused on profits. While I recognised the importance of profits, I knew I needed to find purpose alongside that.”


When considering where to take this interest, Palash felt a disconnect between what he had learned in his career so far and what opportunities were out there for keen environmentalists. “Two things were very obvious to me. First, we need to protect our planet so life on it can continue to thrive. Second, economics and, ultimately, money makes the world go round. However, when I tried to find the right place for me to exercise my passions, it became clear that these two things were often seen as disconnected, if not contradictory. I knew that wherever I was going to go, it was going to have to be somewhere trying to break this mould.”


To delve deeper into this growing interest, Palash undertook an M.A in Environmental Economics and then followed it up with an MBA in Sustainable Development! “My Masters and my MBA furthered my understanding of these issues. I found it all really powerful and I was excited at the prospect of being a part of the change towards more sustainable thinking.”


While searching for somewhere that was aligned to what he had been learning in his studies, Palash came across Pavan Sukhdev’s Ted Talk “Put a value on nature!”. He became determined to support the work that he and the team at GIST are doing, “To hear that there was an organisation out there that was considering how economics and sustainability could compliment each other, rather than work against each other, was really exciting to me. I had to get involved.”


Having joined GIST in Spring of 2021, Palash is already applying his deep understanding of the connection between economics and sustainability to enhance GIST’s products for financial institutions, “I believe GIST’s impact valuation products can make a significant impact in the world because they empower investors to be the drivers for change. Our impact valuation data ensures investors have the information they need to make more sustainable investment decisions. We provide them with the tools they need to become the drivers of change for a green economy.”


Palash is excited for what the future holds for him, GIST and the planet and is as determined as ever to find practical solutions to the challenges the world is facing, “Now that I understand the impact an individual's actions can have, I look around me and feel thrilled by what we can achieve when we all come together - as a team and as a company, but also as part of a global society.”