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BW Businessworld

Revamping Sustainability

Manufacturing as a sector sees a lot of byproducts as waste, and companies like Runaya serve as a testimony to the unique ways in which one can reduce waste in pre-existing spaces.

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The runaya group is a fast-growing manufacturing startup that leverages best-in-class technology and relationships with international partners to create innovative solutions in the resources sector.

Cutting-edge Technology: Founded in 2017 with the vision to deploy cutting-edge technology in the manufacturing sector in India, Runaya aims to revolutionise the resources industry by creating innovative solutions. “The idea was to develop sustainability and technology-driven solutions for the manufacturing sector. There were very few people focusing on sustainability at a grassroots manufacturing level. We did our research and found out what the pain points of the industry were, worked backwards, identified and developed technologies to solve these problems,” says, Naivedya Agarwal, Founder and CEO of Runaya.

Runaya started off by looking at the aluminium industry, for whom the biggest pain point was aluminium dross, a hazardous solid waste in aluminium production industries that has caused serious environmental and public health challenges.

Runaya was able to eliminate 200,000 tonnes of aluminium waste at their manufacturing site, which was then used as a conditioner by the steel industry. Elaborating on their other projects, Agarwal explains, “We have a joint venture with another company called Moniva where we manufacture ground support equipment for underground mining, infrastructure and panelling sectors.”

With a lot on their plate, the platform never loses sight of their primary agenda which is sustainability. Additionally, they have zero rate of product failure, with the company focusing heavily on safety.

ESG Compliance: The journey to start a platform which was not driven mainly by profit but Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) compliance is difficult in a capital-driven industry. This was a challenge Runaya had to overcome.

“We identified ESG, including sustainability and safety, to be the emerging themes, and then found the right businesses and partners to help us execute our vision. It was also challenging to enforce our diversity targets as we scaled, so we had to be really selective about our hiring and recruited only diversity talent as part of our Fresher’s Hiring Programme,” says Agarwal.

Sustainability is not a good-to-have for any company, it has now become a must-have, which will be true for the foreseeable future. With questions around carbon credits and climate change gaining centre stage, these issues are here to stay. Given the issues at hand, scalability for Runaya is going to be an upward trajectory.

Intelligent Strategy: The difficult phase was exacerbated during the last one-and-a-half years which have been difficult for most businesses, however Agarwal was able to sail through with an intelligent strategy. “In terms of businesses we got lucky, all of the projects were at an incubation stage during the lockdown. Our projects were delayed, but that is a part of the manufacturing sector,” he tells BW Businessworld.

Additionally, they recruited 80-85 per cent of their team during the lockdown and getting the team on board with a common company culture is where the challenge lies ahead.

Manufacturing as a sector sees a lot of byproducts as waste, and companies like Runaya serve as a testimony to the unique ways in which one can reduce waste in pre-existing spaces.