Minderoo Foundation’s No Plastic Waste initiative will welcome a new CEO from 1 July, with industry executive Dr. Ramesh Ramachandran adding his expertise to the campaign’s critical goal of eliminating single-use plastics.
Dr Ramachandran’s global credentials in the chemical and hydrocarbon sectors across India, the Middle East and the Americas, including his role in developing the world’s first recycled PET product for bottled water, will be vital in building collaborative partnerships with industry to invest in a circular economy.
Chairman of Minderoo Foundation, Dr Andrew Forrest AO, said the appointment was testament to the calibre of the No Plastic Waste team under COO Dr Nakul Saran, and what it had achieved to date, including the recent world-first Plastic Waste Makers Index. “Dr Ramachandran is an expert in the chemical industry, and a leader who recognises the plastic waste crisis requires immediate, high level action,” Dr Forrest said.
“Governments and policy makers can only do so much to confront this environmental nightmare. His deep corporate knowledge and personal drive to use his technical expertise to address plastic waste at the source is a welcome and valuable addition to the next phase of our initiative.”
Dr Ramachandran will report to Minderoo Foundation CEO Andrew Hagger. He will play a pivotal role in Minderoo Foundation’s Sea the Future program, bringing together leading multi-national producers to pilot a market-based solution to increase plastic collection rates, improve investment conditions for local consortia to build and operate new large-scale recycling plants, and scale up supply of recycled plastic feedstocks.
Chairman of Sea the Future, Mark Barnaba AM, stressed the importance of tackling the plastics issue from an academic and commercial perspective, highlighting Dr Ramachandran’s accomplishments as an author of several technical papers, holder of a doctorate in surface and colloid chemistry from Columbia University, and an MBA from Rutgers University.
“When you have a CEO with a brilliant mind backed by first-hand experience in a boardroom for non-profit organisations such as the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association, trade associations such as the Canadian Chemical Producers’ Association, and the Indian chemical industry, Ramesh knows the exact balance needed to secure partner frameworks that deliver results,” Mr Barnaba said.
Dr Ramachandran joins Minderoo Foundation from MEGVIN Advisors LLC, where he became principal in 2020. Before this, he was the president and CEO of the Kuwait-based EQUATE Petrochemical Company, led a global joint venture MEGLOBAL International, and held key leadership roles at Dow Chemical Company in the USA, Canada, and India.
While acknowledging plastics can serve a critical packaging need, Dr Ramachandran said plastic waste must be addressed before its growth overwhelms the planet, and that a substantial increase in recycled plastic content compliance is urgently needed to attack this existential threat to our oceans and environment.
“Technical solutions exist – implementation has to accelerate to precede the planned growth in virgin plastic globally,” Dr Ramachandran said. “Minderoo Foundation and No Plastic Waste will help lead such projects and enable a global measurement standard to be established so progress can be tracked. I am excited to join Minderoo’s No Plastic Waste team and further expand efforts to eliminate plastic waste in our environment.”
Dr Ramachandran, who is currently based in the United States, will perform his role from both North America and Australia, overseeing the No Plastic Waste team in Perth, London, New York, Washington DC, and Amsterdam.
Established by Andrew and Nicola Forrest in 2001, we are a modern philanthropic organisation seeking to break down barriers, innovate and drive positive, lasting change. Minderoo Foundation is proudly Australian, with eight key initiatives spanning from ocean research and ending slavery, to collaboration in cancer and community projects.