Neetu Jain: Sustainability Warrior Innovating Eco-Friendly Products To Promote Sustainable Living


Neetu Jain: Sustainability Warrior Innovating Eco-Friendly Products To Promote Sustainable Living

Neetu Jain: Sustainability Warrior Innovating Eco-Friendly Products To Promote Sustainable Living

Neetu Jain
Founder & MD

The need for energy conservation is increasing day by day as a result of significant environmental changes, smog, and poor air quality, primarily caused by increased pollutants and solar heat. To conserve energy, sustainable approach to reduce the rise in temperature and thus the UHI (Urban Heat Island) mitigation is the first step to the right way forward. Sustainability with action on the root cause is the future indeed!

Driven by this mandate, Panache Green Solutions, a Vadodara based manufacturer, marketer & distributor of chemical coatings for energy conservation & Insulation intends to create 100 sustainable societies in coming five years, contributing to the vision of 'Creating Cool Green Cities'. The powerhouse behind this courageous vision is Neetu Jain, the founder of Panache Green Solutions. A recognized leader in the field of High SRI cool surfaces (cool roofing & cool wall coatings) and water proofing technology, as well as a strong proponent of sustainable and innovative UHI mitigating building technologies.

Her expertise in Energy efficient & protective building enveloping products & solutions comprising of cool surfaces (cool roofing & cool wall coatings), thermal comfort, insulation, and waterproofing, as well as other UHI mitigation technologies is exceptional. It's no wonder that Neetu is often mistaken for a civil engineer. However, the reality, she is a Pharmacy graduate.

She paved her way into this business with just roof cooling and waterproof solution and with an intention to gain a secondary source of income. However, as she gained expertise in the field, Neetu acquired a passion for sustainable projects and today she has expanded the company from a single product to a range of products for complete building envelope.

As a Founder and MD of Panache Greentech Solutions Pvt Ltd her core intention is to provide the best up to the mark, genuine environment friendly innovative products & solutions with sustainable performance which also comply with global standards.

The Women Entrepreneur Magazine team got the opportunity to conduct an in-depth interview with Neetu. Through the conversation she took us along on her inspirational life journey and gave us a glimpse into her glorious plans for the company in the days to come. Here are choice excerpts from the conversation.

Give us an overview of panache GreenTech solutions. What are some important features about your journey as a business leader that you want us to highlight through the article?

Panache GreenTech is leader in High SRI cool surfaces (cool roofing & cool wall coatings) and water proofing technology, as well as a strong proponent of sustainable and innovative UHI mitigating building technologies. We provide the technical integrity of complete energy conservative coating systems for all structural constructions & green buildings, heat reducing & waterproofing systems based on nanotechnology & IR Reflection Technology. The company is primarily involved in manufacturing, marketing & distribution of innovative products - chemical coatings for energy conservation, Insulation & waterproofing. Our USP lies in the right system design provided to the client with support of application by our own trained subsidiary sister concern for application.

Product development, innovation, creativity has always been an integral part of my passion. Contribution to combat climate change & work for nature sustenance is the vision.

Take us through your early educational journey and prior industry experience.

My entire education was in Jodhpur. I received my bachelor's degree in pharmacy from Lachoo Memorial College of Science and Technology. Post this I worked as a lecturer at the same college for a year. I started working with Siesta Pharmaceuticals as a project manager in 2000, and then moved on to Sienna Formulations Pvt Ltd as the Creative Director. In 2007 I started working towards exploring the other products and avenues to establish.

Take us through the foundation journey of panache GreenTech solutions. What motivated you to establish a firm that promotes and supports sustainable and green products?  What is the basic idea behind panache GreenTech solutions?

After getting married, my husband launched his own firm in 2000, and I assisted him in promotions for the first three to four years. I was only doing it as a hobby, but I was giving it my all. However, in 2005, the business had significant financial difficulties, prompting me to consider broadening the business in order to generate additional revenue. My father, a retired Principal & chemistry professor, was honorary consulting for a couple of companies at the same time out of his hobby. He gave me a product with a statement, 'Look this product when we walk on it feels cool & also it's protecting dampness' thus provides cooling and waterproof solutions when we were low on resources and items to diversify our business, and that was the start of Panache Greentech Solutions journey which started with name of Aesthetic Solutions.

I visualized the identity of my company to be for energy saving & not waterproofing. In 2008 I discovered the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), a CI initiative promoting green building and sustainability practices. The chairman of the IGBC Late Dr. Prem Jain inspired me, and I got associated with them. That's when I made the decision to only promote green products.

In 2010 I was awarded the `Power of Idea awards' for my energy conversation idea, and I was given the opportunity to participate in a 15-day workshop at IIM, Ahmedabad, where I learned much more about business management. With the insights received Aesthetic Solutions converted to Panache Greentech Solutions Pvt. ltd. Panache means Big, Flamboyant! I wished Panache to have Global presence, contributing to the global society benefits.

Energy Conservation, City Cooling is the core idea behind Panache Green Solutions and in next five  year we intent to create 100 sustainable societies, contributing to the vision of 'Creating Cool Green Cities'.

What challenges did you face while setting up the firm and bringing the product into the market? How did you overcome these setbacks to establish a successful company?

Initially it was tough for me to network with people in the industry because I came from a pharmaceutical background and had no expertise of building technologies. Everything here was new to me: getting the firm registered, marketing, sales, and everything else. The product was the only thing that I had. I didn't even have a brochure or a visiting card to advertise the product. People were also ignorant about the advantages of cooling, they only looked for waterproofing systems. As a result, I was unable to begin my business in the traditional manner with the concept of promoting energy saving.

However, when we introduced our product to the market, no one had heard of energy conservation and were not interested in it. They were interested in the waterproof solution, but not in the cooling. Hence, based out of my logics, I decided to continue with my own convictions. As a result, the waterproofing solutions alone were replaced by energy conversation solutions providing added benefits of Cooling. Making people educate, exposed waterproofing if not protected by Cool coatings will tend to fail due to increased temperature variations and increased expansion contraction of their substrates which could lead to leaking. So the basic concept was Energy Conversation, with waterproofing as an added benefit. Today we have the complete range for Energy Saving & Protecting Building envelop, consisting of ­Solar Insulation ­ High SRI coatings -Cool Tops for Cool Roofs, Cool Wrap for Cool Wall Paints, Cool Top Xpress for Cool Pavement coatings; Thermal Insulation­Insulmix Screed for Roof Insulation, Insulmix Wall plaster for Wall insulation; Waterproofing­Hi Seal Slurry for chemical waterproofing, Nanoseal for water repellent of walls & many other innovative methods to provide services like FASC & CIS systems.

“Green talk was started with the goal of bridging the gap between sustainability and layman's understanding of sustainability, showcasing the consultants and their work, and branding the company”

Managing human resources was the biggest challenge in the initial days. Myself having the soft and liberal attitude was blackmailed by employees and Employee management and retention was a challenge in the early days. Many a times when everything was set up, employees would resign, leaving me in a lurch because the data would be gone with them. This provoked me to work towards making the company system-oriented to avoid this. We also developed training modules for the laborers to help them become more skilled at their jobs.

To enrich my experiences and learning I took few short management courses and started taking the approach of horizontal growth with growth of employees. Whatever I do for employees with all the resources I had, still I could not see satisfaction in them. I was losing patience, than from one of my consultant friend, I got an insight to give growth to the 20% performing employees and set their growth as an example for other employees. I identified the right person and made him wear the management shoes, and this worked. I could also bridge the gap by learning a lot of employees' perspective.

“My core intent is to provide the best environment friendly innovative products with sustainable performance which also comply with global standards”

Summer is when we get the most projects, however last year, owing to COVID 19, all of our projects were put on hold, and a couple were postponed. My inspiration Dr. Jain had a dream to take the Green movement to the masses. Attending the IGBC technical conferences, I saw a huge gap between the common citizens and the technical people. However, during the lock down period, with intention to bridge that gap and sustain our presence, we launched a platform called GreenTalks, which helped us get even closer to sustainability. We invite intellectual people to talk about sustainability and showcasing the consultants and their work, and branding the company. GreenTalks intend to reach the students fraternity and make students understand different practices, products for sustainability in very simple language which motivates them to adopt Green businesses.

During the lock down, with the same intention to reach the common citizens, I founded Rotary club of Baroda Greens and initiated a campaign ­ Green Crusaders, that added value to my profile. We also made a very nice movie to make a choice and adopt sustainable practices.

What have been some of the most significant milestones achieved by you over the years? What awards and accolades have you received thus far?

In 2010 I received the Power of Idea awards, In 2011 I participated in few research projects, and in 2012 I represented India in GSEP, Global Superior Energy Performance initiative of Dept. Of Energy, US.

In 2016, I became a founding Trustee of the GCGC Foundation, which assists poor individuals in living in cool, pleasant, and sustainable environments. I am a member of the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) since 2008 and an Executive Board member of the organization since 2010. To promote green construction, I was appointed Vice Chairperson of IGBC in Baroda in 2017. In 2020, I founded the club as charter president, The Rotary Club of Baroda Greens, the cause based club with a singular focus on environmental issues.

We got CIA awards for being Best Cool roof Company of India for the complete system developed as COOL TOPS to give sustainable performance in the Indian climate. We received IDAC awards for most innovative products and solutions. Panache played instrumental role for adoption of Cool Roof as smart project for Telangana smart city.

Starting very raw, now we participate as Silver sponsors/ Gold sponsors for IGBC conferences, IGBC Railway conferences, ASHRAE, IID activities make us feel proud for the contribution we could make. Recently I have been appointed as official CRRC educator and we became founding member for CRRC wall programs.

We are the pioneers to bring the COOL WAAL PAINTS We were the first one in India to get our products certified for its main measure SRI value from Singapore & than was first report generated by CEPT, once tested facilities started there. We are the first to get its aged SRI value in India. We were the first to apply Cool Tops, our Cool Roof coatings to versatile substrates materials, such as concrete, China mosaics, asbestos, cement sheets, precoated, bare metal sheets along with application on all type of roofs, tanks, movable and stationary storage tankers.

We started this project as a way to supplement our income, but it has turned into a passion for me, and everyone thinks I'm a civil engineer because of the kind of knowledge I have about this field.

As part of my journey of entrepreneurship my parents and grown up children are my award and achievement with lot of understanding and providing a strong motivating support system to me emotionally. Not to skip, few of my colleagues and team mates are proving to be instrumental in my journey. I would like to mention each and everyone; friends and other family members play a role in your growth.

During my journey, I happen to get opportunity of exposure to Silva modality, Access Consciousness, Vipasana modality of spirituality and I find the ethos of spirituality to be part of my biggest achievement that is inculcating the culture of values and ethics in Panache.

What would your words of advice be to young women aspiring to become leaders and venture out on their own?

Normally people see opportunities going, I advise women to see the opportunities while coming towards you and hunt for opportunities instead of waiting for them. If a woman needs to do something on her own and stand up for herself in our male-dominated culture, she must be psychologically strong, patient, and should have conviction for what she is doing. Whatever happens, learning, overcoming and keep going is the spirit that is required. Sometimes we forget to make our family our team, so communication with your family is very important and you should make sure your family understands your work and passion.

Neetu Jain, Founder & Managing Director

Neetu Jain, the founder of Panache Genentech solutions is a leader in the field of High SRI cool surfaces (cool roofing & cool wall coatings) and water proofing technology, as well as a strong proponent of sustainable and innovative UHI mitigating building technologies.