Systems Change: Sustainable Innovations Powering the Great Transformation

Kristin Kagetsu, Co-founder Saathi
Kristin Kagetsu, Co-founder Saathi
The New York Times

Watch the panel discussion on the New York Times' Climate Hub website

D-Lab alumna Kristin Kagetsu speaks at The New York Times Climate Hub


It’s no secret that a transformation of models and mind-sets is needed to address the worst effects of our changing climate. Systems change — whether through the development of a large-scale grid for charging electric vehicles, or through service rather than ownership-oriented business models — is critical. From retrofitting to brand-new products and services, businesses that are ready to transform their business models are also creating more sustainable and inclusive value chains. How are grassroots innovators and organizations with proven inventions helping to accelerate systems-level change in our communities? How are existing innovations supporting progressive policy measures, and how can policymakers incentivize businesses to adopt sustainable solutions and models, while aligning with public policy goals?

Kristin Kagetsu is a co-founder of Saathi, a social enterprise dedicated to providing a sustainable solution for menstrual hygiene. As an undergrad, she worked on multiple projects with the M.I.T. Design Lab (D-Lab) in Brazil, Nicaragua and India. Her first product launch was a set of natural dye crayons from locally sourced natural materials that she developed with an N.G.O. in Uttarakhand, India. She has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from M.I.T. and is an M.I.T. D-Lab Scale-Ups fellow, an Asia Society Young Leader and TEDx speaker. She has been named among the Forbes list of 30 Under 30, is a Cartier Women’s Initiative finalist and was recognized by the Indian Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. Since its founding, Saathi has been recognized globally by Time magazine, the U.N. Environment Program, the University of St Andrews and Vogue, among many others, for its social impact, innovation and sustainability.

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