Why We Started Project Nelda

If you don’t yet know what project Nelda is, let me give you a quick intro:

At Deshpee Group, we understand that business is not just about making money. Our community and environment have done a lot for us and it’s now our turn to return the favour. We’ve launched project Nelda in 2016 with a plan to plant and grow a billion trees by 2041.

Yes, a billion trees by the year 2041.


Why project Nelda?

We are running Deshp Group since 2014 and if I have to tell one thing that all of us here have always kept in mind, then that would be ‘our feeling of indebtedness’. We always knew that it is our responsibility to return the love to the community and environment for what they are doing for us.

Being in India, yes, we have a lot to improve but I think the most crucial threat we face is of uncontrolled urbanisation. We are a billion people now and it won’t take time for us to be 1.5 billion. As the population grows, we’ll do what we have always done: exploit the Earth for resources. And if there’s no check and effort to restore the resources we exploit, the things we see in the sci-fi movies may one day really become a reality.

And apart from the scary reasons, choosing the plantation programme is a good move considering the pleasure we get by being in the nature. So, that’s how we made the decision. But after choosing to plant trees, we could have just donated the amount to an organisation which works for planting. We didn’t want that. We actually wanted to be on the ground, getting our hands dirty. We wanted to be a part of making the change and inspiring others to join us. If we use our intelligence and organisation skills in business every day, why not use them for a good cause too? And that’s what we are doing.

We have the time, the resources, and most importantly, the willingness to do this. We think this is the right thing to do.


How it was started

The idea of project Nelda was coined in February 2016 when I was discussing with my father what we should do as the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activity for this year. And as I’ve said above, we finally decided to create a non-profit organisation i.e. project Nelda.

We started visiting plantation campaigns already going on in Pune to learn how things work and how we can improve them. The first event we attended was at Hanuman Tekdi, Pune on 25th May, 2016. And now we have entered the marathon to achieve the goal of planting a billion trees by 2041.

Visit the project Nelda timeline: Nelda.org.in/timeline


How we plan to achieve this

Obviously, we can’t plant a billion trees alone. It’ll need contribution from a large number of people to achieve this goal. We want to inspire people to get them involved, give them the leadership and resources they need and ultimately help them inspire more people. We plan to:

  1. Hold weekly and biweekly plantation events all over the Maharashtra to provide a direct opportunity for people to get involved
  2. Provide financial and technical assistance to other organisations who are working towards the same goal
  3. Increase awareness for planting trees by running educational campaigns in various rural and urban areas
  4. Reward individuals and organisations who are working hard towards the same goal
  5. Collaborate with the government to work together and get as many people involved as we can into the government programmes of tree plantation
  6. Start a not-for-profit supplier chain of green products and raw materials needed to help plant more trees

This is just an initial idea of what we plan to do. As we do for all our businesses, we’ll continue to brainstorm our options for the project Nelda too and learn to make our efforts sharper. One satisfying thing is that many people are now understanding the importance of trees and are ready to help. What they need is a strong push by an organisation and the government.

To show our serious commitment, we have decided to pledge 25% of our group’s yearly profits to project Nelda.

Project Nelda 25% Commitment

We’ll soon open the registrations for the membership of project Nelda. Asking you to only contribute your time and nothing else.

That was all I wanted to say today, but you’ll hear from me again soon. You can keep track of everything about project Nelda on Nelda.org.in


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