Ankit Agarwal is the Founder & CEO of Phool.co, a social enterprise that has pioneered the ‘flowercycling®’ technologies to reduce the pollution in the river Ganges by up-cycling the vast quantities of flower temple-waste in India. At Phool.co, over 11.4 tons of temple-waste is collected daily in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, followed by converting them into charcoal-free incense and an animal-free alternative to leather called Fleather (PETA’s Best Innovation in the Vegan World 2020). In the process, Phool.co employs women who were previously manual scavengers, to sort the flower waste and hand roll the popular incense sticks. This transformational disease-free employment enables these women to shun lives in which they jump neck deep into clogged sewers and scrape human faces from dry toilets.
Awarded the Fast Company world-changing ideas and recognized by Forbes, Fortune, Business Insider and Stanford Social Review, Phool.co is driving systems change in a community that has been exploited for centuries by creating opportunities and revolutionising the way India handles the ‘Million-ton temple waste disposal’. Ankit was named a Queens Young leader in 2017 and is both an Echoing Green and Acumen Fellow. Ankit is among the 21 young leaders selected for extraordinary skills by the Asia Society and recently received the prestigious United Nations Young Leader for Sustainable Development Goals award, the Takeda Young Global Entrepreneur Award, the Unilever Young Entrepreneur Awards and The GSG Millennial Honor. Ankit is also an Earthshot Prize finalist for 2022.