Please tell us about yourself

Binita Shah began her scientific career at the University of Mumbai in India where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology before completing a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science at the Institute of Environment Education and Research at Bharati Vidyapeeth University in Pune, India.

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What was your career path?

Aside from her academic training, Ms Shah has gained extensive work experience as well, beginning with her position as scientific officer for Kadam Environmental Consultants in Vadodara, India. She later joined Enviro Analysts & Engineers Pvt. Ltd. in Mumbai as an environmental engineer and is currently consulting with Freespanz Design Build Pvt. Ltd. in Mumbai.

Tell us about your work

Ms Shah’s research focus is on urban centres in her native India drawn from her experience in preparing 100 odd Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and Environmental Management Plan (EMP) in multiple contexts. Thus, she has sought to use her first-hand knowledge about state and conditions of public infrastructure – waste and drainage systems in particular – to find sustainable, environmentally sound solutions for India’s cities. For this purpose, she has also studied geography, environmental science and geographic information systems (GIS), a powerful tool for natural resource management. By combining these skills, she is exploring environmental management approaches that reconcile economics and the environment during urban planning – all in an effort to achieve sustainable urban development.

What is the focus of your current research?

Her latest research focuses on Life Cycle Assessment of electricity from coal-fired thermal power plants in India. She has overseen various environmental aspects of real estate, commercial services and construction industries and gained expertise in Environmental Impact Assessments and green building certification. She is currently employed as an ESG Research Associate at MSCI Inc., India.

How did you end up in Germany?

In 2010 Binita was awarded a Green Talent. The jury honored her expertise in environmental-impact assessment and her methods for aggregating data employing GIS as a fundamental tool for reconciling the different ecological, social and economic demands. After the award, she began her research stay in Germany at the United Nations University in Bonn, working on Measuring Risk and Vulnerability associated to Natural Hazards, under the guidance of Dr. Joern Birkmann.

The jury cited Binita Shah’s expertise in environmental-impact assessment among the reasons for selecting her to participate in the Green Talents Forum. What especially intrigued the panel were her methods for aggregating data employing GIS as a fundamental tool for reconciling the different ecological, social and economic demands. This allows her to take a scientifically comprehensive, investigative approach toward developing tools for efficient environmental management. To this end, her approach to develop a Holistic Sustainable Development Model that expertly integrates different environmental factors ranging from the micro to the macro-level.

“Germany is one of the leading countries when it comes to sustainable energy systems and is also one of the most environmentally responsible among the G7 Countries” says Ms Shah. “I hope the Green Talents experience will introduce me to scientists and other experts interested in sustainability approaches and perspectives and also help evolving a collaborative research initiative in this challenging multi-disciplinary, multi-dimensional and multi-cultural space. I hope it will also help us to build up a sustainable connection between South Asia and Western Europe. Programs like Green Talents play a key and laudable role in bridging the North-South divide and facilitate in better understanding of each other’s perspectives, challenges and expertise.