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Chandran Nair has a very diverse professional career that spans over 30 years of work across the world, from Europe to Africa and throughout Asia including China and India. During this time he has developed a unique set of skills and experiences that covers business, development issues, environmental and sustainability challenges, teaching (MBA), leadership development and becoming an author.
Chandran Nair is the Founder and CEO of the Global Institute For Tomorrow (GIFT), an independent pan-Asian think tank. He was Chairman of Environmental Resources Management (ERM) in Asia Pacific for over a decade until 2004, establishing the company as Asia’s leading environmental consultancy. At ERM he was involved in many large-scale infrastructure projects and oversaw numerous contract awards for build-operate-transfer schemes and large municipal and private sector projects ranging from the power and transport sector to wastewater treatment.
He is a member of WEF’s Global Agenda Council on Governance for Sustainability and Experts Forum. He sits on the Executive Committee of the Club of Rome, the world’s premier scientific think tank, and is a Senior Fellow of CIMB ASEAN Research Institute (CARI), as well as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is an Advisor to the Royal Government of Cambodia on developmental issues and ORIX Corporation of Japan, Asia’s largest non-banking financial institution. He is a former member of the Stakeholder Advisory Council for BASF, the world’s largest chemical company.
For more than two decades Chandran Nair has strongly advocated a more sustainable approach to development in Asia, advising multinational corporations and governments to instil these principles into their policies and key decision-making processes.
As GIFT’s Founder and CEO, Nair has focused on advancing a deeper understanding of global issues, including the shift of economic and political influence from the West to Asia, the dynamic relationship between business and society, and the reshaping of the rules of global capitalism. With offices in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur, GIFT has pioneered an internationally recognised approach to executive education that is widely acclaimed as best-in-class. This has been presented in a report to the United Nations on Innovations in Leadership Development and featured in the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal.
In the past year Nair has been closely involved in a leadership development and transformation project at Malaysia’s Central Bank.
Chandran Nair has a wealth of experience in development issues, from grassroots to the boardroom. He has lived and worked in Africa as a volunteer in the field of water supply, sanitation and public health. In his consulting work he was involved in setting up the first environmental consulting firm in China in the midnineties and opened offices in all the major Asian capitals from Tokyo to Singapore.
With GIFT, he has led over 60 programmes to create actionable business models in 15 countries across Asia, consulting on a wide range of industries to accelerate development, from agriculture to affordable housing and public health.
In addition to his work with GIFT, Nair continues to provide strategic management advice to business leaders and policy makers. In this regard he has been invited to speak to and advise global management teams at companies including HSBC, BASF, Bosch and PwC among others, as well as policy forums hosted by the ADB, OECD and ESCAP. Nair is also a regular presenter at the World Economic Forum (WEF), APEC Summits, OECD events and various UN conferences.
Chandran Nair is the author of Consumptionomics: Asia's Role in Reshaping Capitalism and Saving the Planet, which was ranked as one of the top-fifty breakout capitalism books by The Guardian and has been translated into Chinese, German and Bahasa. His second book, The Sustainable State: The Future of Government, Economy and Society was recently published in October 2018. He is also the creator of The Other Hundred, a non-profit book project which serves as a counterpoint to the Forbes 100 and other media rich lists.
Taken together, his various expertise leads to frequent publishing of his articles, on topics ranging from economic policy to education. His work has appeared in leading publications such as the Financial Times, TIME, The Guardian, Huffington Post, The New York Times, China Daily and The Edge. He has also been interviewed on many leading global media networks including BBC (including being interviewed on Hard Talk), CNN, Al Jazeera, NHK, Bloomberg, CNBC, CCTV, Channel News Asia and Deutsche Welle.