Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) led by Sunita Narain has been taking on governments and industries for decades now. It uses knowledge and research activism to promote sustainable solutions and right policies. "We are a dog with the bone, we don't give up. We speak up and nudge and prod until the right strategy is implemented," she says. In the 1980s, the not-for-profit used to campaign for sustainable development when environment wasn't even a buzz word. Today, as environmental issues have become wider, so has CSE's scope. It is now working on a wider range of subjects than before - from air pollution to food safety and water and wastewater management to green buildings.
Recently, CSE has been at the forefront of fighting for clean air in Delhi. "Air pollution is my obsession," says Narain. CSE fought for four years to get auto companies to adopt higher emission standards. It is now campaigning for new standards for natural gas and coal. One of CSEs interesting initiatives is the Green Rating project where it assesses industrial units on the basis of their environmental impact. Narain says companies are suspicious of working with NGOs. "But I have found that in the end there is mutual respect for each other," she says.