Indian American environmentalist Bapna joins Natural Resources Defense Council


Indian American economist and environmentalist Manish Bhapna has been named as the President and CEO of Natural Resources Defense Council.

The US-based Natural Resources Defense Council is a non-profit headquartered in New York working and is engaged in the field of environmental advocacy.

Bapna is officially set to take on his role from August 23, and will be supported by current Interim President, CEO and Chief Counsel, Mitch Bernard for a “smooth transition”.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to overcome the climate crisis and build a healthier, more equitable and more vibrant world. NRDC is uniquely suited for this challenge, and I am deeply honored to be taking the helm at this time,” said Bapna — who currently serves as interim president and CEO of the World Resources Institute — in a June 23 press statement.

Manish’s passion, vision and leadership, along with his experience in both the US and international policy arenas, will be critical to strengthening NRDC’s impact in this next phase of climate activism. He will accelerate our work to protect people’s health, advance climate justice, revive our economy and put people to work, all while safeguarding critical wildlife and wild place.

Mitch Bernard, Interim President and CEO and Chief Counsel of NRDC

During his 25-year career, Bapna’s leadership roles have focused on designing sustainable development strategies that are equitable, durable and scalable. His proven track record in developing policies and programs to address the twin challenges of climate change and inequity will help NRDC achieve ambitious climate action, the NRDC press release read.

Bapna, who recently completed his 14-year stint as executive vice president and managing director of the World Resources Institute, a Washington-based think tank, took to Twitter to announce his last day at WRI. “This is a moment like no other that we must seize together, to inspire, demonstrate and demand that the global economy moves in a fairer, more sustainable and more productive direction. Thank you,” he wrote.

Manish Bapna has studied at prestigious institutes like MIT, Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School. He started his career as an associate at Oliver Wyman and then went on to McKinsey and Company. He served as senior economist at the World Bank for seven years before joining as executive director to the Bank Information Centre.

“Bapna brings a deep and compassionate understanding of the challenges we must confront, the management skills we can count on to prevail, and the vision we need to bring about transformational change,” said Kathleen A Welch, Chair of NRDC’s Board of Trustees in the press release.

“He has a proven track record of bringing teams and stakeholders together to scale action, making him uniquely prepared to lead NRDC in this window of opportunity to create a more inclusive, clean and resilient economy. NRDC’s Board of Trustees and staff are delighted to welcome Manish Bapna as President and CEO of NRDC.”

Bapna is also one of three experts who was onboarded in advisory board AAPI Victory Alliance as a think tank.