Edward Ponniah: A Vanguard Of Environmental Revolution

Edward Ponniah: A Vanguard Of Environmental Revolution

Edward Ponniah , Managing Director

Edward Ponniah

Managing Director

Over the years, it has been proven that a leader is made in more ways than one. But irrespective of the circumstances that created them, leaders are always defined by their perseverance, distinctive vision, well-defined goals, and innate passion to usher in transformation. With a fine blend of these characteristics, an individual can catapult his/ her company to the pinnacle of success. Standing as a perfect testimony to such a growth trajectory is Edward Ponniah and his proud venture, Edsha Solution Sdn Bhd. Connecting passion with purpose to make a difference, Edward has been instrumental in preserving the environment to enhance the quality of life of future generations through his companies.

Born as one such endeavour in 2013, Edsha Solutions has emerged as the multi-award-winning environmental solution provider in Malaysia, renowned for sustainable initiatives in transportation and recycling of scheduled waste. Licensed by the Department of Environment Malaysia (JAS), Edsha Solutions has achieved ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 45001:2018 certifications and has been honored with the coveted Prime Minister's Hibiscus award and DOE Perak Lestari award as a corporate social responsibility (CSR) company in 2022.

Below is an excerpt from Edward’s exclusive interaction with CEO Insights Asia magazine, where he spoke about his leadership style, personal and professional life, and ventures.

Could you give a brief account of your professional background and experiences? What motivated you to become a leader?

I was born into a poor yet large family in 1963 as one of eight siblings. While the hardship made my father move to Malaysia, our lives became tougher after we lost both of our parents. Amongst my siblings, my brothers were the only earning take care of. It was these early struggles and pain that pushed me to be independent and be what I am today. Additionally, the Holy Bible also had a significant impact on my life by making me aware of my needs and encouraging me to go a mile further.

I started my career in 1987 as a technician, and gradually worked my way up as a system, safety, and environmental executive, handling different departments, including production, maintenance, and customer service. I was also a part of Green Partners and multiple customer audits for ISO 9000, ISO 14000, ISO 45000, and others. Furthermore, I founded Edsha Enviro Enterprise - a consulting company - in 2009 and Edsha Solutions in 2013. The name Edsha is formed by combining the first two letters of my sons’ and my names and the last three letters from the names of my daughter and my wife.

Edsha Solutions endeavors to collect Domestic E-waste of the public by paying for it, while also educating them about the possible environmental hazards

Could you tell me about the sustainable practices that Edsha Solutions has adopted in its operations?

On one hand, the government cannot always control the public, schools, and agencies with its stringent ESG regulations and compliance and on the other, many companies do not invest their limited workforce in initiatives like cleaning the rivers and, hence, often charge a fee. But, moving steps above 800+ licensed industry players, Edsha Solutions endeavors to collect the waste of the public by paying for it, while also educating them about the possible environmental hazards. Shifting our focus from cradle-to-grave to cradle-to-cradle methodology, we process and convert the waste into a reusable product, carbon black, or burning fuel. We are also working with the government and the local councils to enable a circular economy. We have dedicated a well-trained team, who conduct exhibitions to educate students, teachers, parents, and governmental departments on proper disposal and management of waste, rainwater harvesting, and water treatments. There are events where I have personally donned the cap of a spokesman. Owing to such actions, we have been the recipients of eminent recognitions and have been ranked among the top 10 waste management companies by a publication.

What are the methodologies you follow as a leader? What advice would you give to budding industry leaders?

I have always been a strong, determined, and tenacious person, driven by a positive and winning attitude. Following famous books on leadership, I choose to listen to my employees first. I display 65 percentdemocratic and 35 percent authoritarian leadership styles. Working through the model of management by objective (MBO), I strive to devise long-term strategies and a vision for my company to thrive in the next ten years, both in geographical and product-wise diversification.

However, the targets are met based on short-term objectives incorporated into the department's KPI. This not only serves as a motivating factor, but would help my son to follow the plan to take my company forward. For instance, currently, we seek to diversify into carbon black manufacturing and set up labs in every region of our factories. We intend to move to Vietnam in 2025, followed by Cambodia, New Zealand, Indonesia, and France (Europe), given the economic prospects and boost in the regions.

In today’s era, where ESG and CSR take prominence, it would be advisable for budding leaders to understand the current economic and environmental conditions and think outside the box. One should focus more on schools and the public by sponsoring good causes. They should analyze and prepare for potential risks and opportunities, which will empower them to be ahead of their competitors.

Edward Ponniah, Managing Director, Edsha Solutions

For over three decades, Edward Ponniah has worked across different departments and reaped diversity, before founding Edsha Enviro Enterprise and Edsha Solutions. He is currently working towards incorporating more companies, focused on the e-waste recovery of gold, silver, palladium, copper, and carbon black. He has traveled to various countries in his life, among which Paris stands out as his favorite destination. As an avid hockey and football enthusiast, he also loves to visit Liverpool City in England.

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