In 2008 he set up Gaia Foundation that works on assessing carbon footprint and carbon offset long before these became buzzwords.
A real-estate businessman and the owner of Metro Cinema in south Mumbai, Vikram Gupta was environmentally conscious even as a youngster, he said. "Everyone wants to work in rural areas, which is important. But in a city like Mumbai with a vanishing green cover, it is important to have sustainable changes in the landscape and mindsets of people,” he said.
Gupta started Gaia Conservation Foundation in 2008 after doing some careful research of all the reports he could find on climate change affecting urban India. "If we don't have a planet, nothing else will matter. We need to understand that there is an emergency, a siren blinking around all of us and we are oblivious to it," he said.
Working on sustainable and planned plantation drives towards larger afforestation projects, Gaia Conservation Foundation aims to combat climate change. "We started working on carbon emission and carbon footprint when they were not buzzwords. We want everyone to be conscious of their own carbon footprint and offset it as much as they can by increasing the green cover around them," Gupta said.
Gaia Conservation Foundation has in the past partnered with Bombay Natural History Society, the municipal corporations in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region and some corporate entities
Unlike many other plantation drives, Gaia Conservation Foundation focuses on the health and longevity of saplings. "We plant mostly native species and even then the saplings are carefully selected, based on their age and size, to ensure that they can survive once planted," Gupta said.
Beyond the afforestation projects, the not-profit also focuses on outreach and spreading awareness. "We have projects with schools where we get experts to interact with students. Through partnering with global influencers, we screen documentaries and movies that talk about the deepening climate crisis," Gupta said.
Gaia Conservation Foundation was pivotal in organising the screening Leonardo DiCaprio’s documentary on climate change. "I don't think we all have grasped the depth of the crisis we are in. We all need to realise that this is the only planet we have and it's buzzing in crisis alert mode," Gupta said.
Actor Nimrat Kaur who has in the past participated in plantation drives by the foundation said she was captivated by the diligence of the team. “My sister and I got in touch with them to organise a plantation drive. The team is environmentally conscious and helpful.