Covid-19

Busy supporting portfolio companies

Sathish Dhanapal is our Senior Energy Specialist for the APAC region. Covid-19 finds him working from his Chennai home, actively reaching out to financial institutions across South and South East Asia to ensure good communication and support them with the technical aspect of their climate loans.

Covid-19 series: Sathish

How has your work situation changed due to the general lockdown in India?

With my family based in Chennai, my office in Mumbai and my clients spread across South and South East Asia, working remotely has been part of my work situation for the past 1.5 years. What is different this time is that I have been working from home for the past 25 days, the longest period ever without going out to visit partner companies. I find that this is alright for our existing clients: As we work pretty closely together, we know each other well and can keep up communication also remotely. When it comes to building the relationship with new clients, that’s more difficult.

Are you using this down time for any particular project?

Absolutely. At times like this, it is key to keep up the momentum and work on global projects that tend to get pushed back when urgent operational issues demand attention. New market assessments and mappings are one area I work on, but I am also looking at new business models for climate finance and their potential. And I keep in touch with our partners to ensure them that we are there to support them.

“If you feel low while working remotely, pick up the phone and talk to your colleagues.”

Sathish Dhanapal

You support banks with the technical side of their climate finance. How is Covid-19 impacting this business?

For those partner banks who have fully embraced climate finance and made it part of their core business, it remains a priority. Where financial institutions are just about to start on their green lending journey, I expect delays. Everybody is focusing on recovery; new projects will have to wait. There’s one exception: Fintech solutions are particularly interesting at this point.

What are your recommendations to successfully handle this situation?

Home office isn’t for everyone. To work efficiently, you need to isolate yourself from your family and be highly disciplined and self-motivated. In this situation, communication is key: If you feel low while working remotely, pick up the phone and talk to your colleagues. Much of the message gets lost when there is only text. You want to hear people’s tone of voice, see their facial expression to understand how they feel about your suggestions. Communicating by e-mail simply isn’t enough in this situation.