Founder & CEO
Global Institute For Tomorrow
Chandran Nair has a very diverse professional career that spans over 30 years of work across the world, from Europe to Africa and throughout Asia including China and India. During this time he has developed a unique set of skills and experiences that covers business, development issues, environmental and sustainability challenges, teaching (MBA), leadership development and becoming an author.
Mr Nair is the Founder and CEO of the Global Institute For Tomorrow (GIFT), an independent pan-Asian think tank. He was Chairman of Environmental Resources Management (ERM) in Asia Pacific for over a decade until 2004, establishing the company as Asia’s leading environmental consultancy.
He is a member of WEF’s Global Agenda Council on Governance for Sustainability and Experts Forum. He sits on the Executive Committee of the Club of Rome, the world’s premier scientific think tank and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is also an Advisor to the Royal Government of Cambodia on development issues. As GIFT’s Founder and CEO, Mr Nair has focused on advancing a deeper understanding of global issues, including the shift of economic and political influence from the West to Asia, the dynamic relationship between business and society, and the reshaping of the rules of global capitalism. In response to the pandemic Mr Nair has written and spoken extensively on the need for a complete overhaul of how societies are governed and managed in the 21st century.
Mr Nair has a wealth of experience in development issues, from grassroots to the boardroom. He has lived and worked in Africa as a volunteer in the field of water supply, sanitation and public health. In his consulting work he was involved in setting up the first environmental consulting firm in China in the mid-nineties and opened offices in all the major Asian capitals from Tokyo to Singapore.
In addition to his work with GIFT, Mr Nair continues to provide strategic management advice to business leaders and policy makers. In this regard he has been invited to speak to and advise global management teams at companies including HSBC, BASF, Bosch and PwC among others, as well as policy forums hosted by the ADB, OECD and ESCAP. Mr Nair is also a regular presenter at the World Economic Forum (WEF), APEC Summits, OECD events and various UN conferences.
Mr Nair has served as Adjunct Professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore. He is often invited by some of the leading global business schools as a guest lecturer, including INSEAD, Duke CE and London Business School. He is currently a guest faculty member at the University of Cambridge for their Master’s in Sustainability Leadership course.
Mr Nair is the author of Consumptionomics: Asia's Role in Reshaping Capitalism and Saving the Planet, which was ranked as one of the top-fifty breakout capitalism books by The Guardian and has been translated into Chinese, German and Bahasa. His second book, The Sustainable State: The Future of Government, Economy and Society was published in early 2019. His latest book Dismantling Global White Privilege: Equity for a Post-Western World was published in early 2022 and listed by the Financial Times as one of the best Summer 2022 books for politics. He is also the creator of The Other Hundred, a non-profit book project which serves as a counterpoint to the Forbes 100 and other media rich lists.
Taken together, his various expertise leads to frequent publishing of his articles, on topics ranging from economic policy to education. His work has appeared in leading publications such as the Financial Times, TIME, The Guardian, Huffington Post, The New York Times, China Daily and The Edge. He has also been interviewed on many leading global media networks including BBC (including being interviewed on Hard Talk), CNN, Al Jazeera, NHK, Bloomberg, CNBC, CCTV, Channel News Asia and Deutsche Welle.
A keen sportsman, Mr Nair managed the Hong Kong hockey team for seven years, taking it to the 2002 Asian Games in South Korea. He plays the saxophone and used to head a band in Africa.