Khunapong Khunaraksa is an energetic advocate for sustainability and social impact in Asia, and has dedicated his career to solving the region’s toughest sustainability issues in water sanitation and plastic pollution. He has pioneered sustainable market-based models to address the intersection of environmental, social, and financial barriers to build inclusive and circular economies. Programs that he built and contributed to have now improved the lives of millions in Asia, delivering critical access to clean water and sanitation and empowering citizens to lift themselves out of poverty and turning it into opportunity.
After completing his Masters degree in Engineering Science, Water, Wastewater and Waste Engineering at the University of NSW, Mr Khunaraksa spent almost a decade working across Indonesia, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and USA, before returning to Australia in 2020. He has worked as an Advisor to the Australian Government to address water and sanitation crises in the Indo-Pacific and as a Board Member of Gravity Water, a U.S. rainwater harvesting technology nonprofit. He built a new multi-million dollar program in Asia for Water.org, a global award-winning water nonprofit and was recognised as Water.org’s 2017 Innovator Award Recipient for this work. He also spearheaded business expansion into Myanmar for TEAM GROUP, Thailand’s largest consulting engineering company.
Now based in Sydney, Mr Khunaraksa is currently the Director of Operations and Strategy at The Circulate Initiative (TCI), a U.S. nonprofit organisation working to end ocean plastic in South and Southeast Asia. TCI has contributed to the diversion of over 40,000 tonnes of plastic waste entering the ocean and improved the livelihoods of over 17,000 informal waste workers. As TCI’s first full-time employee and part of TCI’s senior leadership team, he is working to sustainably grow the organisation and increase its impact across the Asian Region. He also chairs the Advisory Board for Masy Consultants, an Australian social enterprise working to transform community Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) behaviours across the Philippines and wider ASEAN Region, and has helped steer a new vision for WASH to impact as many lives to come, one community at a time.
He is recognised as a Regional Leader in the Indo-Pacific, where he was the first Community & Advocacy Winner of the 40 Under 40: Most Influential Asian-Australian Awards. He has advised over 30 mission-driven organisations to build and scale new initiatives across five geographies, and is passionate about the power of business to generate deep social impact alongside financial returns.