Malavika Rajkumar speaks on her passion for sustainability

Headshot of Malavika with the text

At tms, sustainability is at our core: from our enterprise pledge to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and donate 13,000 volunteer hours in 2024, to the sustainable solutions and partnerships we create for our clients. With that in mind, what better time than Earth Month to highlight someone who is often at the center of advancing this critical work — Malavika Rajkumar, tms’ Senior Manager of Global Sustainability. 

Mal was born in Chennai, India, but grew up in Illinois, attending the University of Illinois before completing her MBA at Northwestern University. She joined tms’ parent company, HAVI, in August 2020 before moving to tms in 2022 as a leader dedicated to sustainable efforts. 


Balancing the need to stay up to date with sustainability developments while also executing critical strategies can be a real juggling act. I find the challenge motivating. It’s rewarding to know that the work we’re doing makes a difference, even in the face of these hurdles.

Malavika Rajkumar
Senior Manager, Global Sustainability at tms

Learn more about our sustainability guru’s past experiences and future hopes: 


What would you describe as your proudest career moment? 

My proudest career moment at HAVI is undoubtedly the launch of HAVI’s Better Future Blueprint, our enterprise-wide approach to environmental and social responsibility. Joining the company at the strategic inception allowed me to play a pivotal role in its development and execution. I led a group of executive and senior leaders in identifying and prioritizing the most important environmental, social, and governance issues relevant to our operations and stakeholders. This was critical in crafting our overarching sustainability strategy, and ultimately bringing the Better Future Blueprint to life by executing our enterprise commitments and first-ever impact report. To me, that journey has been really meaningful and I’m fortunate to continue that journey within tms 


What drives you to work for a more sustainable future?  

I was born in India and much of my family still resides there. Having the opportunity to travel has opened my eyes to the stark realities faced by countries vulnerable to climate change. The impacts are far-reaching, affecting everything from weather patterns and ecosystems to human health and safety. While I’m privileged to live comfortably in Chicago, with access to resources like air conditioning and food security, I’m acutely aware that this isn’t the reality for everyone. That realization fuels my drive to contribute to a more sustainable future. While I may not have all the answers, I’m inspired to learn and do my part to make a difference. 


How does tms differ from other companies when it comes to sustainability?  

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of work needed to combat the effects of climate change?   

To some extent, sure—there is so much more to be done and can be done. But I believe that real change requires systemic transformation, with accountability extending to multiple players, including individuals, companies, governments, and other institutions.  

From a business perspective specifically, as more companies realize the untapped opportunities stemming from climate change rather than just the risks, we might see more significant progress. And, where that doesn’t happen, other enablers like legislation and regulations will ensure that companies prioritize sustainability and explore the opportunities it presents. While the challenges remain significant, I’m encouraged by the momentum.


What’s most encouraging to you when it comes to that momentum?  

Honestly, the incredible innovation that is going on right now. For example, there is a company in Chicago that has developed a technology that essentially takes pollution and uses bacteria to convert that pollution to fuels and chemicals. This idea that you can recycle the greenhouse gas emissions into sustainable raw material is fascinating and could aid businesses like us. tms has a potential opportunity, as others evolve their own business models, to leverage that innovation by mutually working towards a shared vision of sustainability. 


Learn more about our sustainability efforts by reading our Better Future Blueprint.