Gopinath has a master degree in Social Work with labour welfare as specialization. He was a student leader while at university and fought for civil rights in India in the mid-1970s. Later he worked for various NGOs concerned with Dalit rights, women’s rights and for the empowerment of Indigenous peoples. He is currently general secretary of Cividep, which he was instrumental in forming in 2000. Cividep aims to understand the impact of trade and global supply chains on underprivileged communities and ensure that businesses are responsible for their human rights impacts. Along with other colleagues, he established Ashoka Center for Sustainable Communities to work with Indigenous peoples and other marginalized populations. He served as SD India Chair and currently he serves on the board of Fair Labor Association (FLA), US, and also as Trustee of Electronics Watch, based in the Netherlands.