World Environment Day: 15 Indian Businesses That Deserve Your Custom For Promoting Sustainability

05/06/2015 12:03 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
In this Nov. 7, 2014 photo, a man holds Peruvian quinoa, part of 23 metric tons to be burned in Guaqui, Bolivia. International demand for quinoa continues to boom, and that’s fueling an increasingly bitter commercial feud between Bolivia and Peru, the two main producers of the Andean “superfood.” As Peru boosts production of cheaper factory-farmed quinoa, the grain is increasingly being smuggled into landlocked Bolivia to be mixed with, and sometimes sold as, organic quinoa _ Bolivia’s specialty, growers and government officials say. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

In the words of a famous muppet, it ain’t easy being green. Walk into a local department store and one’s likely to be surrounded by products that prioritise disposability and convenience over the environment.

An informed and conscientious customer must read the fine print in every product label to analyse the lifecycle of a product, how it affects the user and the environment. To make your buying decisions easier, we reached out to sustainability enthusiasts who gave us their personal recommendations of entities--businesses and non-profits--that are environment conscious. These are brands that make eco-friendliness a core part of their product offering. From organic clothing to composting kits, this roundup looks at entities that can help you make better choices.

  • Daily Dump
    Daily Dump’s composting kit lets you recycle organic kitchen waste at home, which can then be used as manure in a home garden. Dailydump sells composting kits online, and is available in 20 Indian cities. A starter kit for a family of four, which includes a large Khamba, a rake, microbes, neem, and 10 kgs of remix costs Rs. 2810.
  • Krya Natural Dishwashing Powder
    Founded by two IIM graduates in 2009, Krya manufactures natural detergent powder, cleansers, hair and skin care products. Their dishwash powder for example, uses four certified organic ingredients -- soapberry, neem, zeodary and lemongrass essential oil. Their products are marketed largely by word of mouth and are a favourite among the environment conscious.
  • Tula India
    This non-profit based out of Tamil Nadu makes garments out of rain-fed, organic cotton that’s handspun, embroidered, handwoven and manually tailored. They also use organic dyes.
  • Gulmeher
  • Timbaktu Collective
    Timbaktu is a not-for-profit organisation that works with over 20,000 marginalised families in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh. The NGO has a 25-year history of supporting farmers with alternative banking and education, and sells organic produce to Dharani co-op.
  • I Say Organic
    A social enterprise that enables organic farmers to reach customers in Delhi. The website lets you order fresh farm produce online. They do free delivery for orders worth more than Rs300. I Say Organic pays the farmer groups 45-60% of the retail price.
  • Good Juicery
    This Pune-based manufacturer of sparkling fruit drinks plants a tree for every thousand drinks sold, and work with local groups to recycle their cans. Their drinks contain no preservatives, artificial colours or flavours. Their drinks are available in 8 cities in India.
  • Haathi Chaap
    Haathhi Chaap
    This brand makes paper out of elephant dung, which is then used in a line of stationary items, bags, frames, notebooks and cards. The paper is given colours with vegetables and natural dyes. The manufacturers have even tried feeding the elephant turmeric and beetroot to try and obtain naturally coloured paper.
  • Ecofemme
    These washable sanitary pads made of cloth are more eco-friendly than disposable ones, and they're made by Ecofemme in Auroville, Tamil Nadu by women's self help groups who earn a living by stitching them.
  • Navadarshanam
    This not-for-profit trust grows its produce at Thally reserve forest, 50 km south of Bengaluru. The Navadarshanam co-op sells over 40 types of organic produce, from unpolished rice to health foods and spices. Village self-help groups who helped with the farming share proceeds from sales that happen through five retail stores in Bengaluru.
  • reStore
    reStore sells food items such as grains, pulses, oils, sweeteners, dry fruits as well as vegetables and fruits that are produced using sustainable practices and organic farming. The store, based in Chennai, sources from farmers or their collectives that are based near the city. The flour at the store is freshly ground in small quantities to retain its natural quality and flavour. Customers can get to know exactly which place their grocery items are coming from. This is a not-for-profit venture and partners with small farmers, rural artisans and self-help groups.
    Grow-Trees offers to plant a tree for you for just Rs 85. The company pays local village communities to plant and take care of trees. You can gift a tree to celebrate an occasion or just to go green. Only indigenous varieties are planted to make sure that biodiversity is retained. Local communities are also offered fruits that grow on the planted trees. Independent auditors check the number of trees planted, and whether the local community is benefiting from it.
  • Urban Kala
    From painted and wired jewellery to home decor, Urban Kala offers a wide range of products made out of eco-friendly materials such as waste wood, coconut shells and old jute items. The company has its own e-store, which has several options for gifting environment friendly products. They also make customised items.
  • Goodearth
    Bangalore has become increasingly tree-less and its roads are choked with traffic. Started in 2003, Goodearth is building environment-friendly homes that feature slate and wood left in their natural state. There are no toxic wastes from their construction. Sewage treatment is done within the communities they build, in tanks that do not use harmful chemicals. Heating of household water is done through solar power, that saves energy.
  • Indus Naturals
    This company specializes in textiles that are produced and treated naturally in Erode, Tamil Nadu. They produce 'Botonic' fabrics that are developed with organically grown cotton and processed without chemicals. Dyes are sourced from vegetables such as plant shrubs, flowers, fruits and dry barks that fall off trees.

We would love to hear about more such businesses. Please add to the list in the comments section or write to us.

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