Businesses across the spectrum, both in India, and around the world are adopting sustainable ways of operating, while also producing goods and services that are environmentally-friendly. India’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are not too far behind in their path to embracing a sustainably profitable future.

Increasing climate consciousness among these enterprises is making them improve their environmental performance. Using their potential to innovate they are developing sustainability-related products and services that are built on the principles of resource conservation, resource efficiency and waste management. Adopting greener ways of business operations, is making MSMEs critical enablers of green and inclusive economy at the grassroots.

In the last few years, three MSMEs from the Walmart-Vriddhi program have been running their business keeping sustainability at the core.

Apna Green Products

Hyderabad-based Apna Green Products’ entrepreneurial journey began when its Founder & CEO Aruna Dara got a business idea to use banana fiber for creating sanitary napkins, while supporting her friend on a research paper.

After gaining an understanding of how plastic sanitary napkins were impacting women’s health, the founders of the firm developed a prototype to create an economical and biodegradable sanitary napkin, using latest technologies. The production cost of a single sanitary napkin was just INR 7-8.

As her business grew, the Founder & CEO of Apna Green Products understood that banana trunks were a solid waste and by using the banana fiber, she was supporting farmers in solid waste management. She also provided them with a second income opportunity by showcasing the fiber extraction process.

Vrushti Creations

Realizing early on that the Mumbai market was saturated with imported designer clothing, Mumbai-based Hemlata Ashish Ghadiali created a brand that could stand out on its own.

Vrushti creations went the ethnic route, and chose Khadi as its product of choice, culminating with the launch of a brand called ‘Shatakshee’ in 2017.

The brand aims to redefine Khadi and today manufactures an extensive range of apparel in Khadi fabric, including kurtis, suits, and shirts. The USP of the brand is the organic nature of its products, as well as unique designs.

Hemlata explains, “We use lab-tested pure organic cotton & handspun fabric, and machine and hand embroidery are done on the fabric to bring variety. We also participate in Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) exhibitions to showcase and create awareness of our designs, which help us reach more customers.”

Future Farmers LLP

The founder of agri-venture Future Farmers LLP, Ankit Sharma had three clear business objectives to set his brand of jaggery apart: make the process of making jaggery hygienic; ensure that jaggery retains its nutritional value; and ensure that his product resonates with the modern audience.

With the help of mechanized production, including automation and processing, he ensured that his brand of Jaggery ‘Gladden’ is never touched by human hands. This is quite an accomplishment when we consider that jaggery plant workers have remained loyal to time tested techniques across generations. But Ankit helped his staff unlearn them and adopt hygiene basics like masks, gloves, and hair caps to not only preserve Gladden’s purity, but also their own health as jaggery is rendered by boiling sugarcane juice to a scorching 120 C.

Future LLP’s sustainable product portfolio was quickly diversified to manufacture not only jaggery and jaggery products, but also crockery, paper plates, manure, and more from sugarcane roughage. In parallel, the enterprise has entered the service sector, and is setting up new farms, developing food farms, working in soil nourishment, and helping farmers with documentation work.

Describing his unique enterprise, Ankit says, “First I am a farmer, second, a manufacturer, and third, a brand owner.”