Take a Stand: A Bag for Earth

EcoRight

1. No Poverty 3. Good Health and Well-Being 4. Quality Education 5. Gender Equality 6. Clean Water and Sanitation

Overview

As more and more people realize the harmful effects of using plastics and the long-lasting environmental degradation that it causes, levels of awareness about shifting to more environment-friendly alternatives are rising. Most people's fundamental mindset has evolved to acknowledge the need to transition to eco-friendly options of everyday products, products as basic yet essential as bags. But one major impediment faced by many to make this transition was a lack of feasible alternatives.

EcoRight is a company that was founded with the thought of addressing this issue and providing consumers with affordable, natural, reusable, and appealing bags that act as impressive substitutes for conventional plastic bags. The innovation is primarily based on the idea of creating eco-friendly bags that are attractive and appealing, giving consumers a reason to remember to carry the bag with them. Mr. Udit Sood, the founder of the company, recalls the consumer behavior research conducted by their company, which suggested that “People do not have any reason to remember to carry a bag. They then use the plastic bag because now they don’t have an option.” EcoRight started to fill this gap by creating eco-friendly bags with fetching designs, enticing patterns, and prints that attracted customers and made the users remember that they had a bag to carry along.

Authors

Akash Devarapalli

Akash Devarapalli

Soumya Singh

Soumya Singh

Tanya Bhardwaj

Tanya Bhardwaj

Himanshu Bhandari

Himanshu Bhandari

Jasmeet Singh

Jasmeet Singh

Srashti Sharma

Srashti Sharma

School

Goa Institute of Management

Goa Institute of Management

Professor

Divya Singhal

Divya Singhal

Innovation

Over the years, EcoRight has continuously strived to invest in innovative production methods to reduce the carbon footprint and ecological impact by manufacturing sustainably and ethically. The company has partnered with one of India's best cotton-products manufacturing facilities that has a rich and profound experience of over 15 years.

1. They have developed innovative fabrics using recycled cotton, organic cotton, and jute (called “Juton”). These materials provide durability and softness, as well as biodegradable. Recycled cotton is especially eco-friendly since old cotton fabrics are recycled into a new cotton fiber, thereby providing a more sustainable alternative to scrap cotton disposal by eliminating unneeded wastage. Organic cotton has an average of around 60% lower carbon footprint as compared to conventional cotton.

2. EcoRight was cognizant of the fact that people required bags that were either leak-proof or water-proof. With a diverse range of products like work bags, lunch bags, laptop bags, tote bags, etc., the company needed to find solutions to problems like spill-overs in lunch bags, breakage in laptop bags, etc. The company then devised a way to use recycled plastic bottles to create a fiber that was woven into a fabric. This fabric was then used inside the bags to render water-proofing along with a protective covering. Thus, the company has played a crucial role in effectuating the principles of a circular economy by reusing plastic and eliminating waste, which otherwise would have ended up in landfills causing environmental contamination.

3. EcoRight also has a presence on e-commerce websites and has shipped its products to multiple countries. With the mission to create earth-friendly products of the highest quality and evoke a sense of responsibility toward the environment, the company has formulated yet another innovation that solves a need while reducing dependence on plastic. EcoRight bags and products are packaged in material derived from corn, wheat, and potato starch. This makes the packaging material totally biodegradable and environment-friendly.

Take a Stand: A Bag for Earth

Style, Sustain, Empower

Inspiration

“It’s our collective and individual responsibility, to preserve and tend to the world we all live in.” – Dalai Lama.

Growing up in an eco-friendly household, Udit felt the need to be conscious of plastic use more than anyone else. The IIM-Calcutta graduate says going eco-friendly is not a matter of choice but a necessity today in this world where waste has now reached the remotest corners of the world.

The notion behind this green venture has come with the growing epidemic of plastic pollution and unsustainable consumption by humans. It was disheartening to see plastic bags everywhere – floating in our oceans, carelessly lying on the roads. Polybags are used for one time, but they end up poisoning our land forever. The idea was to give solutions to the citizens and stop the usage of plastic bags forever. And with this very thought, EcoRight was born.

His parents and wife are staunch followers of the anti-plastic movement, and his sister is an environmental lawyer. His own research while pursuing his MBA degree focused on sustainable trade practices. Hence, whatever he did, he knew it had come from family influences.

On a plastic-free mission

According to a UNEP report, nearly 50 percent of plastic waste generated globally in 2015 was in the packaging.

Udit says, “As an eco-friendly start-up, it just didn’t make sense for us to use plastic while sending an eco-friendly bag. That’s when we did some research and decided to switch to biodegradable alternatives made from corn, beet, and potato starch.”

Being eco-friendly doesn’t mean it has to be boring; with this very thought, we decided to design each bag in a fun, quirky way and made it available to citizens at an affordable price so that people actually use it.

Overall impact

EcoRight is a one-of-a-kind fashion statement when it comes to style with a social sense. It is a young startup committed to saving our planet from the abuse of plastic. In a world where people are just concerned about making profits, they are going the extra mile to get the best out of the waste!

Around one lakh eco-friendly bags have been sold since the inception of EcoRight, avoiding the use of more than two lakh plastic polyethylenes. Mr. Sood clarified the product line and price range of EcoRight bags, adding that the venture is not limited to India but is also open to over 200 countries worldwide.

He said that we only made eco-friendly tote bags when we launched in 2017, but since then, we have diversified into shopping bags, beach bags, lunch bags, and messenger bags. All the goods are naturally eco-friendly and can bear up to 10 kg of weight. The cost varies from as little as Rs.50 per bag to Rs. 1250 per bag.

Notably, they have acquired licensing from Disney and Marvel to encourage people to quit plastic bags and use reusable bags. EcoRight is trying to positively impact the world by offering reusable, natural, appealing, and affordable bags made of cotton and jute.

EcoRight is privileged to have teamed up with Norquest Products, one of India's best manufacturing facilities. When they say the best, they don't just mean the best product; they mean one of the world's most socially conscious facilities. Some of the engrossing highlights of the manufacturing units, which they call "ethical manufacturing," are:

1. Ethically audited to SEDEX 4 pillar standards: 4 main pillars are included in the Sedex SAQ: Labor Practices, Health & Safety, Climate, and Business Ethics. Legal criteria, international norms, and good practice take the four foundations into account.

2. Women empowerment: They strongly believe in and practice women empowerment, and 90% of their workforce are women.

3. In-depth training: They believe that every individual working on the bags is valuable and has a role to play in the company's success. They believe that every single person has value to add to the business. If they are not working as per potential, then the company makes sure to re-train them. There is no insecurity about their work.

4. Worker's welfare: They provide interest-free loans for all their workers' children's education.

EcoRight has been featured several times for their marvelous contribution to society:

1. On 16 December 2018, on the occasion of the small business day, Amazon presented small businesses in a dedicated small business segment to educate its customers about these creative start-ups and the brand's story. In the innovator start-up section on Amazon, Udit Sood, the founder of EcoRight, was featured.

2. In October 2019, EcoRight got featured in Homegrown - India's famous contemporary youth media channel.

3. In January 2019, EcoRight got featured in the January issue of Natural Mumma Magazine.

4. In June 2019, EcoRight got featured in YourStory - India's biggest platform for entrepreneur stories under the Social Story section of YourStory.

"To do a business that helps reduce the plastic footprint is in itself very satisfying. But to see that the work positively impacts so many lives is an amazing feeling."

Customers of EcoRight worldwide share their feedback on this noble idea of reducing the plastic footprint. Creating a positive impact on the work environment has created a huge impact on their minds and their style.

In the words of Mr. Sood, " The short-term goal is lesser plastic consumption, and long-term goal is to convert customers ultimately to adapt a completely sustainable lifestyle and making them understand sustainability through our product and slowly make them replace everything in their life with sustainable products."

According to him, "People can become an evangelist of sustainability, i.e., they can measure what impact one purchase is making to the environment which can be further spread by word of mouth, thus, accomplishing the mission!"

The company started by selling close to 100 bags in their first month in 2017 on Amazon.com, and right now, they average around 1,500 bags a month. This indicates that this has created a huge impact. People find it quite appealing to carry an attractive and sustainable eco-friendly bag and make the end-users remember that they have a bag to carry, just like a purse or wallet!

Business benefit

Just talking about the personal impact that a consumer makes on the environment is not enough; one has to provide a solution. With this thought in mind, EcoRight Bags, founded in 2017, has tried to solve the problem of carrying things sustainably. It started with India and then expanded to the US, Europe, and Canada, creating a worldwide customer base.

Touching so many people's lives and marking a change in the world, the company has sold over one lakh eco-friendly, appealing, and quirky bags. According to Udit, the co-founder of EcoRight Bags, the company has helped avert the use of around 50 lakh plastic bags. The company operates its own website and sells through Amazon worldwide. In the financial year 2018, it generated a revenue of Rs. 75 lakh, and the following year, that is the financial year 2019, it more than doubled its revenue to Rs. 2.25 crores.

The company offers a range of sustainable bags, from stylish tote bags to work bags and utility bags. It guarantees a life of at least five years and comes with a 100% recyclable material certificate. They have also partnered up with Disney and Marvel to expand their offerings and attract customers from all walks of life towards a sustainable option while maintaining their sense of style. They offer more than 18 different kinds of sustainable bags in all ranges.

Social and environmental benefit

The biggest benefit is reducing the plastic footprint on our planet. EcoRight creates products that will reduce plastic usage and help people to go eco-friendly in a fun way. They have a wide variety of eco-friendly, reusable, and durable bags, like tote bags, work bags, and utility bags, which range from casual usage to occasional usage. Disney Bags are designed in a fun way to attract young ones and kids. All these bags are biodegradable; even if we throw them away, they will decompose in six to nine months.

The reason behind anyone using plastic bags is the lack of alternatives or substitutes. EcoRight bags are the solution to this dilemma. To make their bags waterproof, they use fabric obtained from recycled plastic inside their bags for the lining. For manufacturing every bag, EcoRight is recycling five to seven plastic bottles, which means they reduce huge amounts of plastic in the environment.

To date, EcoRight has sold 18k bags, and they are the first seller from India to be invited to sell on Amazon Australia. EcoRight bags are available on 11 e-commerce websites across the world. They are trying to make the road clear for future generations by following innovative ways of reducing plastic usage, thereby benefiting the environment.

Interview

Udit Sood, Founder

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EcoRight

EcoRight

Ahmedabad, Gujarat, IN

Business Website: https://www.ecorightbags.com/in/

Year Founded: 2017

Number of Employees: 51 to 200

EcoRight creates affordable, natural, reusable, and appealing products to enable people to go eco-friendly. Products are made from durable fabrics, kind to the environment, and in ethically-audited manufacturing facilities. Their main mission is centered around educating the masses about the hazardous consequences that emerge through plastic use and providing them with natural alternatives - stylish yet sustainable bags!