Towards a New "R"

Aarohana Ecosocial Development

8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities

Overview

The prime innovation which Aarohana Ecosocial displays is a recycling technique of using plastic waste to create bags and other products. The technique reduces the plastic contamination in landfill and oceans. Further the company employs tribal community members to recycle and weave plastics hence enhancing the economic status of the community.

Authors

Arunava Mukherjee

Arunava Mukherjee

Soumya Sen

Soumya Sen

ISHA PANDEY

ISHA PANDEY

VAISHAKHI MEHTA

VAISHAKHI MEHTA

Hriday Ranade

Hriday Ranade

Jigar Singhal

Jigar Singhal

School

Goa Institute of Management

Goa Institute of Management

Professor

DIVYA SINGHAL

DIVYA SINGHAL

Innovation

Co-founders and directors, Amita Deshpande and Nandan Bhat, worked in the field of IT and production engineering respectively, before they thought of coming together in 2016 with a business idea that would impact the environment crisis. Amita, one of the co-founders says that "We toyed with a number of ideas before we realized the gravity of the problem of use of plastic and how it was causing harm to the environment. We decided to work on something to address this issue."

Post this they jointly founded Aarohana Ecosocial Developments to solve a problem which they could help eradicate.

The company was built on the foundation that recycling is the way forward to keep our oceans clean. The tonnes of plastic waste that goes into the ocean, if recycled and scaled to a level would be impactful and also helpful for the environment.

Hence, began the journey of cleaning up this plastic menace. The company employed tribal community to create inclusive growth and economic development. Within a small time frame, the Aarohana Ecosocial team had representation of 32 members. The company used indigenous equipment like chakras and handlooms, keeping the culture of hand woven bags alive. The method of Aarohana's production involves cleaning the collected plastic wastes and sun drying them. They are then manually cut into stripes and rolled on a traditional chakra (spinning wheel). Then the rolled stripes are woven into fabric on a handloom. Finally the fabric is stitched into handbags, office products and home decor products.

Towards a New "R"

Inspiration

The primary inspiration towards starting Aarohana Ecoscocial developments was the strong emotional connect that the founders had towards the glaring environmental issues staring down on earth on this day.

One of co-founders says, "We saw how plastic wastes polluted every water body in the world. Indeed the crisis faced by the vast coastline of India due to irresponsible dumping of plastic wastes into the sea, their subsequent washing off on the shores and polluting the marine ecosystem were the things that needed utmost attention. We as founders made it our mission to control this growing menace by a simple technique of recycling. This is the least we could do from our side."

After they decided what to do, now was the time for them to decide how to go about the whole idea. Having worked extensively in the field of sustainable development and corporate social responsibility, the founders wanted their start up to do more than just environment protection. They tried to promote the sustainable development goal of decent work and economic growth. So, they brought in tribal community representatives to work for them in a fixed monthly salary which not only improved their financial condition but also empowered them socially.

The process of developing the end products involved several touch points starting from enhancing the status of the stakeholders to reducing plastic waste generation. No compromises were made with the quality of the end product. This model of business not only caters to the environment and society extensively but also generates a handsome profit contribution for both the business and its stakeholders.

Overall impact

Aarohana Ecosocial engages tribal weavers and artisans to create bags and home decor products from plastic waste. The plastic waste is procured from various agencies and processed. The weavers are mostly based out of a village in Silvassa and are paid a fixed monthly salary. This has improved their standard of living and financial status. Sukanya, a Business Development Associate at the firm says that, "We at Aarohana believe in a closed loop system for our products."

By using plastic waste, Aarohana Ecosocial wants to create awareness about the harmful effects of plastic to the environment and wants people to reduce its use. It provides us a marketplace for the products produced by the weavers and their efforts are recognised. Aarohana believes in the concept in a sustainable world.

Business benefit

Aarohana Ecosocial has created a community of talented artisans who believe in the idea of sustainability. As the times progress, people across the world are coming together to contribute to the cause of sustainability. More and more businesses are coming up which are based on the idea of sustainability and they are going the way forward. It is trying to encourage people to cut down plastic use and recycle plastic waste. This is a symbiotic relationship where the artisans and the business both benefit. Along with bags and home decor, it is now diversifying into new products which translates into more revenue generation for the business and the artisans.

Social and environmental benefit

The company has helped to create awareness about the harmful effects of plastic waste in the environment. It tries to reduce plastic use among people. It follows the concept Reuse, Recycle, Refuse, Reduce and Repair for developing its products. The artisans involved also believe in the common idea of sustainability and Aarohana Ecosocial has helped create different sources of income for these artisans present in the tribal areas. It has also provided a marketplace and a platform for these artisans helping them lead better lives. Aarohana Ecosocial is a PETA approved Vegan brand and has approximately up-cycled 1094680+ plastic bags to date.

Interviews

Sukanya Patil, Business Development Associate

Amita Deshpande, Co-founder

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Aarohana Ecosocial Development

Aarohana Ecosocial Development

Pune, Maharashtra, IN

Business Website: https://aarohana.org

Year Founded: 2016

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

Enabling rural livelihoods and conserving our environment and heritage by upcycled-handwoven products. Upcycles waste plastic bags and food wrappers. Woven on a handloom. Enables tribal livelihoods. Promotes consumer awareness and sustainable fashion.