World Environment Day: These women-led businesses are building a greener world
Environmental issues are becoming a rising concern with every passing year. The effects of climate change such as melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and other ecological impacts point to consumerism as a key contributor.
With most people set in their lifestyle, reconsidering every purchase and choice may seem stifling. On World Environment Day, here is a look at businesses by women entrepreneurs that are helping people transition to using eco-friendly products without burning a hole in their pocket.
(From L to R) Sushi Krishna, Founder of Nyrrnava; Surbhi Bansal, Co-founder of Nirmalaya; Roopa Hariharan, Co-founder of PureCult; Sujata Pawar, Co-founder of Avni; Pooja Parkar, Founder of Root Natural.
Roopa Hariharan, who always strived for an eco-conscious lifestyle, embarked on her entrepreneurial journey when she saw untreated sewage polluting lakes in Bengaluru. Noting that chemicals from home cleaning products were key pollutants, she startedto offer an eco-friendly alternative that is equally efficient. Founded in 2020, she was joined by seasoned entrepreneur and supply chain expert Sumit Anand as Co-founder.
Bootstrapped so far, PureCult offers 12 different cleaning products priced between Rs 299 and Rs 499. The D2C brand is primarily focused on selling through online platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, and Paytm, besides its own website.
Just as Roopa was preparing for a market launch in March 2020, the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus cases was imposed, which led to logistical challenges in reaching out to the vendors and bottle manufacturers. However, it made a successful launch and saw a positive market adoption.
Roopa hopes to achieve a turnover of Rs 10 crore by August 2021 as it completes one year.
With one plastic sanitary pad equalling four plastic bags, they have become a huge part of India’s pollution problem. Using pads for a long time also causes skin irritation and infections.
Enter Thane-based Avni that is ensuring holistic menstrual care solutions.
Founded in 2020 by couple entrepreneur Sujata Pawar and Apurv Agrawal, it provides innovative and eco-friendly menstrual care products like organic and reusable sanitary pads, cotton disposable pads, and menstrual cups with medical-grade silicone.
also offers combos like ‘Green Period Kit’ and helpline number available round the clock to address any queries regarding their products.
More recently, it raised $75,000 in a seed funding round led by We Founder Circle (WFC), with participation from angel investors Amit Tyagi and Srikanth Iyengar.
Delhi-based Nirmalaya recycles floral waste from temples into organic incense sticks and cones, dhoop sticks, and Havan cups to be reused as offerings.
Founded by Surbhi Bansal with her brother-in-law Rajeev Bansal and husband Bharat Bansal, the trio was initially inspired by how Shirdi temple in Maharashtra recycles its floral waste.
After a few months of research, they put in place their own recycling process, which is now patented under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. All their products are now being made at their factory – spanning 3,000 yards – at Dham Complex, Delhi.
Priced between Rs 150 and Rs 1,500, the products are available on the startup’s website and ecommerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, and Jaypore. Nirmalaya’s products are also sold at retail stores in Goa, Bengaluru, and Kolkata airports through the retail eco-conscious brand, Rare Planet.
As reiterated by medical experts and healthcare professionals, washing or sanitising our hands and maintaining general hygiene has become very important. So, when Sushi Krishna noted that most people were not using hand sanitisers while travelling because it caused skin irritation, she decided to take matters into her own hands and offer an alternative.
In November 2020, she founded Nyrrvana, a Hyderabad-based business specialising in healthy and eco-friendly hygiene products, with the price ranging from Rs 38 to Rs 288.
Working with a manufacturing facility run by an all-women team, Nirvana’s products are now AYUSH-certified and available at Amazon, Flipkart, and the company’s own website.
The company also operates on a B2B model, catering to clients like Varun Motors, Padmaja Motors, and several cafes with customised colours.
Pooja Parkar aims to popularise natural and homegrown skincare brands through, an online marketplace that now features about 22 Indian brands. Founded in 2020, the Mumbai-based platform considers everybody, regardless of age and gender, as potential customers.
It was Pooja’s own tryst with finding the perfect skincare product that led her on the path of entrepreneurship. After trying every foreign product recommended by various dermatologists, she found a lasting solution in India’s natural and Ayurvedic practice. However, while pursuing a Master’s in International Management from the National University of Ireland, she noted that most Indians are blindsided by global cosmetic brands.
Today, she examines the manufacturing process of each brand onboarded on the platform and offers a wide range of products, priced between Rs 350 and Rs 5,000.
After establishing its footprint in India this year, Root Natural plans on exploring international markets as well.