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Filtering by Category: Inspiration


Gauri Sharma

By Sanya Arora

Sanya is studying Fashion Marketing at the Pearl Academy and is interning with DOT for the summer. Though the primary focus of her internship is on ethical fashion, she is interested in exploring the power of brand to create positive social change. Some great campaigns by great companies!


As consumers have started becoming more aware of the inequities around them, a lot of brands and companies are putting social and environmental sustainability at the heart of their business. They are standing up for something bigger, something good, something which entails more attention than just products and services. This rise in socially conscious consumers has made it essential for brands to nurture an emotional relationship with their customers by championing a cause. Here are some of the best.

Vistara & Salaam Baalak Trust - #FlyTheNewFeeling

Vistara airlines collaborated with a NGO called ‘Salaam Baalak Trust’ which supports street children in Delhi and Mumbai. The airlines invited 12 kids from the NGO to be part of their very first flight. The complete joy of flying for the first time was captured and made into a short film titled ‘Fly the new feeling’. The brand not just marked their new journey but also fulfilled the dreams of 12 kids while connecting with its audience with a promise of ‘Fly the new feeling’. You can watch the film here

Ching’s Secret & Akshay Patra Foundation - ‘India Ke Hunger Ki Bajao’

The premium Chinese brand Ching’s Secret partnered with Akshay Patra Foundation, a non-profit organisation providing mid-Day meals to 1.5 million children in India every year. The aim of the campaign ‘India Ke Hunger Ki Bajao’ is to feed 1 million children across India. The brand has given an actionable voice with the help of its brand ambassador Ranveer Singh who drives this CSR campaign. Ching's strongly feels that by positively contributing to the community with this initiative, they will drive nation towards better future and progress. You can watch the film here.

Paper Boat & Parivaar Ashram #FloatABoat

A beverage brand, Paper Boat, teamed up with Parivaar, a humanitarian service organization, with the vision of improving the life of less fortunate children. Together they rolled out a campaign, ‘Float A Boat’, an initiative which involved making a paper boat, uploading a picture on their website or social media with a hashtag  #FloatABoat. For every uploaded picture, the brand donated Rs 20 for children's education. The campaign helped the brand build on its proposition of ‘Drinks & Memories’. You can watch the film here

 Dabur’s Sani Fresh - ‘700se7Kadam’

Dabur India for its toilet cleaner brand Sani Fresh, took out a campaign called ‘700se7kadam’ with a motive of taking steps towards creating better sanitation facilities for rural women in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. The campaign featured stories of many rural women in India who walk a great distance to relieve themselves and put their life and dignity at risk.  The brand invited all its customers to support the campaign by creating a buzz on social media. For the sale of every product, the brand contributed Re. 1 towards building toilets with a hope to reduce the distance traveled by these women, from 700 steps to only 7 steps. You can watch the film here

Lenovo & YUWA - #PitchToHer

Lenovo in partnership with YUWA, a non-profit organisation that imparts football training to young girls, launched a campaign called ‘Pitch To Her’. The idea was to invite young minds to pitch innovative ideas that can impact the life of girls at YUWA through technology. The most convincing idea was awarded with a month long internship at the YUWA campus. In this way the brand helped the young girls at YUWA to experience the wonders of technology, pushing them towards a smarter and better world. You can watch the film here

Nivea India & Aseema Charitable Trust - ‘Mom’s Touch’

A skin care brand, Nivea, launched a social campaign in association with Aseema Charitable Trust, an organisation that works towards providing education to children from marginalised communities. The campaign touched millions of hearts by depicting stories of extraordinary mothers who go out of their way to make their children’s future secure. The first leg of the campaign was done in municipal schools of Mumbai, where mothers of students with 100% attendance were given 3 months ration as an acknowledgment to their efforts. This helped the brand to build a right image of ‘love and care’ with its customers. You can watch the film here

Lifebuoy- ‘Help A Child Reach Five’

Hindustan Unilever’s soap brand, Lifebuoy, created a unique social campaign to spread awareness about the facts on death of children under 5 due to infections like diarrhoea. This social initiative was done in Thesgora, an Indian village with various hygiene and handwashing education programmes. The campaign titled ‘Help A Child Reach 5’ showed positive impact on handwashing behaviour and health of the people living in that village. Since then the brand has become more ‘preferred’ among its audience. You can watch the film here


Gauri Sharma

By Sanya Arora

Sanya is studying Fashion Marketing at the Pearl Academy and is interning with DOT for the summer, with a focus on fashion and garment manufacturing. Building on her interest in ethical fashion, she has written an interesting piece on niche, Indian fashion labels in the upcycling space. Great brands that need to be talked about!


How does one add value to the discarded lot? How about using the same which was lost?

Low-cost clothing inspired by high-cost luxury trends has created a mass industry of “fast fashion”. The fast fashion industry is booming where billions of new designs are created and accepted worldwide, which further generates employment opportunity for huge number of skilled and unskilled workers in the Indian textile industry. While the outer face of the industry is all glammed up with stylish products, the internal space needs much consideration and support. The concept of ‘fast fashion’ relies on the model in which clothes only last for a short period of time and are easily replaceable. The result is a wave of over-consumption and over-dumping at a mass level. However there is good news in the form of a new trend for creating an environment of zero waste - the upswing of ‘upcycling’ in fashion industry.

People usually tend to blur the meaning of the two terms ‘upcycling’ and ‘recycling’ but there exists a contrasting difference between the two. Recycling involves breaking down of the product (usually plastic, glass, paper etc.) into raw material form, so that it can be made into a new product. Whereas upcycling is a process in which product is reconstructed or redesigned to make another product. It reduces waste as pre-industrial, pre-consumer and post-consumer waste is not thrown away but simply reworked into a new product. Upcycling is no new concept, it has been a part of our Indian culture since 1930’s and 40’s when our families used to reuse almost everything - but now the old is new again, with some improvements.

Making something new and artistic with something you once believed is useless is true art. A lot of young designers have taken up this trend. Here are some start-up fashion labels that are not only committed to upcycling but are also trying to change the consumer mindset with their ethical and sustainable initiatives, contributing towards making a more environmentally and socially viable world.


Delhi-based fashion clothing brand, Doodlage is strongly dedicated to an ethical idea of upcycling and recycling. They focus on using the untouched, not worn or barely worn clothing of your wardrobes and turning them into nice and trendy upcycled or recycled clothing. They work on recycling, reconstructing and redesigning old vintage collections with added trims and prints. Every garment is unique in its own way, using sustainable fabrics and different cuts and colours.

Follow them on thei Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest

Mehera Shaw

Jaipur-based brand, Mehera Shaw is an affordable, upcycled and artisanal lifestyle brand producing a number of product categories for environmentally conscious women. Their upcycling project takes into use post-consumer waste like scraps, fabrics, trims and threads to create value-added accessories. Their vision is built on using low impact fabric, fair labor garment production and educating customers about the concept.

Follow them on their Website, Facebook and Instagram


Mumbai-based brand, Ka-Sha by Karishma Shahani Khan, strongly focuses on an ethical waste policy for creating her collection. One thing which grabs the intention of many people is her unique way of designing, where everyday textile (cotton or linen) is mixed with a beautiful Indian craft - be it a different dye or an unusual modern silhouette. Her collection has got reasonable attention in many international and domestic publications.

Follow them on their WebsiteFacebook and Instagram

Conserve by Shalabh and Anita Ahuja

Conserve is a great initiative based in Bahadurgarh, Haryana. It was founded by Shalabh and Anita with a focus on using waste in the production of new products. They upcyle plastic bags and reinvent them as fashion accessories. They are socially and environmentally responsible as they employ ragpickers to collect and manage waste, which they refashion into daily lifestyle products.  The profit which they make is also spent on social welfare projects.

Follow them on their Website, Facebook


Delhi-based designer Aneeth Arora’s label, Péro, makes one- of- a- kind products by adding Indian-ness to its entire garment. Péro uses its unique skill of being sustainable for creating upcycled/recycled wearable garments from reusable fabrics. The inspiration is taken from the local people who are stylish and trendy without any effort and hence each product by this label evokes some sense of culture from where it originates.

Follow them on their Website, Facebook and Instagram

House of Wandering Silk

Delhi-based social enterprise, House of Wandering Silk works with cooperatives, NGOs and women artisans across Asia to create beautifully designed clothes, accessories and home décor. The label has setup a distinct image for itself by using old saris and reusing them by turning into scarves, shrugs and neckpieces. Each product under this label has a unique story to tell which makes the customer want their ethical products.

Follow them on their Website, Facebook and Instagram

Eco Wings

Eco wings, founded five years ago, is playful, stylish and India’s finest brand providing upcycled accessories.  They are making conscious efforts by adopting each and every possible way to reduce their carbon footprint and protect the environment. They have fashionable and trendy products made out of truck and bike tire tubes, marble slurry, waste cotton cloth, and tin etc.

Follow them Website, Facebook and Pinterest


Jaggery is an independent designer brand that uses industrial waste for making ethical, green products. The brand uses seatbelts and tarpaulins for making bags and other accessories. Along with this, as a part of their social responsibility project ‘oneBagoneTree’, they plant one tree for each purchase made from their website. The brand takes pride in helping reforest the world and hence protecting the environment.

Follow them their Website, Facebook and Instagram

Shahpur Jat getting conscious

Laura Quinn

By Gauri Sharma

This week we’ve been lucky enough to have lunch at two beautiful eateries in our hood, Shahpur Jat. Not only has the food and ambience been brilliant but we’ve noticed a new wave of becoming more “conscious” taking over.

Lovely interiors and conscious products at Greenr Store & Cafe

Lovely interiors and conscious products at Greenr Store & Cafe

We were at the Greenr Store & Café which is one-stop shop for everything organic and sustainable – from jewellery to coffee! On the first floor is a spacious café which has a really soothing vibe. It’s pure vegetarian café that serves you a choice of organic, vegan & gluten-free dishes. Their meal in bowl was absolutely delicious with veggies and a coconut cream sauce. Oh, and it’s also a co-working space for creative and sustainable enterprises. Going ahead, this “conscious” store cum café will be a space to look for, bringing together purposeful small businesses and individuals together.

Ivy & Bean, creating a great environment for differently abled staff

Ivy & Bean, creating a great environment for differently abled staff

Earlier this week, we were at our old favourite, Ivy & Bean, and noticed that they’ve added new staff. Much to our surprise, they’ve employed differently abled persons to manage the restaurant and plan to hire some more! Ivy & Bean, you guys are setting such a wonderful example of making a difference through their business – We hope it inspires other restaurants & cafes as well! 

SALT: New Mag for Compassionate Consumer Citizens

Laura Quinn

Hot on the heels of Collectively, a new online magazine for the conscious consumer-citizen hit virtual news stands last month. Introducing: Salt.

We like what they stand for; “compassionate business thinking” sums up a lot of what we also believe in.

Although the launch content isn't spectacular, Salt already feels a bit more serious than Collectively which, whilst being super cool, veers into Buzzfeed space a bit too often for comfort. Let's see what “compassionate business” content Salt manages to come up with for the next editions.

Collectively: Making Sustainable Content Cool

Anubhav Gupta

It was great to stumble upon Collectively this weekend, an awesome global content site to “expose the most sustainable options and innovations from the worlds of fashion, food, design, architecture and technology, among other things.” 

Hip, well-designed, and independently curated by the team at VICE, it’s got all the things we love about sustainable living, packaged in a way that doesn’t make us feel like we have to wear hemp trousers.

What’s doubly interesting is who’s behind it. Non-profit Forum for the Future has brought together partners across the corporate landscape, including Coca Cola, Carlsberg, BT Group, and Unilever to fund and support the platform – hopefully making it a sustainable model that will start to mainstream some of the issues we really love and care about. 

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The World's Most Successful Companies Pursue Mission Before Profit

Anubhav Gupta

brilliant piece from Fast Company that's a must-read for anyone interested in responsible business. A departure from anything we tend we see in India's "CSR" space, it discusses how the world's most successful companies integrate a mission into the very core of their business.

That mission doesn't have to be an idealistic, social one. But it has to be something that people can rally around, a purpose to exist, a meaning behind the money. And more often than not that purpose tends to have some level of social, sustainable, or human basis.

Even Apple, the world's most valuable company, places more emphasis on mission than it does on money, at least judging by Tim Cook's rhetoric...

If you want me to make decisions that have a clear ROI," another renegade CEO declared at a public shareholder meeting earlier this year, "then you should get out of the stock, just to be plain and simple." A few months earlier, that same renegade had announced that his company was committed to "advancing humanity." He claimed that his frame for decision making was moral: "We do things because they're just and right." This emphasis on social goals over financial performance seems almost revolutionary—and yet the renegade is none other than Tim Cook of Apple, CEO of the most valuable company in the world.

Apart from sounding wonderfully modern and progressive (and being part of "Generation Flux", as Fast Comany has termed it), this pursuit of mission has an interesting impact on employee engagement and productivity too...

A more effective contract, he says, meshes an individual's sense of purpose with that of the company. The Gallup report notes that millennials, gen-Xers, and baby boomers consider "mission and purpose" a valuable motivator. As Daniel Pink eloquently explained in the book Drive, higher pay leads to better performance only for routine, repeatable tasks; for higher cognitive efforts and creative tasks, maximizing rewards actually hurts performance.

The article includes compelling examples from Chipotle, Google and Eileen Fisher amongst others, which really do compel one to think beyond the realms of old-fashioned CSR, towards a much more holistic responsible vision.

Will Indian CEOs be inspired by Fast Company's call to arms to find their mission? Will we start to see our own version of "Generation Flux" stepping into the light and changing the way business is done? One can only hope that our progressive CEOs are waiting in the shadows to unleash this way of thinking on to Indian industry. Well, hope is eternal after all.

"Share My Dabba" | Disruptive Thinking, Zero Technology.

Anubhav Gupta

This rather neat idea stumbled its way into our FB feed this week. It's a new innovation by the Happy Life Welfare Society and the Dabbawala Foundation (best Facebook page ever?). 

For those who aren't aware, the Dabbawala system is a unique lunch delivery network in Mumbai that delivers up to 200,000 tiffins to 5,000 workers across the city everyday - it's a phenomenally effective operation.

See this film about the new innovation they have come up with...

There have been some criticisms of this new idea - just because children live on the street, is it ok to give them people's leftovers instead of a proper meal?

It's a valid point but also slightly moot. Getting nutritious, home-cooked food to kids who need it, taking some of the burden of food expense from their families, and reducing the amount of pointless food waste, are all valid ambitions.

No idea is perfect, but what this one shows is that with some good will and a little disruptive thinking, a small change by each individual can add up to a big difference.

Keep up to date with the project through the Share My Dabba Facebook page.


Anubhav Gupta

Last week Walter Isaacson, author of the Steve Jobs biography, was speaking at the Taj Mahal hotel in Delhi, hosted by the Aspen Institute (of which he is President and CEO).

Isaacson has been Managing Editor of TIME, Chairman and CEO of CNN, is on the boards of various universities and foundations, and has been listed in TIME 100 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

So what was this legendary man like? Timely, smart and entertaining. He came on at 4.05pm (exactly on time), and finished a rousing, profound, and humorous talk about Steve Jobs at 4.45pm to the second (again exactly on time). 

It was a humbling lesson in professionalism and charm (and a stark opposite to the Sustainable Business Leadership Forum Annual Summit, which we attended earlier in the day - they should really take note).

And, although we've probably all heard them before, it was also a great reminder of some of those wonderful lessons everyone can learn from Mr Steve Jobs....

1. Have a passion for product, not a passion for profit (or you become a commodity like everyone else)

2. Don't ask consumers what they want, show them what they want (cue Henry Ford quote: "If I had asked people what they wanted they would have said a faster horse").

3. "Don't be afraid, you can do it."

4. (The best of all) Stay hungry, stay foolish.

Final note, if you can't make it through Isaacson's weighty tome but still want to absorb the Jobs story, you could do worse than try Campfire's rather entertaining graphic novel version.


Anubhav Gupta

100 Book Covers To Fight Illiteracy is a lovely initiative we stumbled upon this week. A design studio in Antwerp has commissioned 100 illustrators to create new covers for 100 classic novels. The designs are being sold as posters on and 5 Euros from each sale will be donated to an organisation fighting illiteracy under the patronage of UNESCO.

If you like books, design and social projects then you'll like this. Check out the poster gallery.

Digitising hand-painted type faces to keep the craft alive

Anubhav Gupta


This project has been around for some time, initiated by our good friend and very talented designer, Hanif Kureshi. Called, it's an attempt to showcase, catalogue and preserve the art of hand painted typfaces created by India's traditional sign writers.

The accompanying short film created by Kureshi is a heartfelt and charming look at the art form as it slowly dies out to be replaced by new, digital printing. Shown at festivals around the world, including the Venice Biennale, it's certainly worth a watch whether you're a type enthusiat or simply interested in Indian art, culture or history.

One of the many traditional typefaces catalogued by

One of the many traditional typefaces catalogued by


Anubhav Gupta

This lovely initiative by Liberty London, 'National Treasures', sees some of Britain's favourite designers, actors, chefs, artists and other 'icons' create a range of limited edition products especially for the legendary department store. Proceeds from the sales go to the chosen cause of each icon.

This is just the kind of thing we love - it's well conceived, engaging, and valuable to everyone. Doing good without looking sad.


Anubhav Gupta

We've always liked buy-one-give-one intiatives. This one (partnered by BMB for our advertising friends' information) is super simple and nicely designed. Maximum points for addressing the issue of child health in developing countries with clean, contemporary design rather than sorrowful imagery. We just hope the blankets themselves are attractive enough to encourage people to buy.