February 22, 2020
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‘We Are Doomed If We Continue Like This’

Manu Kapur, President & CEO (Home Textiles), GHCL

‘We Are Doomed If We Continue Like This’
‘We Are Doomed If We Continue Like This’

On marketing strategies

Right now, we sell largely to global consumers through online retail. Now, we wish to partner with large international chains, which also have a substantial offline, brick-n-mortar presence. Our future focus will be on ‘in-store’ retail because such outlets make more sense for our products. The consumer reach in the case of offline retail is much higher. Physical retailers can stock a larger range of our products, and offer opportunities for omni-channel activities.

On GHCL’s consumers

Right now, we cater to niche buyers, who are not that price conscious. They are largely global, from younger generations, and wish to contribute positively to the environment. They have a sense of pride in what they buy. They have a high level of awareness; for instance, they know about the negative impact of plastic usage. They are keen to use sustainable products, and understand the benefits of buying recycled products, even if they are slightly more expensive.

On traceability, trust, and loyalty

A few years ago, there was controversy related to the misuse of Egyptian cotton in some products. The claim made by the seller wasn’t correct. Thus, paper certification can be easily misused and manipulated by some manufacturers. Hence, the forensic solution is the best one to create trust and loyalty. This way the retailer is confident that it is selling genuine products, and so is the buyer.

On the need for a circular economy

Recycling is not an end in itself; it is only a step in the right direction. Reusing materials still has an adverse impact, as it only postpones the inevitable. For example, the recycled polyester in our bed sheet, which lasts for 40-50 washes, or a year, still becomes a part of the waste, when it is discarded. When we launched Rekoop, which uses recycled polyester, we were surprised by views expressed by several bloggers. They said that there was no big deal about a bed sheet that was made from recycled plastic if it becomes a waste in a year. So, we thought in terms of how to close the loop. Now, we have partnered with a Japanese company that has the technology to de-polymerize the polyester from cotton-polyester blended fabrics. It can separate them, and the resultant polyester can then be re-recycled, and the chain can go on and on. We are doomed if we continue like this.

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