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BW Businessworld

Being Responsible Is Going To Be In Vogue In Times To Come: CEO, Whitenife

Whitenife was started about four and a half years ago with an aim to lend fashion companies an access to more innovative and animal friendly materials.

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With conscious consumption being the norm in today’s world, Whitenife, a brainchild of Sonia Agarwal Bajaj, is an e-commerce portal, launched as Asia’s first marketplace for ethical and sustainable fashion goods with establishing exclusive partnerships with over 30 brands.

Whitenife is a pioneering leader of sustainable fashion industry that revolutionizes how fashion empowers communities, conserves the environment, and positively impacts the world we live in.

In an exclusive interview with BW Businessworld, Sonia Agarwal, CEO and Founder of Whitenife, discusses the organization’s initiatives in being a global pioneer in ethical and ‘green’ gifting.

How is Whitenife aiming to be a pioneer in sustainability in the fashion industry?

Whitenife was started by me about four and a half years ago with an aim to lend fashion companies an access to more innovative and animal friendly materials. We are working on a leather substitute and have come up with an eco-friendly material called Elf or vegan ivory which is 90 percent close to elephant ivory.

I feel there is a need to create a market place or a platform to bring awareness amongst potential designers and customers. In the year 2014 we started building our community that promotes the concept of ethical fashion amongst designers and consumers to create a sense of responsibility.

Today we represent ourselves to approximately 55 international brands. Not only this, we have created products in-house and also tied up with some NGO’s. One of them is MC2 for which we have got a phenomenal response. These brands enable ethical fashion to be both responsible and acceptable.

Hence, our endeavours have always been on the lanes of contributing efficiently and judiciously towards the environment by providing a platform for the brands that are aligned with an altruistic motive.

What are the steps Whitenife is taking to conserve the environment?

We have shifted our focus temporarily from ethical fashion towards the concept of ethical gifting. Currently, Whitenife is India’s first online platform that endows people to browse, shortlist, order samples and get instant quotations on various products of gifting solutions on a bulk basis. Every single gift on our platform is eco-friendly or socially impacting. 

The catalogue comprises of around 500 product, each supporting a completely different cause. For example - We have got beautiful diyas that are painted by women suffering from HIV Aids.

I feel it’s very important to empower such women rather than making them feel like the weaker end of the community. Each of the handcrafted candles available at Whitenife are made with vegetable wax and essential oils, that burn without harmful toxins.

We also have a good range of edibles like chocolate coated almonds, barbeque makhanas and herbal teas. With every single jar that we sell we sponsor a meal for an underprivileged person via 17 service kitchens across India.

How are companies aligning green-gifting with their CSR initiatives?

Today, organizations comprise of responsible people who are dedicated to target CSR initiatives in their own capacity. Being responsible is going to be in vogue in times to come. Many organisations specially the MNC consulting, IT, banking, Media and Advertising and real estate have embraced this concept very strongly.

Each industry, organization & individual comprises of a different gifting culture and are drawn towards adapting to ground-breaking and technologically advanced gifts along with their CSR initiatives.

For example the potential real estate players often engage in a lot of client gifting and giveaways like home utilities in order to delight customers, while the pharmaceutical giants may opt for green gifts like laptop bags and health gadgets.

By aligning green-gifting with their CSR initiatives, these corporate companies help in empowering the weaker and underprivileged sections of the society.

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