Plastic Pollution Is The Biggest Environmental Concern
Indian sportswear brand Alcis Sports has created eco-friendly T-shirts. We speak to Roshan Baid, Managing Director, Alcis Sports on its inception and future promotion
Alcis Sports was incepted around two years back to cater to the growing Indian sportswear market. “We want to tap the emerging potential of the Indian sportswear market with the best of style, comfort suited specifically for the Indian sensibilities and weather,” said Baid.
The idea was born from the growing need of making environment-friendly products. Plastic pollution is the biggest environmental concern. Generally, T-Shirts are made of polyester – a man-made fibre that uses huge quantities of water, chemical fossil fuels for production. Moreover, the raw materials and by-products are toxic and pollute water and air, causing several health hazards. Baid thought of using R-PET (Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate) for the Wonder Tee and Wonder Polo range, which is a strong, durable and recyclable material used for soda bottles, water bottles, food jars, etc, making it an environment-friendly, cost-effective and safe product that also performs better than 100% virgin polyester.
Since the past two years, the range is already being made from recycled polyester, wherein about eight plastic bottles are used to make a T-shirt. Every T-shirt saves approximately 27 litres of water, uses 50% less energy to produce and reduces carbon emission by over 54%.
Manufactured in India for Indians keeping in mind the sensibilities and weather conditions, Alcis Wonder Tee comes in over 15 colours. “We are aggressively increasing the use of recycled polyester made from plastic bottles across all our apparel range. The aim is to have 50% of the products manufactured from recycled polyester which is made from waste plastic bottles within the next few months.”
Talking about the investments required to build such infrastructure, Baid explains, “The manufacturing process for making the T-shirts out of waste plastic bottles is almost similar to other tees. But there is machinery and equipment required to convert the plastic to yarn, depending on the production capacity the investment also varies.”
In order to take steps for environmental concerns, Baid feels that it is important to increase awareness among people and move them towards using products that are sustainable or made from recycled materials. For example, clothing made out of recycled polyester is picking up pace globally, but very few local players are doing this currently. “At Alcis, we are looking to grow the category 4-5 times by 2020 and intensify our marketing efforts for the product,” he said.
Alcis Sports has 150 shop-in-shops already operational in the large-format outlets like Globus, Shoppers Stop, Sports Station and Central. “We are present in 700-odd retail outlets across India. In 2018, we are looking to expand in Tier II and III towns where our total retail strength will cross the 2,000 store mark. We also have exclusive outlets in 5 cities - Kochi, Guwahati, Mumbai, Delhi and Jaipur.” Talking about the future plans, Baid plans to introduce a kids range, footwear line and bags soon.
In today’s day and age, there is a dire need to make the society and young entrepreneurs aware and adopt such initiatives. He says, “We require more entrepreneurs who recognise the need to be more environment-conscious. The entrepreneur community can definitely contribute to a large extent and innovate with technologies that can potentially address this grave problem confronting all of us. It is imperative that we look at building sustainable enterprises for future generation. Also, the VC and investor community can play an important role by supporting and encouraging such ventures.”