With its all-natural and environmentally friendly skincare products, the small business from Bangalore has carved out a niche for itself. The firm has grown a loyal customer base, received multiple honours, and is now expanding its market to different regions throughout the world by finding innovative methods to lower its emissions.
(MSMEs working to reduce their emissions and become more sustainable can kickstart their climate journey by making the SME Climate Commitment. Learn more here.)
Founded in 2018, Vishisht Lifestyle is an eco-friendly small business offering skincare products crafted with natural ingredients. Recognising our collective responsibility towards emissions reductions and the growing need for businesses to cater to increasingly conscious customers, the brand has woven climate action into its mission. In addition to offering a range of natural and cruelty-free products, Vishisht uses sustainable packaging for all its products to reduce its emission footprint even further.
Vishisht Lifestyle joined the SME Climate Hub in early 2023. Founder Namrata Aggarwal believes the Hub strongly resonates with the company’s guiding philosophy. She notes, “We made the SME Climate Commitment to join the Race to Net Zero. The tools and information on the Hub are really informative and help us progress in the right direction. I appreciate the guidance and have implemented several measures based on the knowledge gained from the Hub. I hope to learn more about the initiatives of other MSMEs around the world, network with like-minded organisations and explore the reporting tool to track Vishisht’s progress on its commitment.”
Taking meaningful action
Although the ingredients used to make Vishisht’s products are all natural, the company has identified packaging and product deliveries as two key sources of emissions.
While the company decided to sell its products in glass jars from the start, it took some time to identify domestic suppliers that could meet brands’ criteria for sustainable and recyclable packaging. Since 2020, Vishisht has been selling its products in plastic-free and sustainable packaging.
Furthermore, the company provides a return policy for its glass jars and packaging material, making its deliveries potentially zero waste. In fact, Vishisht encourages this process by offering consumers a substantial discount on their next purchase, for every empty jar and packaging material returned to them.
Vishisht has a partnership in place to offset carbon emissions created by deliveries. It is also looking into forming a collaboration to actively participate in tree planting initiatives.
The business estimates that in a period of three years (from the beginning of 2020 till the end of 2022), it has not just reduced 5400 kg of CO2, which is roughly comparable to the carbon sequestration of about 2.4 acres of forest in a year but also diverted over 100 kg of plastic from oceans and landfills, and recycled and reused over a hundred glass jars.
Challenges & opportunities on the road to climate action
One of the company’s early challenges was confronting the initial costs while transitioning to sustainable suppliers for packaging. Namrata noted that while the company’s profit margin changed slightly, this move did not fundamentally alter the company’s bottom line due to Vishisht’s growing volume of orders.
Vishisht also identifies the emissions in its supply chain as a potential area for further intervention. While measures are in place to minimise the company’s own emissions, there has been little control over the emissions of its suppliers. To counter this, Vishisht chooses other eco-conscious businesses as its suppliers. In fact, 50% of its supply chain now offer sustainable product solutions or are considering minimising their emissions.
Namrata believes the need for collective action to combat climate change has never been greater. “I hope more MSMEs will commence their journey to reduce their carbon emissions. I encourage my peers and other MSMEs to join the SME Climate Hub as it will provide them with the knowledge they need to be more competitive and future-ready in the face of the unavoidable threats of climate change.”
How climate action has enabled growth
By steadily reducing its environmental footprint and working towards meeting the SME Climate Commitment, Vishisht has strategically positioned itself as a market leader by specialising in natural and sustainable products. Its customer base includes young professionals as well as dedicated environment and health-conscious buyers.
The company has also won several accolades in a short span of time. Some of these include:
- being awarded the Facebook Small Business Grants Program,
- being placed in the top 500 startups in South Asia in the Innopreneur Startup contest and
- being placed in the top 10 most promising organic personal care companies in India by Silicon India.
Namrata believes that there is an immediate need to transition to sustainable choices and lifestyles, and the time to act is now. “Today, so many consumers are realising the urgency of opting for healthy and organic products. We’re in the middle of an immense opportunity for sustainable products, and Vishisht is catering to this need.”
Tell us what climate action you’ve taken
MSMEs like Vishisht Lifestyle provide invaluable insights into how small businesses can identify areas of intervention and begin taking climate action. Interested in sharing your own climate journey for potential inclusion as a business spotlight? Get in touch.