Husband and wife, Dushyant and Vinita Baravkar, are the founders of Bhumi, a fully transparent and ethical textiles business on a mission to lead by example, in an industry that's rife with poor standards. You might be surprised to hear that 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from the production of clothing and footwear. Incredibly, this is more emissions than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. Even worse, 35% of microplastics released into our environment are sourced from washing synthetic fabrics that sadly end up being pumped into our oceans.
Bhumi, which translates as Mother Earth in Sanskrit, make organic, pure, and chemical-free products with the highest of manufacturing standards. All of their products are made in Fairtrade factories using organically grown cotton, no harmful pesticides or toxic dyes, no child labour and net zero carbon emissions. An impressive list of attributes that we thought would be a great case study to dissect and learn from.
Going to back to nature is something they demonstrate on another level. Bhumi use monsoon rain in their garment production process, which is important considering the fashion industry is the second largest polluter of clean water globally. Instead of using chemical pesticides, they plant natural alternatives between their organically grown cotton plants, such as marigolds, which serve the same purpose as pesticides.
How can the surfing industry learn from Bhumi? We can aspire for a values-driven supply chain, such as Bhumi's 'seed to shelf' process, which ensures transparency from start to finish, with thoughtful solutions that consider the impact of every step. Varuna Surf have a similar approach with their 'Seed to Surfboard' philosophy that adopt regenerative production methods, resulting in boards that are much better for the environment, and they look amazing.
Vinita advises business owners to ask yourself a set of key questions that could be confrontational in revealing what happens behind the scenes, but ultimately, important questions if a brand wants to walk the walk. How is it grown? How is it made? What types of materials are used? Is there respect for the social, economic and labour rights of workers along the entire supply chain?
Some wise words of advice to any business, found on the Bhumi website, provide an effective and powerful value statement to live and work by:
"With the highest environmental standards and respect for social justice, we [Bhumi] are able to confidently assure you from seed to shelf we provide you with the highest quality products without compromising the earth and her people."
Bhumi is proof that a production framework can operate with sustainable and ethical values, while still thriving for a profitable business model. Their key foundations begin with striving for a quality end product that has a minimal environmental and social impact, and then the rest falls into place. With the ongoing climate crisis, there's never been a more critical time to learn from Bhumi's attitude towards running a responsible business, and equally, there's never been a timelier cultural shift in recent history where consumers are aware and empowered, resulting in expectations that match these high standards.
To dive deeper into this topic, listen to Vinita Baravkar, founder of Bhumi, in the Surfer vs Planet podcast, available via the following channels: