Keep Your Shoes Alive: Green Sole, A Social Venture That Upcycles Old Discarded Footwear To New Comfortable One!!

4 Mins read

Curbing The Carbon Footprint Through Your Amazing Initiative Of Green Sole, Please Tell Us About Your Company And Its Journey!

Greensole is a social venture that upcycles old discarded footwear to new comfortable slippers and donates them to the people in need and also manufactures and retails eco-friendly and vegan footwear through online channels. To help reduce the waste from the landfill and help the people by providing basic necessity of footwear, the duo (Founder & CEO Shriyans Bhandari and Co-founder & Director Ramesh Dhami) decided to upcycle the discarded shoes to slippers and provide them to the needy. The first refurbishment plant was set up in Thakkar Bappa Colony after which the duo partnered with RAM Fashion Exports for the refurbishment of old footwear. Initially started by donating 10,000 footwear, we have now donated 3,32,000 footwear across rural India and have saved more than 16,60,000 pounds of carbon emission. By 2023 we plan on donating around 10 lakh footwear to the needy.  

Shriyans, Being The CEO & CO-Founder Of Greensole, How Did This Idea Strike Him?

As athletes, Shriyans Bhandari (Founder and CEO) and Ramesh Dhami (Co-Founder and Director) ran hundreds of kilometers every year. They also ran through at least three to four pairs of sports shoes every year. The soles were in good condition, but the shoe sides would tear within months. The duo always wondered if they could find some use for the intact soles of these quality sports shoes. A bit of research led to the idea of refurbishing them into trendy slippers. With further research, it was founded that worldwide every year more than 35,00,00,000 pairs of shoes are discarded. While as per the recent report by WHO, 1.5 billion people are infected by diseases that could be prevented by wearing proper footwear. While manufacturing a pair of shoes involves a total of assembling up to 65 discrete parts in 360 steps, which generates 30 lbs of emissions; equivalent to leaving a 100-watt bulb burning for a week. At Greensole, we refurbish old footwear to new comfortable slippers that get donated to the people in need. We provide skill and employment to the underprivileged through our skill centers, and also retail eco-friendly and vegan footwear through online channels. So far, we have given footwear to 3,32,000 people in need across the villages of India, and by 2023, we aim to provide footwear to more than 10,00,000 people in need, while restoring their dignity.

Your Venture Has Received Many Appreciation Letters From Esteemed Personalities And Places, Like From Former President Of USA, Barack Obama And Sir Ratan Tata, BBC News And You Got Featured In Forbes As Well. How Did You Secure All This?  

A simple process of ‘TRY’ We thought they should know about the good work Greensole is doing and wrote to them about us. They have been humble to revert to us. Forbes happened due to the cumulative work we have done over the past few years.

How Do You Contribute To CSR And Sustainability In Our Society?

We do it by giving discarded shoes, a second life by refurbishing them into comfortable footwear. Then providing them to the people in need and contributing to environmental good by keeping non-biodegradable shoes out of landfills. We also contribute to social good, by giving basic necessity of footwear to the people in need and protecting them from diseases contracted through unprotected feet. Also economically we are employing people by the work of refurbishment of shoes through our skill centres, where we employ people to skill them. We also retail eco-friendly footwear which is made from sustainable materials like recycled sole, discarded cork, cotton, canvas, old shoelaces. Furthermore, a part of the revenue from the sale of our retail footwear goes towards refurbishing discarded shoes and donating them to the people in need. It also creates a circular fashion where our manufactured footwear can get returned to us after being discarded as to upcycle and donate.

Would Like To Tell Us About Your Milestone Achievements?

In 2018, we started our first skill centre in collaboration with Tata Steel and Lion’s Club Noamundi where we train, skill, and employ the underprivileged people. We teach them how to use the machinery and the complete refurbishment and upcycling process. Currently, this skill centre supports 6 families, and more than 100 people will be skilled here every year. We aim to open 30 such skill centres across India and for that we need support from corporates like Tata Steel.

Our footwear has walked the ramps of Lakme Fashion Week twice. In 2018, we partnered with Tilla by Aratrik Varman to design sustainable footwear, and in 2019 we partnered with Abraham & Thakore to design Eco-friendly Furry slippers for the sustainable fashion day.

We have been awarded Lexus India Design award 2017 and the social entrepreneur of the year 2018 India by Franchise India & Economic Times. – We have been featured in Forbes 30 under 30, 2018 and have been featured in more than 250 media articles and talks.

While we do not do it for the accolades, they’re a good way to show us we are on the right track.

How Does Green Sole, Caters The Market?

We cater to the market by providing sustainable and vegan footwear to the environment conscious people. We provide up cycling as a service where corporates can sponsor the cost of refurbishment and donation of footwear under their CSR.

Which Companies Have Partnered With You To Contribute To Your Initiative?

More than 50 corporates have contributed to our social cause. To name a few; Axis Bank, Adidas, Skechers, ONGC, HDFC Sales, GOQii, Justdial, Akamai, Cigna TTK, Tata Steel, DBS Foundation, Make My Trip, Sipra, Mahindra Rise, Indiabulls, Bharat Petroleum, Hitachi, JLL, and many more

Please Share A Quote About Your Initiative

‘You Wear They Wear’ is our tagline. This represents that when you buy and wear a pair of Greensole, a part of the revenue from the purchase goes towards refurbishing discarded footwear to comfortable slippers and donating them to the people in need and skilling underprivileged through our skill center. Because when You Wear, They Wear.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not represent those of Diggaj Media. The pictures are provided by the author and are not authorized to be used by anyone else.

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