It all started with an e-mail that Shishir Goenka, of Do U Speak Green, an eco-friendly venture that creates organic cotton clothing, sent out to 20-25 other sustainable enterprises in the first week of May 2013, urging all of them to come together and create awareness about their work. The idea was to pool in resources so that everyone could benefit. In less than a fortnight, 28 green enterprises came together to form a group and decided to call themselves The Green People of India (TGPI). They even came up with a self-explanatory tagline -- ‘Promoting eco-enterprises and sustainable development in India’.
Nidhi Singh, joint promotion campaign and festival director of TGPI, who is also the founder of Indigreen, an eco-friendly fashion label, says excitedly, “Everything happened over e-mails. We discussed, argued (meaningful interchange of views), voted, cross voted, and now finally have a name, tagline, plan of action and aims for our group, and some ground rules for more greenies wanting to join in. We are an informal, fluid, collective of Green People.”
Singh, a former journalist, says it made sense for the 28 eco, ethical, sustainable, fair trade enterprises from 11 different cities across India to come together as all of them have limited resources to advertise themselves. “Some enterprises are small while others are medium in size. Most of them can’t afford advertising campaigns. So we decided to come together and realised that united, we will be heard loud and clear. Our whole focus is to urge consumers to shift from brand consciousness to brand ‘value’ consciousness,” she elaborates.
Some of the enterprises that are a part of TGPI are Ecofemme from Auroville that produces washable cloth pads, Red Bug Store from Bangalore that makes Do-It-Yourself kits for children, Avani from Uttarakhand that creates electricity from pine needles, Mumbai-based Eco Corner and Om Ved that produce a wide range of eco-friendly bath and body products and stationery items.
Singh states anyone can join TGPI. All they have to do is fill up an online TGPI Online Application Form. Members of GPI will then reach out to all applicants in the first week of August with the eligibility criteria, membership procedure and guidelines, along with their proposed calender of TGPI Events for the coming months. She explains, “Someone proposes a thought, idea, plan of action and all the fellow Green People are included in the email. Responses start coming in. Someone volunteers to take up the project, others send their go ahead, and the volunteer puts the plan into motion.”
In fact, this was how TGPI organised its first-ever The Green People Festival from June 7-9 at Bandra. “The three-day event gave a platform from far-fetched enterprises from Uttarakhand, Karnataka and Auroville to showcase their products and reach out to more people. We chose Bandra as it boasts of global crowd who are not only well-travelled but are also eco-conscious.”
Singh says TGPI is planning to conduct at least four such major events every year. This will include two editions of The Green People Festival while the remaining will be collaborative efforts such as The Green People Pop-up bazaar at any major festival or event (like Dastkaar, etc). “We would ideally like to have each event in a different metro,” she adds.
The 20-something Mumbai resident states that TGPI aims to be a sustained movement that not only evolves over a period of time but also manages to convince the government to make eco-friendly products easily accessible and affordable.
Log on to thegreenpeople.in or visit their Facebook page-TheGreenPeopleOfIndia for a list of online green e-stores