Bodhi – a small block printing workshopin Vadodara, India that had showcased excellence in all three aspects of sustainability – environmental, social and economic since its inception in 1986.
SDGs covered:SDG 8: decent work and SDG 12: responsible consumption and production.
Bodhi is a small enterprise of artisans excelling in the craft of hand block printing, hand screen printing and embroidery located in Vadodara, Gujarat. It was established by Mala Sinha in 1986.In the early eighties, design as a career was just being established; fresh graduates from Indian design schools turned to entrepreneurship to make a living, as well as create jobs. Bodhi’s operations began with small scale printing of table mats and napkins. Bodhi is rooted in the principles of frugality and ethics—conservation of resources and fair treatment of workers have always been the guiding mantra
Bodhi is situated outside traditional craft clusters like Ahmedabad; common infrastructure, market, etc. are not available. As Bodhi grew, to maintain a large production capacity involving many craftsmen and workers, it had become dependent on a single international buyer for orders. To preserve its artisanal rootsand its core values of frugality and sustainability Bodhi scaled down and now runs as a small organization focused on the principles of circular economy. It now caters to the domestic market.
In the initial years, there were regulatory challenges too, as environmental and pollution control laws were made by the state government but there was no guidance for implementation.
Bodhi’s operations are focused on reducing energy and water footprint. Solar energy is utilized for baking pigment-printed fabrics, and heating water. Water consumption is at 30% of industrial standard. Rainwater is harvested, which is used in the production process as well as to recharge groundwater.
Bodhi has installed a bio-remediation facility, where waste water from the printing and dyeing processes is treated by:
All workers and artisans are provided fixed salaries, rather than on a piece-rate basis. This ensures better quality of work, as well as provides income security to all employees. Employment is permanent; as opposed to contractual work which is seasonal and demand based, which makes it difficult for workers to make a living during lean periods. Bodhi’s model counters such difficulties.
Many of the artisans now working at Bodhi joined as unskilled helpers and have learned their craft on the job. All the women who embroider for them are trained to embroider by their team of trainers and supervisors, and the work is given to them at their homes and collected from them when finished.
Bodhi believes in establishing long-term relationships with their employees, craftsmen and traders.
Partnership with global brands and certifying agencies didn’t go well. Following were the challenges faced: