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Read an article today in one of the business newspapers that the market for eco-friendly clothing in India is on the rise. From the current 1% of the total market of Rs. 32,000, it is expected to grow to 5% by 2015 – that’s almost 40% CAGR for the next five years, and a total market size of about Rs. 1500 crores.

Eco-friendly garments could mean many things, but overall, it is about using as much natural resources as possible and as little synthetic and fossil, and an emphasis on using less for more. Eco clothing could refer to those that are made using natural dyes, and natural fabrics such as cotton and linen. A variety of clothing is manufactured using organic cotton, recycled fibres and bamboo, and these could be classified as green as well. On the “waste less” part of it, garment manufacturers are experimenting with the residual waste in the production process to spin a recycled fabric. Besides, the retailers are also encouraging manufacturers to opt for a production cycle using less water, leading to water conversation.

It is a bit of a surprise that the Indian cloth consumer is as eco friendly as they are reported to be, because I was under the impression that the eco-awareness has not really reached mass market proportions, but well, let’s say I am happy to be wrong.

From a business standpoint, is the eco-apparel trend an opportunity only for large players, or is this something small businesses can latch on to as well? Your comments are welcome.