Norquest Brands: Suppliers of environment friendly bags to global brands

Romen Sood, Director,Sanjiv Sood, Managing DirectorThe environmental degradation has impelled conservationist groups to actuate effective rules and measures to curb pollution in order to protect the environment. Plastic has been globally identified as one of the biggest polluters of the planet. With an estimated5 trillion plastic bags being consumed every year it is no wonder that these non-biodegradable items choke rivers, oceans, clogs drains, cause floods, pollute land, soil, water and air.

Over the past few decades there has been a shift away from plastic to cotton, jute and other eco-friendly materials. Norquest Brands identified this potential segment almost two decades ago and over time have built their business in Europe, Australia, US and Canada. Norquest makes bags for a wide variety of applications such as packaging, promotion, merchandising and branding and for online and offline brands. Their customers include global brands in sustainable cosmetics, automobiles, magazines and publishing, museums and exhibitions, technology and many others.

The company has kept in step with the maturing of the market. Sustainability as a concept is now centre stage. Today customers want transparency not only from their Tier 1 vendors but also from the entire supply chain. To ensure that entire ecosystem practices responsible and environment friendly business practices. "Norquest has
always been in keeping with our customers' requirements. We have built socially and ethically compliant company from ground up. We were one of the earliest companies to voluntarily embrace global certifications such as SEDEX which requires an in-depth physical audit of key business operations across the aspects of labour, health and safety, environment and business ethics." says Romen Sood, Director, Norquest Brands.

The company is also certified for GOTS (organic), GRS (recycled) and Fairtrade standards. This assures customers that when we offer organic, Fairtrade or recycled cotton bags, the entire value chain has been checked and certified. Right from the cotton farm, fibre, yarn and weaving and up to the processing of the fabric. To ensure this we only deal with vendors who are similarly certified," says Sanjiv Sood, Managing Director, Norquest Brand.

Norquest aims to be a leading sustainable bag manufacturer offering global brands superior products at good prices

The company prides itself on the quality, price and service they offer their customers. "We have to match market prices yet satisfy international standards. The challenges of maintaining quality and predictable timeliness in a labour intensive and somewhat disorganised segment are high. Yet we have managed to consistently offer superior value to customers" says Romen Sood. Norquest is ISO 9001 certified as well. "We are in growth mode ­ and are in the process of developing new products, new customers, expanding production facilities and beefing up our team. There appears to be a real move away from China and Indian suppliers could benefit from that."

The company is constantly on the look out for sustainable, innovative fabrics and materials for their customers. These include, in addition to cotton and jute, other environment friendly fabrics like Tencel, banana fibre, RPET (made from recycled plastic bottles), recycled cotton, vegan leather, linen etc. Organic and Fairtrade cotton are also very much in demand. "One of large customers, a global sustainable cosmetics brand, wants to switch entirely from regular to recycled cotton packaging. They believe that the extra cost incurred is justified by the social benefit."

Norquest's sustainability initiatives extend to the use of solar energy and rain water harvesting in their factory. As a socially responsible company other employee friendly efforts include free annual medical camps for all employees and workers, annual worker offsite/picnic and blood donation camps.