Copy of Our Story(27-02 to add awards and acheivements)


Saathi is a purpose driven manufacturing company that makes eco-friendly hygiene products. Founded by graduates from MIT (US), Harvard and Nirma, we are innovators in the use of alternative materials and zero-waste production. Our mission is to create hygiene products that are good for the body, environment, and community.

To join our team, see our job openings on the Careers page.

How did the story begin?

Saathi began in 2015, when its four co-founders, Kristin Kagetsu, Tarun Bothra, Amrita Saigal, and Grace Kane - graduates of MIT, Harvard and Nirma University - came together on a mission to create fully eco-friendly, compostable sanitary napkins using locally sourced banana fiber from the state of Gujarat, where Saathi is based. We were inspired by the idea of improving women's access to sanitary pads in India. Kristin was passionate about making a product that is sustainable using natural materials and impacts women. She had previously commercialized and launched sustainable natural-dye crayons made by local artisans in Uttarakhand, India. Tarun brought his business experience in renewable energy, materials and passion for improving the lives of the masses to setting up this new social venture. Tarun also had personal experiences with a family member who was affected by having to face the taboos around menstrual hygiene in India. Grace and Amrita were also passionate about sustainable product design and innovation as well as impacting women. We found a way to source natural eco-friendly materials for sanitary pads to make a product that not only positively impacted women but was also good for the environment. We were motivated by the potential to make a positive difference for women in India while using an engineering approach focused on ecology and sustainability. Together we combined our experiences to conceive and develop a biodegradable and compostable sanitary pad with a cradle to cradle (completely sustainable) business model which also embodies circular economy. Our team has business, technical, and local expertise to develop new products and set up manufacturing. We aim to apply this to other absorbent products.

Why biodegradable pads?

Saathi pads are Biodegradable & Compostable, using plant-based materials for the leak-proof outer layers of the napkin. Many consumers have issues with irritation or rashes from the plastics/chemicals in standard pads. The average conventional sanitary pad contains 3.4g of plastic. This means that over her lifetime, the average woman will generate 23kg of plastic from sanitary pads alone. In 2016, there were 150,000 tons of sanitary pad waste in India. When disposed of, Saathi pads degrade within six months - 1200 times faster than plastic pads! Since Saathi pads don’t contain chemicals, they provide a rash and irritation free experience.

How does banana fibre compare to other natural fibres?

Saathi pads are made with banana fibre because of its highly absorbent properties, and the environmental and social benefits of its supply chain. Banana fibre comes from the stem of the banana tree, which after harvesting is normally discarded. Saathi instead buys the stems from collectives of local farmers. After we extract the fibre, the residue left over can be fermented and used by farmers as an organic fertilizer. Most plastic sanitary pads use chlorine-bleached wood pulp as an absorbent, while most other eco-friendly pads use cotton. Banana fibre uses six times less water per ton produced than cotton, and 10 times less fertilizers. Most importantly, since bananas are an existing food crop, no extra land is being taken up by the production of this fibre. There are already 9 million hectares dedicated to banana farming worldwide. By trailblazing the use of banana fibre as a consumer product raw material, Saathi hopes to champion its expanded use.

 

                             

 

Awards & Recognition

Saathi has been frequently recognized as one of the most innovative and sustainable initiative. We have been winners in many competitions. We take pride in our acheivements and here is a glimpse of some of our top recognitions.

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Saathi listed as 3rd Most Innovative Company in India

For transforming banana fibers into biodegradable sanitary pads, Fast Company named Saathi as the 3rd Most Innovative Company in India. Check the full list here.

Saathi wins Jury's Special Award at Aarohan Social Innovation Awards

Hosted by Infosys Foundation, the philanthropic and CSR arm of Infosys recognized Saathi for developing unique solutions for the social sector that have the potential through Aarohan award.

Saathi wins 2019 St Andrews Prize for the Environment

The prize of US$100,000 was presented to Kristin Kagetsu from Saathi at a ceremony on 21 February 2019. It recognises significant contributions to environmental issues and concerns with a focus on sustainability, conservation, biodiversity and community development.

Saathi wins 3M-CII’s ‘Young Innovators Challenge Award 2016’

Kristin Kagetsu from Saathi was felicitated with the award under the social category at the India Innovation Summit 2016, organized by CII on July 28, 2016 in Bangalore. Check the full list of winners here.

Saathi named Grand Winner at Asia Social Innovations Award 2017

Asia Social Innovation Award (ASIA) is the first Region-wide Social Start-up Competition to promote the culture of social innovation and encourage the exchange of ideas among Asian cities.

Saathi is one of the top 18 finalist at Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards.

The Cartier Women's Initiative is an annual international business competition to identify, support and encourage projects by women entrepreneurs. Saathi was Asia-Pacific finalists and joined 16 finalists from around the world at Singapore in awards week programme.