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  Aalami Sahara Rashtriya Sahara Roznama Sahara
Life & Pursuits: Natural & Toxic-free Life
Harsh Ranjan
Last Updated : 05 Jul 2017 05:19:16 PM IST
Life & Pursuits: Natural & Toxic-free Life
(file photo)

 

Offering organic and toxin-free personal care products online, Mudit Consul wants to increase awareness about the negative impact of harmful chemicals in our lives. Excerpts of a conversation with Harsh Ranjan:

Please tell us about Life & Pursuits?

Life & Pursuits is our social mission towards creating a natural, safer and toxin-free world for everyone. As a purpose-driven organization, we proudly call ourselves People against Toxins TM and have recently launched India’s first ‘certified’ organic (USDA – USA and NATRUE – Europe Union standards) range of baby and family care products. Our not-for-profit organization, the Life & Pursuits Foundation is actively involved in educating parents about hazardous and toxic chemicals in our lives (food, air, water, personal care products, toys, etc.) so that they can make well-informed and healthy choices about their lifestyle. In addition, we also create awareness against false / misleading claims made by product companies for their ulterior motives through our CAMPAIGN SAFE CHILDHOOD.

 

We’ve originated because of a purpose and our brand-name signifies this ethos.

 

What inspired you to start Life & Pursuits? What was the trigger point?

We live in a world where irresponsible human activities have harmed nature to dangerous levels and we’re now increasingly exposed to all kinds of health risks. The extent to which our children are exposed to toxic chemicals today is unprecedented in human history. Not surprisingly, there is an explosive growth in the cases of cancer, asthma, hormonal disorders, allergies etc., even among babies and young children. Continuous abuse of nature has come back to haunt humankind. Life & Pursuits is our humble effort to change this grim situation.

 

The unfortunate fact that India is now the cancer capital of the world acted as a trigger for me a few years ago to work towards providing safe & toxin-free products to people here.

 

Please tell us about your professional background.

I’m an alumnus of Harvard Business School (GMP) and Indian Institute of Management Indore (MBA). I’ve worked with several leading multinational companies in the past but always felt that my true calling lied in doing something truly meaningful for the society. I’m really happy to have started this social entrepreneurship mission.

 

Your wife has also been involved actively in the Life & Pursuits journey. What has been her role in it?

My wife, Aditi has always been very passionate about the organic / natural lifestyle and was instrumental in giving shape to the idea of Life & Pursuits. She leads our product development effort, HR as well as the social activities of Life & Pursuits Foundation. Being a mother, she is best suited to provide insights about products, their effectiveness and preferences of mothers & children. Her past corporate experience as an HR Manager with a leading software firm enables her in providing effective HR leadership to the organisation.

 

Please share more about your team.  

Manshu Aneja, an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati is the co-founder of Life & Pursuits. He leads our operations and online initiatives and has been involved in this mission from the conceptualisation stage itself.

 

What are the objectives pursued by Life & Pursuits and how are they fulfilled through the products?

The vision of Life & Pursuits is to promote health, happiness and harmony in the world. We do this through our initiatives as well as products.

In today’s world, where most companies blatantly indulge in ‘green-washing’ (wrongly projecting an image of being green) and unethically claim to be ‘organic’ or ‘natural’, we’re proud to introduce products in India that are genuinely certified by the top international agencies.

Our commitment towards a safe & toxin-free world goes beyond our products and we do a lot of educational and awareness activities through our site www.SafeChild.Care

 

What is the USP of your products and how are the different from others? Please give examples.

Our products are based on the proven wellness science of Ayurveda and are also duly certified by the top global organic agencies. Thus, we’ve integrated the ancient wisdom of Indian Ayurveda with the most modern & scientific quality standards of the West.

During product development stage, we extensively tested our products in the USA and Germany against their top organic brands and we’re proud to say that our products are better in therapeutic effects as use a lot of certified organic Ayurveda herbs.

The key features of our products are:

·     We disclose each & every ingredient on our label. We don’t hide any ingredient behind terms such as ‘q.s.’, ‘base’ or ‘excipients’.

 

·      We pick only safe & toxin-free ingredients with proven safety record. For this, we refer the most reputed international ingredient safety databases

 

·    We commit to provide the same product to Indian consumers what we’ll export to the most advanced countries of the world (such as Germany and the USA). Most companies offer different qualities of products depending upon the country

 

·       We have tied up with certified organic farming communities in the Himalayas and North East India for sourcing high quality therapeutic herbs and oils

In addition, our products spread goodness as we’ve committed 10% of our profits to child safety and community welfare causes.

 

What is your current range of your products and what else are in pipeline?

Our baby range includes certified organic massage oil, body-wash, body lotion, diaper rash cream, cough & cold balm etc. The family range includes certified organic hair oil, body-wash, body lotions, creams, and foot-care balm etc. We plan to launch more products such as hair-wash, lip balms etc. soon.

 

How do you distribute / sell your products?

‘Life & Pursuits’ products are consciously sold through a network of direct sellers, called ‘associates’ by the organization, rather than the conventional model of distributors and retailers. We want to create a community of like-minded people & parents, and have therefore chosen the direct selling model rather than putting our products in malls and shops.

Our products are also available online on our website www.LifeAndPursuits.com

 

How do you ensure that the ingredients used for manufacture are safe, genuine, toxic-free and organic? Do give examples.

As the producer of certified organic end product, we can use only certified organic and approved ingredients. Going further, we source our ingredients only from the Himalayan region rather than states/regions where farmers are heavily dependent on chemical fertilizers and pesticides. As our suppliers also have to be certified according to the USDA Organic standards, they have to necessarily take required precautions at all stages of the production to ensure organic integrity of the raw material. Our international organic certifications ensure that we have to continuously undergo product & process checks / audits. This ensures that there is no possibility of toxins and harmful chemicals getting into our products.

Then, we conduct extensive lab tests of our ingredients to check for traces of any toxins, harmful chemicals and heavy metals.

The fact that we’ve tied up with certified organic farming communities in the Himalayan region and North East India ensures that we get a steady supply of the purest ingredients.

 

Providing organic products with pure ingredients will raise their cost making it out of reach for common people. Please comment.  How are the prices of your products vis-à-vis other products?

While our products come at a little higher price compared to chemical based products, the latter do a lot of harm to our health and actually cost us much more in the long run.

We want to maximise our reach to as many people as possible and have consciously kept our products very reasonably priced. Our products typically cost between Rs. 350-500 for our associates, which is quite comparable to many conventional, synthetic brands. Many so-called luxury brands offering harmful, synthetic products cost much more.

 

Tell us about the community welfare activities Life & Pursuit is committed to and how do you implement them

As a force for good, we’ve committed 10% of our profits to child safety and community welfare. We organise awareness camps for parents to educate them about hazardous and toxic chemicals in our lives. We also work directly with several certified organic farming communities and take care of their needs such as education and healthcare.

 

Given our huge population is it possible to have organic and toxic free products and lifestyle. Please elaborate with examples

As a matter of fact, humans have always lived in harmony with their environment for the most part of their existence. It’s only in the past 50 years that a lot of damage has been done to nature. It’s not a coincidence that many new lifestyle diseases and health problems have exploded in this duration. Many hilly states of India such as Sikkim and Uttarakhand are now leading India’s effort to go organic. People there understand the disastrous consequences of going against the nature much more.

A complete overhaul is not possible overnight. We have to gradually reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals and go natural. In metros, people are increasingly sourcing vegetables and fruits from local weekly organic markets. Some enthusiasts are also going for organic terrace farming to grow their own organic vegetables. Instead of machines, we should use indoor plants that are known to reduce toxicity from air. Adopting a sustainable, responsible lifestyle and going back to nature is the answer to a lot of modern-day problems.

Tell us about educating people and creating awareness among people.

Unless people, especially parents, are educated about the ill effects of various harmful chemicals and toxins in our lives (air, water) and everyday products (food, toys, personal care, plastic, etc.), they won’t be in a position to demand healthier alternatives from the Government and corporate companies.

Our first focus is to educate people on activities that are easier to do for any layman, like reading labels of the everyday use products and checking safety record of ingredients online. In many cases, consumers won’t even find complete ingredients list. Companies use terms like ‘base’, ‘excipients’, ‘key ingredients’, etc. to hide synthetic chemicals that they use in their so-called herbal products.

We often ignore safety of chemicals and synthetic colors used in product packaging. We are developing multimedia presentations on various aspects of product safety like common toxic ingredients, synthetic fragrance/flavors, plastic packaging grades, etc. We plan to use digital and social media to spread this awareness. We hope parents will share these presentations and will take initiatives to reduce their family and friends’ exposure to toxins.

How are you trying to influence Government to improve the laws and their implementation?

We believe that consumer awareness is the best way to nudge Governments for more effective actions. We plan to use petitions as an effective tool to get government attention towards misusage of terms like organic, natural, herbals, etc. Second, we want them to make complete disclosure of all ingredients mandatory for all products, as is the norm in the USA and EU.

 

We’re happy that FSSAI has started developing guidelines and standards for packed organic food products. We urge the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Central Drugs Standard Control Organization and Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India to make tougher safety standards and better disclosure provisions in the governing laws so that companies cannot find loopholes in the law and practice total transparency to safeguard consumers.

 

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