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HariBol is business with a purpose

17 June, 2024, 12:00 662 Views 0 Comment

Under the leadership of Yachneet Pushkarna, HariBol Foods formerly known as Hari HariBol Dairy Pvt Ltd has emerged as a pioneer in blending traditional values with modern business practices. In this conversation, Pushkarna shares the foundational inspirations behind HariBol, the core values driving their operations, and how they incorporate sustainability, innovation, and ethical practices into their business model. He also sheds light on HariBol’s unique philosophy, their strategic sourcing practices, and the significant impact of bilateral trade between India and Sri Lanka on their operations.

Can you tell us about the initial inspiration behind HariBol? What motivated you to start this journey?

HariBol is inspired by the late Dr. N.D. Desai’s vision of ‘Bhakti Yoga in Business,’ which means business with a purpose. This purpose extends beyond merely achieving financial success; it focuses on developing social and human capital. While the essential duty of any business is to make a profit, at HariBol, we reinvest our profits back into society. This approach transforms us into a genuinely purpose-driven enterprise. The book Bhakti Yoga in Business serves as my guiding inspiration.

HariBol has a unique philosophy of blending faith with business. Can you share the core values that drive this philosophy and how they influence your company’s operations?

Our operations are guided by the core values of dharma (duty), seva (service), and ahimsa (non-violence), which are fundamental principles in Hinduism. We are committed to our duty to both our customers, who trust us, and our farmers, who rely on us for their livelihood. These two pillars shape our short-term and long-term strategies. To give you a preview, we are the first in the world to use AI technology in dairy to focus on consumers and ensure animal welfare (ahimsa), thereby fulfilling our dharma.

Sustainability and ethical practices are becoming increasingly important in the food industry. How does HariBol incorporate these elements into its business model?

To uphold ethical practices, our cruelty-free dairy model utilizes transparent AI-tagging of cows, ensuring their well-being. In our non-dairy operations, we implement real-time monitoring of crops to maintain organic standards. These initiatives not only reduce environmental impact and support animal welfare but also provide consumers with transparency in their food choices. Furthermore, we prioritize local sourcing and support rural farmers, thereby promoting socioeconomic development and sustainability.

Innovation is key to staying competitive in the food industry. What are some of the innovative products or processes HariBol has introduced recently?

Recent headlines have highlighted troubling issues in FMCG and baby food organizations. From our inception, we understood that having a purpose beyond mere wealth accumulation would guide our product and market development decisions, giving us a competitive edge in the industry.

HariBol has introduced several innovative processes in both the dairy and non-dairy sectors. For instance, in dairy, we utilize AI-tagging and IoT-based monitoring systems to ensure cruelty-free practices and optimal cow health. This not only benefits the end consumer but also fosters trust and an emotional bond between our customers and the source of their milk, which is vital in an aggregation business like ours. We are proud to be industry pioneers in this approach.

What are the most critical factors key to you while sourcing raw materials?

When sourcing raw materials, we prioritise three crucial pillars:

1. Sustainability: It is our duty to maintain a balance with the earth. If we take too much without giving back, we disrupt this balance.

2. Ethical Practices: Ensuring that all stakeholders benefit is essential to avoid creating a human capital imbalance. This is a key pillar of HariBol and reflects our commitment to service.

3. Quality and Social Impact: The overall quality of our operating ecosystem is vital. For instance, in the dairy sector, ensuring cows are not slaughtered after milking upholds our principle of non-violence and maintains social harmony. Similarly, procuring spices in a way that preserves nature aligns with our commitment to non-violence and prevents ecological imbalance.

How does bilateral trade between India and Sri Lanka affect HariBol?

Our two nations have always been like two bodies with one soul. Centuries of people-to-people interactions have bound us together long before trade barriers, visas, and modern governments existed. We are united for eternity by the teachings of Lord Gautama Buddha.

In terms of modern-day bilateral trade, the Government of India, under the leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Modi, and the Government of Sri Lanka, under the leadership of Hon’ble President Wickremesinghe, have taken significant steps to enhance this relationship. The implementation of Indian rupee trade and the lowering of trade barriers are bringing our bilateral trade to new heights, encouraging us to actively participate in this thriving ecosystem.

Like India, Sri Lanka is home to native Ceylon spices and Ceylon tea. Is there an interest for HariBol in the procurement of these goods?

Absolutely, Ceylon spices and tea have gained global recognition for their unique flavors, and they are highly appreciated by culinary experts worldwide. These high-quality ingredients align perfectly with our commitment to ethical sourcing and sustainability. Additionally, Sri Lanka’s dedication to carbon-neutral and sustainable agricultural practices makes it an ideal sourcing hub for us.

Which are the most important markets for HariBol for the next 5 years?

Our 5-year vision for 2030 places India & the sub-continent, as well as the United States, at the forefront of our sourcing and market development efforts. With over 800 temples and centres worldwide, ISKCON remains a pivotal strategic partner for us. We also prioritise engagement with key retail chains that share our commitment to sustainability and eco-conscious practices, ensuring alignment with both customer preferences and partner values.

What strategy are you using to beat the market volatility for procurement of raw materials?

To mitigate market volatility, we establish long-term partnerships with our suppliers and invest in local cooperatives. AI and data analytics help us forecast trends and manage inventory. By supporting local farmers and integrating technology, we ensure a stable supply of high-quality raw materials, reducing volatility impacts.

How vital a role has the Sri Lankan consulate in India been for you and Indian businesses in general?

Embassies and consulates play a crucial role in bridging gaps between host countries and their home bases. In our case, this role was particularly vital due to the importance of local knowledge. While the longstanding partnership between Sri Lanka and India has its benefits, familiarity can sometimes lead to overconfidence. Therefore, accurate knowledge is essential, as trial and error can be time-consuming. The consulate in Mumbai organised focused meetings for us, both locally and with various ministries in Colombo. This support enabled us to make prompt decisions and align with partners who share our three core principles.

Kanchi Batra
Kanchi Batra is the Managing Editor of The Diplomatist.
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