Arvind Limited, a part of the $1.7 billion Lalbhai Group was incorporated in 1931 and is in the businesses of Textiles – fabric & garment manufacturing, Branded apparel & Retail, Environment Solutions, Agriculture, Engineering and Real Estate. Established in 2011, Envisol was incorporated to provide niche environment solutions. Arvind Envisol has witnessed a strong pull from Indian and international market over the last few years. AEL is a world class water management company providing end-to-end solutions for water treatment, industrial wastewater treatment, sewage treatment, desalination and Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) solutions at minimal costs.
Envisol’s smart decentralised wastewater recycling solutions are second to none. In addition, they have flue gas desulphurisation and many wastes to wealth solutions in offering. AEL is uniquely established as a comprehensive environment solution providing company. Envisol also offers very smart decentralised wastewater recycling solution at a low capital and operating cost, low/no space requirement, low gestation period and so on. To know more about their projects and future plans, we interviewed the man behind founding Envisol – Mr Dinesh Yadav, CEO and Director for a better insight.
The name Arvind mostly reminds all about Arvind Mills, what was the inspiration to come with Arvind Envisol?
Lalbhai group have a diversified business portfolio. Most of these businesses were initiated to solve the critical issues that our society was facing from time to time. Beginning with our core textile business to contribute to the drive by Mahatma Gandhiji to eliminate import of clothes. In current times, Environment being the severe challenge faced by our society, Envisol was formed to provide environment solutions. Water being the priority issue we began with that and now we are on to address and contribute to solve the solid waste and air pollution problems also.
The company has implemented 150-plus projects in India in the industrial wastewater treatment space and partnered with some brands too, so how about considering government projects?
We never say never. We do government projects selectively because these projects are very typical in nature and have good opportunities and challenges as well. It has a lot of civil work content which is a challenge. In addition, the professional working environment is a must for both us to succeed in project work so we are selective in doing the projects. In fact, our more than 40 MLD projects in Ethiopia is with the government also many in India.
You recently signed joint ventures with Chines and Bangladeshi companies, can you elaborate on your expansion plans in these countries?
We have a set of niche technologies in our basket. In addition, we have excellent design and innovation brains in our team. This gives us edge over our competitors. In our international competition we have come out as a winner over global water management companies due to these differentiators. We want to become prominent global players not only for water, but also for solid waste and air control technology providers. China and Bangladesh is the beginning in this direction.
Arvind Envisol has executed several industrial wastewater treatment projects in textiles, leather, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and food and beverages sectors. Which project according to you was a landmark project and which was the most challenging?
We treat every project as a new challenge and we work to win the same as we shall do in each cricket match! You always have some or other challenge in each project because the effluent of each project is different and we need to provide customised solution.
However, the most challenging was the Zero Liquid Discharge project at Hawassa Industrial park –Ethiopia. We had many challenges in the project. Size and complexity of the project in many ways! Won in a very hard way to sell the ZLD concept in Ethiopia. Showing them installation we had in Ethiopia and in India to make them believe! International competition, Chinese civil contractors with whom we competed to show who the better EPC performer was and so on. With all the challenges we completed the project before time and won the award from the prime minister of Ethiopia as best EPC Company.
Moreover, many stake holders did not believe that the true zero liquid discharge is possible in such a complex common ETP and many raised doubt that on the operating cost we committed. It’s more than three years now, we have been operating the plant and have trained the local people. We have demonstrated every commitment we gave. The project was completed on time and within the cost, ZLD performance demonstrated for years and the costs were well within our commitment.
I would like to put on record here that the IPDC leadership and personnel at all levels had been of great support and demonstrated complete professionalism and contributed to our success as a big catalyst. They do deserve a great amount of credit for this flagship project of the country.
We at Envisol cherish the success of this project even today as if it was done yesterday!
Which project is the closest to you and why?
I think each one of them. How can you disregard few steps of ladder one has climbed to top with? Every project had been a new challenge and opportunity. Even the partnerships we created are each one a project. Partnerships are also formed with a lot of intellectual as well as interpersonal relationships and networking. These are no easy to form. We cherish the fantastic journey we had. Every element there has its own value.
If I have to list them, it will be long, but broadly MVR, RO Membranes and MBR partnerships. Hawassa Industrial Park, Sterling tools Limited and Detox-Veolia India projects...
After China and Bangladesh which is the next continent you plan to have a foot hold on?
We already are in a big way in Ethiopia, we have partners in Germany, Hungary and so on… Africa continent and some of Asian countries are on our immediate list. The ZLD concept is not yet very popular in Europe, but it’s only a question of time that it can happen all over, looking at the water scarcity challenge we see everywhere. Even our packaged STP have found place in Bhutan and Malaysia now.
Typically, the Chinese approach India to come and do business here, so what made Arvind Envisol to do a business venture there?
I always say why we need to import. We have everything to give to the world. Specially technology solutions! China is a bigger market than India and we need to capture the same instead of otherwise. They had been observing our success in Hawassa as they were also one of the stake holders. Moreover, in China water treatment/recycling is a huge opportunity. We could create the confidence and build the relationship at Hawassa project and that led to an interest and invitation from there and we happily created the partnership.
The annual turnover of the firm is about ₹425 crore, so how do you see the company gaining in the next five years?
I always say balance sheet nos. are the by-product of our mission to “Save Water”. We take immense pride for cleaning the water and reusing it and thereby reducing the consumption of fresh water. Instead of asking what more business and projects, we ask how much more water we are going to recycle and reuse? Our mission is to contribute to the maximum, on global need of zero liquid discharge. Definitely there is a huge potential and the numbers are expected to be automatically growing in leaps and bounds in the coming years.
What kind of challenges Indian companies have to deal with in the water and wastewater treatment industry?
Among many I would like to highlight one broader issue. Yet a large portion of business goes to the infrastructure players or the civil contractors. Water is thirsty for technology. Its technology driven efforts which can make the difference. Be it machine cost, space requirement, quality of water, solids generated and so on. However, there is limited space for technology companies to play directly in mega projects. They get the sub contract with capped price which is not justified. Water needs to be given in the hands of water technology experts. The planet and the environment cause are at the loosing ends due to this. The stake holder are needed to understand this and make the desired change to allow the technologies to come in to deliver the desired results. Else due to this issue we all are seeing the status of the Sewage treatment plants in the country.
Can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
There are many niche projects on hand. While Covid situation has put us on a back seat for a while now, we have a good pipe line of interesting mega projects coming up in India and abroad. Other than those, we have a repeat order from His Majesty, The King of Bhutan. This is for packaged STP, which is our outstanding solution for decentralised sewage treatment and recycling. We just completed the project in Malaysia for PSTP.
We have Bio Gas plants coming up in Chhattisgarh and Tripura. These are under Swachh Bharat mission program. We are initiating the plastic recycling and so on. The upcoming time is quite exciting for us.
Due to the global pandemic of COVID 19, many companies and industries are adopting various strategies of business and opted the ‘new normal’, what do you have to say about this?
New normal is obvious. Many things have changed. We too have adopted to the changed reality with many new ways. One big thing is we have remote controlled and completed the project in Malaysia and many in India. The personal meets have been replaced by virtual, be it customer, project implementation or our vendors and technology exploration platforms!
Insistence on travel and personal meet have dramatically reduced without significant impact. However, project opportunities abroad are definitely the worst hit and we need to find the solution for the same.
Lastly your message to the water and wastewater treatment professionals.
I always say we are all players in this field and are playing a historical role by providing the solutions to save water. Each of your projects are like temples to be worshipped. This is a society’s big problem and concern and let us all give our best to deliver good solutions. It’s a work of immense pride that we all are really fortunate to be in this field.