Chilasa Invests in Indian green building products manufacturer Ecoway Bricks
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Chennai and Geneva. – 27 May 2014: Chilasa Venture Philanthropy, a pioneer in small enterprise growth in poor communities, today announced a new investment to support the expansion of Ecoway Bricks PVT LTD, a manufacturer of environmental building products made from rice husk ash.
India is the world’s second largest producer of bricks after China, employing an estimated 10 million brick workers. The conventional burnt clay brick industry faces severe challenges due to slave labour practices, acute environmental pollution, and outdated production methods.
Ecoway was established in 2013 to expand the production of bricks and building products made with recycled material from modern rice mills. The founder G. Gopalakrishnan, developed the original brick product in 2007 while working with women’s self help groups to find solutions to environmental pollution affecting their communities. After successful product testing, supported by The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM), Gopalakrishnan set-up a manufacturing unit in his home district of Kanchepurram, Tamil Nadu, to supply the local construction market with quality bricks made from rice husk ash.
Rice husk ash is a waste product resulting from the processing of paddy by modern rice mills. Approximately 20 million tonnes of rice husk ash is produced annually in India, much of which is indiscriminately dumped polluting water sources, wastelands, and agricultural land. In addition to the environmental benefits, Ecoway bricks are stronger, lighter, and are more durable than conventional burnt clay bricks.