Indian Start-Up Creates Vegan Leather from Flowers

Category : Business

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. discard / dɪˈskɑrd / (v) – to get rid of something because it is not wanted or needed anymore

    The trash bin is full of discarded newspapers and food containers.

  2. upcycle / ˈʌpˌsaɪ kəl / (v) – to make something better or of higher quality from objects considered to be trash

    The company upcycles old clothes into bags.

  3. viable / ˈvaɪ ə bəl / (adj) – capable of working well and succeeding

    To convince your boss, you have to show him that your plan is viable.

  4. aspiring / əˈspaɪər ɪŋ / (adj) – aiming to achieve something, usually a career

    A lot of aspiring musicians try to get into that popular music school.

  5. angel investor / ˈeɪn dʒəl ɪnˈvɛst ər / (n) – a person or group who provides financial support for new businesses

    The new start-up has an interesting product, so it gained a lot of angel investors.


Read the text below.

Indian start-up has found a way to turn discarded temple flowers into vegan leather called “fleather.”

Three years ago, the start-up was founded by Ankit Agarwal and Prateek Kumar to address the large amount of floral waste being dumped into the Ganges River. upcycles nearly 8,000 kilograms of discarded flowers daily, turning them into charcoal-free incense sticks, organic compost, and biodegradable packaging materials.

The company supports around 1,200 rural families by providing a livelihood for local women. Their employees are entitled to health insurance and other employment benefits.

According to Agarwal, first explored the development of an alternative leather material last year. He said that the company’s R&D team got the idea for fleather when they noticed a white layer similar to leather forming on flower waste. Upon inspection, the team found that a microorganism using the petals as a food source is causing the formation of the white material.

The team also discovered that fleather contains a kind of protein similar to animal leather’s collagen, which gives it strength and durability. He added that like traditional animal leather, fleather is elastic and not prone to breakage, making it a viable and even possibly superior alternative.

Last February, was awarded the “Best Innovation in Vegan Fashion” title for fleather at the Circular Design Challenge, where aspiring designers and entrepreneurs are recognized for their innovative and sustainable ideas for fashion. Fleather also caught the interest of a famous Indian designer, who expressed that she wants to work with the new material.

Apart from awards and recognition, the start-up also recently secured a $1.4 million investment through the help of an angel investor and a charitable organization. will use the money to expand its operations and advance its research.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• What’s a common type of waste that could be used for an upcycling business in your country (e.g. electronic waste, paper waste)? Discuss.
• If you had the chance, would you be interested in investing in a start-up like Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Do you think it’s a good business move to create products using upcycled materials? Why or why not?
• If you were to start a similar business, what product would you create from upcycled materials (e.g. clothes made of excess fabric, furniture made of unused wood)? Why?

Category : Business