Karachi-based AGI Denim is the first company in Pakistan to earn B Corp certified status.
The B Corp certification addresses the entirety of a company’s operations and covers the five key impact areas of governance, workers, community, environment and customers. Applicants must reach a benchmark score of over 80 while providing evidence of socially and environmentally responsible practices relating to energy supplies, waste and water use, worker compensation, diversity, and corporate transparency.
AGI scored a 91.4 overall B Impact score.
The vertical denim manufacturer began the certification process in 2019, preparing for and answering 200 questions about its operation. Ahmed Javed, AGI Denim executive director, said the certification process required the company to make a few changes to lower its environmental and social impact. It also pushed the company to introduce policies that put people, communities and plant at the heart of every decision it makes.
“For the last couple of years, AGI has worked towards aligning its vision and strategies to become better with every passing day and achieve something that would make it stand out from the rest. We studied companies like Patagonia and Athleta that have changed the way they work to create a positive impact in their respective fields,” he said.
One common denominator in such aspirational companies was B Corp. The more AGI researched, the more it found that its vision aligned with the certification.
“We have always worked hard to become a part of something greater than ourselves. Denim can become a force for good even though it didn’t start that way,” Javed said. “Through B Corp, we now have the opportunity to shed a different light on how the world views denim.”
AGI said it considers success to “revolve around the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profit.” The company reasserted its commitment to its people by providing free healthcare, interest-free microfinancing, and a safe workplace for differently abled individuals and minorities, which creates an inclusive environment encouraging training and growth.
By integrating automation into the supply chain, AGI Denim has managed to curb waste by increasing its focus on circularity. Its water recycling plant, industrial park, and the first LEED-certified spinning mill in the country, coupled with new innovative, responsible collections help keep AGI Denim at the forefront of sustainability.
These investments are evident in the mill’s collections. AGI Denim’s Fall/Winter 23-24 collection includes Kaleido, a range of fabrics dyed and washed with recycled water. Inhale, features eight denim garments made with fabrics that explore circular design and different solutions for reducing microfiber pollution.
The company has also been working on making its business a force for good through regenerative strategies. AGI has “adopted “two schools from The Citizen’s Foundation, from which 400 children graduate annually and plants mangroves to help regulate and combat climate change.
The certification is a big win for Pakistan’s business sector as well. “We feel extremely honored to be the first in Pakistan to lead the way to do good for the business, people, and environment,” Javed said. “We have set the standards high for others to think beyond combine, to think about the environment, good governance, and our society. Yet at the same time it carries a lot of weight and responsibility to stay ahead of the curve.”
Though Javed said the certification’s challenging criteria requires commitment, capital investment, “a rigorous study of your documentation and meticulous attention to detail,” AGI believes it’s a necessary step forward. “We encourage more companies in the textile industry to work towards it as our industry problems can only be solved collectively,” he said.
AGI joins a growing number of B Corp certified companies in the denim industry including Saitex, Good American, Unspun and Outland Denim. Recent attention on the denim industry makes AGI Denim’s B Corp certification a notable step and signals a shift towards greater accountability and transparency in the sector.
“We are pleased to have B Corps of all shapes and sizes as part of our community—from startups to multinationals and across many different industries. Business is a powerful force and B Corps demonstrate that you can do good in any sector,” said Chris Turner, B Corp executive director. “Welcoming AGI Denim is an exciting moment because they have an opportunity to lead the way within the denim industry. We and the rest of the B Corp community are really pleased to support AGI Denim in paving the way for a new way of doing things.”