Factory Spotlight: Shahi

Sarla Ahuja embarked on her journey into the world of apparel as a sewing machine operator. From these humble origins she founded Shahi in 1974, which has since grown to become India’s largest apparel manufacturer and exporter.

Like SanMar, Shahi is a family-owned business. They employ over 100,000 people across nine states in India, with more than two-thirds of their employees being women. The five pillars of their Sustainability strategy represent many of the reasons that SanMar is proud to work with them as our partner in India.

Environmental Sustainability

Shahi in Shimoga

Shahi is working toward a goal of 100% renewable electiricty sources across all of their facilities, with 77% of their electricity already carbon-neutral through solar, wind and steam turbine technology.

They have also committed to a science-based target for carbon emissions, pledging to reduce 25% of their Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 2025.

Finally, a significant portion of the cotton that Shahi sources is certified by either the Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS) or Better Cotton Initiative (BCI).

Women’s Advancement


Shahi supports women by helping theim reach their potential both professionally and personally. They organize discussions focused on women’s health and well-being, and they offer training through the Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement (PACE) program, which provides skill-building opportunities for women in rural areas and give them jobs in their factories.

More than 31,000 women have been trained through the PACE program so far, with a target to add another 10,000 by 2022.

Skills and Training

Shahi builds critical technical and soft skills both within their factories and at rural training centers. Their skill center in Bihar offers a 45-day training program for up to 60 candidates at a time. They teach sewing machine operations on the latest industrial machines. Trained candidates are offered guaranteed placements in Shahi factories.

Health and Well-Being

Shahi factory worker

Shahi raises awareness of the prevalent health issues among their workers and the local communities, with the goal of tackling and ultimately preventing these issues. They continue to take strict precautions against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and provide emplyees with medical resources whenever possible.

Protecting Human Rights

Shahi supports human rights through awareness programs and a robust system to address grievances in the workplace. At their New Migration Support Center in Karnataka, they also support migrant workers with psychological, social, and informational services to help them settle in new urban environments.

Since 2007, the Good Business Lab (GBL) implemented in Shahi factories seeks to prove that improved social well-being for workers delivers measurable financial gains to businesses. By unlocking the female workforce, closing skill gaps and raising overall job quality, the GBL creates shared solutions which benefit both workers and businesses alike.

SanMar strives to make a difference in the work we do locally and globally. Shahi shares these values by working responsibly and by respecting their workers, their local communities and the environment. We are proud to work with Shahi as a supplier and partner to SanMar.