Investment for development: The UK’s strategy towards Development Finance Institutions - written evidence


Company Summary: Ecom Express Limited, India

Investment: Investee of British International Investment since December 2019




About Ecom Express

Engagement with British International Investment (BII)

Diversity & Inclusion (D&I)

Gender sensitisation and awareness initiatives

Career accelerators for women

Upskilling and training

D&I friendly and immersive infrastructure

Environment, Health & Safety (including COVID care)

COVID care

Go Green initiatives

GHG emissions monitoring

Safety culture – building a safer workplace

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives




About Ecom Express

Ecom Express Limited is one of India’s leading end-to-end technology enabled logistics solutions providers to the Indian e-commerce industry. Headquartered in Gurugram (NCR), Ecom Express was incorporated in 2012 by T. A. Krishnan, Manju Dhawan, K. Satyanarayana, and Late Sanjeev Saxena with their 100+ years of cumulative experience in the Indian logistics and distribution industry. Ecom Express has PAN India presence with full state coverage in 25 states and operates across 27,000+ PIN codes in India. Through its deep reach strategy, the company has the capability to reach over 95% of India’s population with a strong workforce of 50,000+ employees and associates.


Engagement with British International Investment (BII)

British International Investment (Development Finance Institute) invested nearly $ 54Mn[1] in Ecom Express since December 2019. The partnership has led to significant gains for the company, community and ecosystems that are associated with Ecom Express, not just in terms of massive build-up to 2–2.5 times in terms of volumes and revenues since 2019 but also in terms of employment generation, community support and catering to real India. Through the investments, the company has been able to handle demand beyond metro cities to the tune of 90% volumes demand being served by Ecom Express from consumers in non-metro markets. While the scale up has been sustainable for real India consumption story, it has also originated from non-metro locations, i.e., 51% of seller volumes originating with Ecom Express come from small sellers based in non-metro locations. Today, the company serves close to 100K sellers that participate in India’s e-commerce growth trajectory.

In terms of its association with BII, it has been anchored around first principles of regular reporting and strong targets-driven agenda. The engagement is driven via three key aspects:

  1. Operating and social performance: Regular target setting and reviews for business performance, diversity, inclusion, sustainability and community aspects
  2. Structured monthly reviews: Regular structured monthly performance sharing and reviews with the BII team members as follows:
    1. Monthly MIS sharing
    2. Quarterly detailed Board and Committee level updates to the BII team
    3. Regular initiative-led workshops and discussions with the BII team
  3. Best practices sharing: The BII teams keep on engaging with the company on various global and regional best practices to build business performance and social improvement agenda


Diversity & Inclusion (D&I)             

Diversity & Inclusion has always been a conscious focus area for Ecom Express and got even more accentuated after BII invested in the company. At Ecom Express, women comprise of 5.3% of the overall workforce which has risen from less than 2% in 2019. The company has taken numerous initiatives to support women in the industry, such as career acceleration platforms, flexible working hours, conducive work environment and supporting them at all stages. These steps have translated into bringing the industry best-in-class diversity, as against <1% women representation in hard-labour industries in India.

As a company, Ecom Express has made significant progress in creating more opportunities for women across the organization, by encouraging them to assume roles that have long been considered male-dominated. There are all-women delivery centers which are run end-to-end by women, not just in the metro cities that are easier for women mobilisation but also in lower tiered cities to walk the talk, with BII as a strategic partner. These decisions around structured gender diversity have been driven right from the top, e.g. 10% of the management (managerial levels and above) are women, one of the 3 Directors and Co-founders is woman, the Board is comprised of independent Directors with woman representation.


Gender sensitisation and awareness initiatives             

Ecom Express has a strong learning and development culture across Gender Sensitisation and Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) areas to sensitise its people including off-roll and gig workforce associated with it. POSH awareness has been imparted to 83% employees. 87% of women employees including off-roll and gig workforce have been trained in self-defense. Gender Sensitization sessions have been recently started as structured programme, conducted for 38% employees in less than 30 days.


Career accelerators for women

In 2022, the company formally introduced “Career Re-Ignite" program in-line with Equal Employment Opportunities policy. The program is specially designed for women who have been on a career break and want to return to work. In order to ensure their seamless integration into the workforce, it offers certain benefits to make their transition smooth into all roles and layers of the organization. The “HiPo Development Program” for instance aims to promote female associates into supervisory roles across the organisation and equips them to grow in their career with the company.             

There are regular meetings and focused group discussions conducted by the leadership team to understand the sentiments of women employees and the support required for their development and growth in the organisation. During these events the company seeks their feedback in the areas of training, infrastructure and career development. There is a specially designed exit process to capture the sentiments of outgoing employees which acts as a ready reference in further strengthening of the processes on gender sensitization.             


Upskilling and training

Ecom Express aims to create an enabling environment that provides for the all-round development of the individual talent. Besides, it believes in continuous upskilling and training of employees and giving them the freedom to learn and grow.              

There is an ongoing partnership with government agencies to ensure certification of all ground staff in relevant operations. The training and certifications are based on Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDUGKY), Karnataka Skill Development Corporation (KSDC) and Recognition of Prior Learning RPL, an assessment process for evaluating staff’s existing skill sets, knowledge and experience gained either by formal, non-formal or informal learning. Through these programs, the company has helped its staff reach higher levels of competencies identified in the National Skills Qualifications Framework, relevant to the logistics industry.


D&I friendly and immersive infrastructure               

The company’s goal is to increase women workforce at all levels besides associates and has All-women Delivery Centers entirely run by women as Delivery Center Head, Supervisor and Delivery Associates. This is one of the several initiatives introduced by the company to strength its commitment towards the participation of women in the workforce and enable their success in the logistics sector. A Delivery Center in Manipur (North East) is an ideal example. The company chose this location for the Delivery Center situated at Lilasing Khongnangkhong to empower women and gave livelihood to families that were in one of the lowest socially uplifted locations in India. This was enabled by striking a balance between sustainable business and diversity goals as a conscious effort.             

As a practice, the company regularly conducts quarterly audits across facilities to evaluate the physical infrastructure provided to female staff. The audit includes questions on safety and surveillance, security check, transportation services, personal care and hygiene, and training and awareness. These efforts and frameworks have been strengthened in association with BII on a regular basis.             


Environment, Health & Safety (including COVID care)


COVID care

As a people-centric organisation, Ecom Express provided consistent and comprehensive support to all its employees and their families by initiating a large number of measures, projects, and schemes aimed at caring for employees holistically during Covid-19. Many of the efforts have continued beyond the pandemic, and are well capitalised with inputs and monitoring from the BII.


As on organisation, it maintained a close connect with each one of its employees in preventing any relocation/migration challenges which ensured 95+% of the ground staff reporting to the facilities and delivery centres immediately after COVID lockdown, demonstrating their commitment to support business continuity and delivery of essential items to consumers. At that time, several industries registered mass labour exodus from urban centers, however the workflow continuity efforts ensuring health and safety for workers in close coordination with BII were quite impactful to reduce such workforce migration risks for Ecom Express.


In the first covid wave, the company launched ‘Family Connect’, a series of virtual sessions in which co-founders and C-level executives interacted with the family members of employees and extended their support. The company conducted over 300 sessions with senior leaders and directors on COVID care and support enablement.


The company launched Ecom Cares programme in April 2021 to strengthen the organisation’s commitment not just to the impacted employees but to their families as well. Under this program, in an unfortunate event of an employee passing away due to any cause including COVID, Ecom Express provides a wide range of financial and non-financial assistance to the families of the deceased. The Company funds children’s schooling and offers a job to a family member matching her/his qualification and skills. The families of affected employees including the ground workforce have largely benefitted from this programme as part of Company’s Ecom Cares scheme.


During the second covid wave, the company launched ‘Santulan’, an employee wellbeing and assistance program. Through this program, it conducted training sessions on the importance of mental wellbeing and coping with stress. Through this program, the awareness sessions for over 30,000 employees have been conducted so far. During the waves of COVID, the company tied up with third party service providers for employees to have access to medical professionals and get COVID tests, kits and medicines at discounted prices. The programme was designed in association and monitoring of the BII teams, to build a full-fledged Ecom Covid Care portal.


The company also helped employees adopt to new technologies and new ways of working. These initiatives kept it in good stead during the lockdown and enabled it to expand and operate in full swing when the restrictions were lifted. The company bounced back to fully tap the opportunities being afforded by the economic recovery post pandemic, thanks mainly to the unwavering commitment of the entire organisation to organisational values during the pandemic.


Go Green initiatives

The adoption of electric vehicles is a part of Ecom Express’ larger sustainability goals to reduce carbon footprint and continue to be a responsible delivery partner to the e-commerce industry. At large locations, there are 25 electric vehicles in fleet and 165 CNG vehicles for pick-up and local carting. The company has also moved from diesel to CNG trucks in the network operations and inducted around 100 BS-VI (newest emission standards) vehicles in long haul as a step towards lower carbon emission. In last mile centers for deliveries, the company has deployed 90 E-bikes as a pilot to understand its large-scale viability.


GHG emissions monitoring

The company is working towards a climate strategy to achieve target of net zero carbon emission. To achieve this target, it is monitoring its GHG emissions through a focused study. The project of carbon footprint mapping is divided in 2 phases. Phase 1 is GHG accounting which focuses on measuring the carbon emission. Phase 2 is GHG assurance which drives assurance on Green House Gas Statements to disclose emissions transparently. Hence, after this study the company will be able to develop its roadmap of decarbonisation and take steps to improve the overall sustainability performance.


Safety culture – building a safer workplace

Workplace safety is very important to the company, as about 80% of its staff is engaged in operations. The company regularly organises training programs focusing on workplace safety and hygiene including road safety, and hub and warehouse safety in order to nurture a safety culture across the organisation. In 2021 alone, the company conducted 6 unique trainings for all operations staff as part of Environment Health and Safety. Over last two years, all employees underwent at least one of the various training modules, such as COVID precautions and guidelines, Road Safety, Fire Safety, Emergency Response Plan, Occupational Health and Safety Risks, Accident & Incident Reporting Management, Self Defense (imparted to 87% of women), POSH (83% of all employees have been covered) and Gender sensitisation.


The company’s initiatives to drive a “Safety Culture” across the organisation continues to be a key focus area in order to safeguard the physical wellbeing of the employees. Health and Safety professionals within the company conduct quarterly EHS Committee meetings and audits to identify problem areas and derive solutions to mitigate risks to employees thereby assuring safe and secure workplace making each one responsible and championing the cause.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives

In order to improve the livelihood of people, with health and access to education, the company has collaborated with notable charitable trusts and NGOs, such as Habitat of Humanity, READ India and Ekal Vidyalaya and The Servants of the People, for literacy upliftment projects via association with schools in rural and tribal areas. Through these associations, the company has touched upon the lives of 4,235 students living in rural and many tribal areas. The company supports the schools in daily operations including rent, nutrition, teacher salaries, stationery and books, uniforms, maintenance and transportation. The company also works on creating sustainable infrastructure to improve access to renewable energy and water by installing solar panels, incinerator and vending machines.


The company recently received a prominent “The ET Ascent National Award for Excellence in CSR & Sustainability acknowledging its efforts towards CSR initiatives.





















Annexure 1: Total Lives Served


Total #

Total Lives Served (Derived)

Employees (1)



Active Delivery Partners (gig workers) (2)



Vendors (3)



Loaders and Trucking Drivers (4)



Grand Total





1) Total employees excluding delivery partners; assuming 4 members including kids associated with every employee

2) Delivery partners work in flexible manner on per parcel delivery rates with the company; assuming 3 members including kids associated with every employee

3) Active and inactive vendors served till date in FY-23 (till date); assuming 25 members per small / mid-scale scale organization

4) Active loaders and truck drivers associated till January 31st 2023; assuming 4 members including kids associated with every person




Annexure 2: Total Investments and Business Performance since BII investment

Fiscal Year (1)

Revenue Turnover (2)

Volumes (parcels processed) (2)

Capital Deployed (In USD Mn)



























1) Fiscal Year in Indian reporting follows April to March cycle

2) Denominator base Fiscal Year - 2019; * For 9 months from April 2022 to December 2022 in Fiscal Year 2023




[1] Cumulative investment by BII since December 2019