Sri Lanka's Brandix Group will achieve an environmental milestone this month when the apparel sector giant formally commissions the country's first redesigned Green Factory.
The 130,000 square-foot Brandix Casualwear factory at Seeduwa, the Group's lead manufacturing plant for top international retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) will surpass stipulated Green factory standards for energy consumption, water conservation, solid waste management and carbon emissions, the Group said this week.
The 30 year old factory has undergone an exhaustive conversion that took nearly 10 months to complete and will support Marks & Spencer's 'Plan A' initiative to encourage suppliers around the world to make their supply chains carbon neutral through Green manufacturing processes.
"The commitment of M&S fired our own passion for best practices in eco-friendly manufacturing," said Brandix Group Director AJ Johnpillai. "The result is a redesigned factory that will reduce its carbon footprint by as much as 75 per cent, achieve a 45 per cent saving in energy and cut water consumption by nearly 60 per cent." He said the Green factory is one of a series of initiatives across the group to reduce its carbon footprint by at least 35 per cent by 2012.
With an investment of US 2.5 Million Dollars, the conversion of the factory was made more challenging by the fact it was originally built more than 30 years ago, and that it had to continue production during its transformation into a Green manufacturing facility, Mr. Johnpillai explained. Another challenge was a decision that energy conservation targets would be achieved with air-conditioning, which accounts for about 70 per cent of the energy consumed in a garment factory, he said.
The commitment of M&S fired our own passion for best practices in eco-friendly manufacturing
AJ Johnpillai, Group Director
Sophisticated new air-conditioning systems have been introduced and the ducting redesigned for greater efficiency. Special prismatic material used for skylights in the roof allows only the passage of solar light without the accompanying heat. Sophisticated new light emitting diodes (LEDs) used as task lights provide light to the sewing machines at needle point, supplementing the natural light provided by the skylights. High bay lights are to be used only on cloudy or rainy days.
The factory's steam boilers and steam distribution systems have also been redesigned for greater efficiency. Among the series of measures to reduce water consumption are recycling, a rain water harvesting system that will contribute 15 per cent of the 64,000 litres of recycled water that the factory uses each day, and the introduction of a tertiary filtration system and disinfection which allows water to be reused for toilet flushing and gardening. The result is an overall reduction in water consumption by 60 per cent, Mr. Johnpillai disclosed.
The factory has also achieved zero solid waste disposal by recycling or reusing 100 per cent of the solid waste it produces. Even canteen waste is being composted and will contribute to biogas generation. The green areas in the gardens have been increased substantially to provide all occupants with a better view of green area, and two indoor green patches have been introduced to the plant with the largest floor area. Transportation within the premises is by electric vehicles to eliminate use of fossil fuel inside the plant. An advanced intelligent building management system controls relative humidity and carbon dioxide levels to improve comfort levels for all Associates in the factory.Brandix pioneered the concept of total solutions in the Sri Lankan apparel industry and is Sri Lanka's largest apparel exporter with a consolidated annual turnover of over US$ 320 million. The winner of two Presidential Export Awards and the recipient of the prestigious international Green Apple award for environmental best practice, the Group is also strongly focused on CSR initiatives that primarily involve water. In addition, the Group has integrated Clean Technology, Waste Management, Energy Management and Environmental Conservation into its operations on the basis of a strong belief that sustainable industrial development can drive its ultimate goal of being a completely green business concern.