With 2012 eco targets achieved, Sri Lanka's top apparel exporter releases first sustainability report and aims for further 20% reduction in Brandix Eco Index
Sri Lanka's top apparel exporter Brandix (www.brandix.com) has pledged to reduce its environmental footprint by a further 20 per cent by 2020, significantly raising the bar on the Group's sustainability targets.
The announcement follows ahead-of-schedule achievements of environmental goals set for 2012 by the US$ 600 million Group, which operates 42 facilities in Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh, and the release of its maiden Sustainability Report, the first by a private company in Sri Lanka.
Releasing details of the sustainability-linked pledges already achieved at a unique news conference powered entirely by renewable energy at 'Nuga Gama', Brandix announced it was developing its own Eco Index, a ground-breaking environmental assessment tool that will enable companies Group-wide as well as supply chain partners to benchmark and measure their environmental footprint.
Using 2013 as the base year, Brandix will make further investments in processes and innovations that progressively reduce the impact of its operations on the environment, aiming for a further 20 per cent reduction of the Brandix Eco Index over the next seven years, Brandix Director AJ Johnpillai said.
He declared that the Group's pledge to reduce its carbon footprint by 30 per cent by the end of 2012 had already been achieved, six months ahead of schedule. Similarly, a Brandix pledge to reduce water consumption at apparel factories to 35 litres per head per day by the end of the year has been achieved.
The Group's 'Earth Pledge' - to achieve zero solid waste to landfill by the end of 2012 - has been 75 per cent fulfilled and will be met by the end of the year, Mr. Johnpillai said.
"Our vision of being 'THE Inspired Solution' encompasses not only the delivery of best quality products to the shelves, but also helping our workforce and community grow with us, while mitigating any impact of our business on the environment," he said. "We believe that in order to create a sustainable business, all the elements that help in its success need to be nurtured in return."
Referring to the Group's commitment to the environment, Mr. Johnpillai said: "We have taken on the responsibility of managing the lifecycle chain from the raw material stage to the distribution stage. This 'cradle-to-consumer' approach enables us to account for processes immediately upstream and downstream of the manufacturing processes that are directly under our control. This approach offers a holistic view of the environmental impacts of our business. Our vision is to account for each and every resource used and all by-products produced within the boundaries of this chain."
Iresha Somaratne, Head of Energy & Environment Management at Brandix said the Group had invested more than US$ 3 million in energy efficiency improvements in 2011, saving 28,000 GJ of energy and nearly US$ 800,000 through its energy management plan. A switch to renewable energy sources such as bio-mass had resulted in the replacement of 115,000 litres of fossil fuel last year.
Measures of this nature had enabled the Brandix Group to reduce emissions of CO2 and CO2 equivalent gasses by more than 29,000 MT since 31st March 2008, resulting in the Group's carbon footprint shrinking by 30.4 per cent even as revenue increased by 40 per cent, he said. In the area of water conservation, 156 million litres of water have been saved due to initiatives, resulting in a 43 per cent reduction from the baseline, taking into account an increase in the Group's head count. Additionally, Brandix factories had recycled and reused 961,000 cubic metres of treated water, approximately 44 per cent of the Group's total intake, and now collect 1,400 cubic metres of rainwater per annum.
In its efforts to divert solid waste to landfill, Brandix factories recycled 430,000 kilograms of paper this year, exported nearly 2.5 million kilograms of cut fabric waste, and in 2011 supplied the handicrafts and cleaning industries with 164,000 kilograms of shredded defected garments, which would normally be incinerated. Industrial sludge, a by-product of waste water treatment, which the Group converted into construction bricks in the past, is now being experimented with as a medium for briquettes that can be used as fuel in coal boilers.
All of these achievements are explained in detail in the first Brandix Sustainability Report, a 100-page publication titled 'Wear the Future' that covers the environment, economic and social performance of the Group between April 2011 and March 2012. Coinciding with the media conference, the launch of the report provides an insight into the Group's business functions, sustainability strategy, approach to environmental outputs of processes as well as the distribution and supply chain, the Group's community projects and its people. These topics are aligned with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) indicators and the report has been verified by Det Norske Veritas (DNV) an independent report assurer.
In keeping with the Group's commitment to the environment, minimal numbers of the Brandix Sustainability Report will be printed. A 22-page summary has been produced and the full report will be available on the Brandix Group website (www.brandix.com) and may also be viewed on Android and Apple smart phones via a mobile app developed by the Group.
Sri Lanka's single largest apparel exporter, Brandix was the first apparel manufacturer in the world to receive the ISO 50001 certification for the energy management systems of its Eco Centre at Seeduwa. In 2008, the Brandix Eco Centre became the first apparel factory in the world to receive a Platinum rating from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System of the US Green Building Council (USGBC). To date, four Brandix business units have received LEED certification.
The Brandix Group is credited with being the pioneer of the concept of 'total solutions' in Sri Lanka's apparel sector and as a global leader in eco-friendly manufacturing operations. Its foray into India in the form of Brandix India Apparel City - a 1,000 acre self-sufficient industrial park at Vishakhapatnam - is based on the 'Fibre to Store'concept and uses the advantages of scale and strong business fundamentals to leverage global expertise to offer 'total solutions' within the site.