Apparel Eco-Factory in Sri Lanka

Three of Sri Lanka's largest apparel manufacturers have launched eco-factories in conjunction with large retail giants such as Marks & Spencer and GAP.


Joint Apparel Association Forum launched Sri Lanka Apparel - Garments without Guilt global campaign, championing the cause of ethical apparel manufacturing and sourcing. The campaign has been well received by global apparel industry, partner buyers, international media, and international consumers at large.

The Garments Without Guilt campaign focuses on ethically-made clothing--meaning free of child labour, free of sweatshop conditions and free of forced labour. But manufacutres realised that being ethical goes hand-in-hand with being sustainable. Hence, the concept of 'eco-factory'.

Brandix, one of Sri Lanka's largest apparel exporters, converted a thirty-year-old factory into a modernized hi-tech eco-friendly plant. Since the conversion, the "Green Plant" has been able to reduce the company's carbon footprint by 77%--from 2,076 metric tons to 484 metric tons. They've committed to join with Marks & Spencer's "Plan A" and have developed a five-year eco-plan to further reduce their carbon footprint by 35% by the year 2012--M&S's Plan 'A' target date to neutralize the company's carbon emissions.

Brandix is also committed to preserving water as one of their major initiatives, and for that reason, the company has built a rainwater harvesting tank with a capacity of 100,000 litres.

M&S CEO, Sir Stuart Rose, recognized Brandix as a valuable part of their production and offered his company's support to this eco-factory. "Not only has it reduced its carbon footprint since its renovation, it has also reduced its energy usage, uses less water and no longer sends waste to landfill. It will also continue to produce great quality clothing."

The Green Plant, located in the town of Seeduwa, surpasses all standards stipulated by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the Green Building Rating System created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The Group is also the recipient of the prestigious international Green Apple award for the best in environmental practices.

Another of Sri Lanka's largest exporters, MAS Intimates, has begun building a new eco-friendly plant in the town of Thulhiriya which will manufacture lingerie for UK-based Marks and Spencer.

Meanwhile, garment manufacturer Hirdaramani Group, has been building a 'green' factory as well, and is also gradually making all of the group's existing factories more environmentally friendly.

Their first 'green' factory, with an investment of around US$ 5 million, will be called C.K.T. Apparel Pvt. Ltd. and was launched with a celebratory 'Green Week' which included a tree planting campaign. Trees were planted across the factory's campus, and another 1000 plants were distributed to factory members to be grown in their homes.

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