Of the top 10 green factories worldwide, 7 are reportedly of Bangladesh origin. The country today boasts of having one of the most exemplary lines of compliant factories. As per reports, there are around 280 green factories in Bangladesh, of which 67 are certified by the US Green Building Council (USGBC). Amongst the 67, several are Platinum rated, recognised for best practices in design, construction and operations.
The green wave, which started, consequently gave buyers the much needed push for all-round compliance and sustainability and changing business dynamics got a further shot in the arm following end-customers’ focus on ethical sourcing and supply chain transparency.
Last year, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) in association with USGBC and Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) organised an event to recognise 13 LEED Platinum certified factories namely Remi Holdings Limited; Tarasima Apparels Limited; Plummy Fashions Limited; Vintage Denim Studio Limited; Columbia Washing Plant Limited; Echotex Limited; SQ Celsius Unit 2 Limited; Kaniz Fashions Limited; Genesis Washing Limited; Genesis Fashions Limited; SQ Birichina Limited; SQ ColBlanc Limited; and Envoy Textiles Limited, for their achievements.
Call it the need of the hour, the overwhelming focus on sustainability has led many more to take the green path. In the last few months alone, Apparel Online Bangladesh (AOB) interacted with many such entities evidencing that the year ahead wouldn’t be an aberration from the preceding ones as far as the concept of ‘Green’ in Bangladesh readymade garment and textile industry is concerned.
Laila Styles Limited of Laila Group, headed by Md. Imranur Rahman as the Managing Director is one such entity, which is not just going green, rather it is aiming for the coveted Platinum tag!
“The certification process is under progress and we are hoping for LEED Platinum,” said Bodiuz Zaman, General Manager – Admin, HR & Compliance, Laila Styles Limited the would be 35-line production (running 10 lines at the time of interview) facility, specialising in woven bottoms (denim and non-denim) for men, women and kids.
“We are already working for Matalan while orders from H&M and C&A are also in the pipeline,” stated a proud Zaman, tracing Laila Styles’ inception to Imranur’s dream of setting up a top-of-the-line green manufacturing unit that can be showcased to the overseas buyers while also giving shape to his aspirations of women empowerment and CSR efforts.
“In terms of composition, unlike many others, we have 90 per cent female and 10 per cent male workers…There is a popular belief in the industry that women cannot do critical operations. But our MD wants to prove that perception wrong. We aim to train, employ and bring them at par with men. As such, we have set up a training centre to provide pre- and on-job trainings,” elaborated the unit’s General Manager.
While in terms of operational and manufacturing practices, the company has implemented cutting-edge technical interventions and high-tech machinery, there’s no compromising in terms of using sustainable, eco-friendly and renewable natural resources either. “Currently we are producing around 250 Kilowatt of energy from solar power, which will subsequently go up to around 1 Megawatt with further addition of 700 kW,” Zaman underlined.
The next in line towards embracing green is Mahmud Group’s jeans manufacturing unit, Mahmud Fashions Limited. The current eight-line (60 machines each line) facility, aiming to add 70 lines more to take the total to 78 lines in near future, has roped in some Sri Lankan experts to materialise its green goals.
“At present, our production capacity is around 7,000 pieces bottoms (for buyers like Bestseller, Replay and Next)… Soon we are expecting 48 lines to be up and running,” said Shamim, DGM – Admin, HR & Compliance of Mahmud Fashions Limited, stopping the conversation in-between to introduce Team Apparel Resources to its two Lankan experts – Susanth Ranjith Ekanayaka (GM – Maintenance) and Ruwan Kumara Jayasinghe (Head of Wash).
“Wash is very crucial in jeans and we want to impart sustainable washes without compromising on the effects and feel attained via traditional methods while being eco-friendly and efficient,” Ruwan explained. Through the use of Jeanologia’s system (an efficient combination of laser technology, ozone and the eFlow nanobubbles), Mahmud Fashions has managed to achieve the same, while cutting down on water consumption and minimising the ecological footprints.
“Discharge is now reduced considerably. Usually one needs 70 litres of water for a pair of jeans but water consumption has been brought down to 20-25 litres/pair of jeans… In bleaching, we are going for ozone treatment. And in place of Potassium Permanganate (PP) spray, laser is being used, adjusting whose intensity, PP’s effects can be simulated,” Ruwan asserted.
Ozone wash is a new technology and is used to change colour after washing. Normal washing needs water, chemicals, time and mechanical action to wash, but ozone wash replaces all those aspects in wet washing, thereby saving energy and resources.
To record the progress made, Mahmud is using Jeanologia’s Environmental Impact Measurement (EIM) software to measure and document each step in the manufacturing spectrum. “The environmental impact software measures water, chemical and energy consumption as well as workers’ health in the production process, and how they affect the ecological footprint. By measuring the current impact, it is easy to identify areas of improvement, define actions and monitor them to become even more sustainable,” said the Lankan expert.
Susanth, on the other hand as the maintenance head, apart from optimising production procedures, is working hard on energy cutback.
“Cost and availability of electricity are two concern areas in the current scenario. Thus saving energy has become vital, both from the sustainability aspect as well as to reduce the production cost… When I joined here, there was no switching system, so when one opened the main panel, lights in all production lines were automatically switched on. But now we’ve introduced remote controls to minimise power wastage. I am also planning to set up control boxes at the starting of each line where remote controls will be kept so that even if the electricians are not around, anyone can switch the lights on or off. What’s more, by doing so, lighting of the entire floor will not be affected, rather it could be done in a phased manner, line by line,” explained Susanth underlining that the same could be replicated for fans in the production floor too.
By introducing this system, Susanth has reportedly been able to cut down power consumption for every two lines from 800 amperes to 250 amperes. Considering that the unit would have 78 lines when fully operational, the total energy saving from the production floor will be noteworthy to say the least.
With focus on sustainable and eco-friendly approach gaining popularity across the supply chain, fabric manufacturers are also showing keen interest in implementing green techniques and processes.
“Whether it is about trying innovative new techniques or discovering cutting edge technology to lead the industry into a more sustainable future, Tosrifa Industries Limited (TIL) is always at the forefront…,” maintained Mohim Hassan, CEO, Northern Tosrifa Group, the recent addition to which has been the TIL Fabric Division.
As per the company’s website, TIL has been able to save around 14 million litres of water and cut down wastage by 50 per cent using environment-friendly techniques.
Tosrifa Industries’ garment unit is LEED Gold certified, and for its new dyeing facility for the fabric division, the Group has applied for LEED certification, which would make it the first knit dyeing unit in Bangladesh to be LEED certified.
“In textile division (dyeing), getting green certification is easier said than done. But, when we planned the project (fabric unit), our target from the very beginning was to go for green. Keeping that in mind, machines were selected accordingly so that fabric could be dyed using Cold Pad-Batch (CPB) process. In this procedure, water requirement is very less vis-à-vis the conventional methods. If we use 80-90 litres of water to dye one kilogram of fabric in usual process, CPB cuts down water requirement to 25-26 litres/kilogram of fabric,” briefed Mohim, who has been able to reduce energy consumption by almost 35 per cent, thanks to CPB.
The CPB method is more environment-friendly due to high dye fixation and non-requirement of thermal energy.
The ETP plant for TIL’s new dyeing unit has also been designed keeping future in perspective.
“We are using the latest Japanese technology for biological treatment of water… Our objective is to achieve ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals) status by 2020,” said Mohim, indicating without a doubt that Bangladesh garment and textile manufacturers are unwilling to leave any stone unturned for giving shape to their green aspirations.