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HSBC, IUCN to study on sustainability in Sri Lanka apparel sector

ECONOMYNEXT- HSBC Sri Lanka, in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), have begun a study to plan for greener processes in the apparel industry, with a focus on small and medium-sized manufacturers, officials said.

“The apparel industry is a critical income earner for Sri Lanka, and supporting its transition into greener development is imperative for the growth and long term stability of the industry,” HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives Chief Executive Mark Pothero said.

“With this project, HSBC is moving beyond transactional corporate social responsibility to a more knowledge-based contribution that benefits the communities, the environment and the country at large.”

“And the outcome of this study will hopefully be a strategic guide as to how the smaller and medium sized apparel manufacturers can lower their carbon footprint by becoming greener and more sustainable,” he said.

Sri Lanka’s apparel industry is by far the largest export income earning industry with revenues of 5 billion US dollars, and has a significant impact on environment.

Over the years, the larger industry players have transitioned into greener manufacturing methods in order to achieve sustainability.

Sri Lanka’s Brandix Lanka Limited Chief Finance Officer Suchira Surendranath, representing the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF), spoke at the event explaining the steps taken by Brandix to establish Sri Lanka’s first ‘net zero carbon’ factory in Batticaloa.

“An average of 44 percent of energy in a garment factory is used up for air conditioning,” he said.

“For example, magnetic bearing chillers as opposed to rotary chillers could save up to 42 percent of that consumption.”

“Replacing traditional lighting with LED, clutch motors with servo motors and installing biomass boilers in the place of fuel boilers are a few steps you could take for greener garment production,” he said.

Sustainable financing in the apparel and garment sector has the potential to contribute to several UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

These include providing and managing water and sanitation, building resilient infrastructure, inclusive and sustainable industrialization and innovation, making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, and combating climate change and its impacts.

IUCN Country Representative Ananda Mallawatantri said the strategy will be developed with the help of industry and state officials from organizations like JAAF, National Cleaner Production Centre (NCPC) and the Board of Investment (BOI).

“Consultations envisaged during the strategy development will include regulatory agencies, apparel industry senior managers and technical level staff, environment auditors who are familiar with the industry operations and processes,” he said.

“We will also review the international knowledge bases on the subjects involved.” (Colombo/Dec04/2019)

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