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Sri Lanka’s Star Garments achieves carbon neutrality

ECONOMYNEXT- Star Garments group, owned by the US-based Komar is now CarbonNeutral certified for its entire portfolio of 14 factories, officials said.

Star Garments earned the certification by the Sustainable Future Group (SFG), a sustainability verification and certification body based in Sri Lanka on Thursday.

“We as a company engaged in the apparel industry basically operates as B2B business with no dealing with the end consumer,” Star Garments Managing Director A Sukumaran said.

“But these days end consumers tend to be more concerned on how products are manufactured, he said.

“Customers look to purchase goods manufactured in an ethical and sustainable manner.”

The CarbonNeutral certification is given by Natural Capital Partners (NCP) to companies that have reduced their carbon footprint to net zero in accordance with The CarbonNeutral protocol. SFG is the regional partner of NCP.

The protocol is the global standard for carbon-neutral certification, assisting businesses to measure Greenhouse gas emissions and help reduce it with credible solutions.

Sukumaran said businesses must strive to help reduce carbon emissions.

“Businesses are the main reason for carbon emission which is now a growing concern among the masses since global warming is affecting the whole world,” he said.

“As businesses, we have to do everything within our power to help alleviate global warming,” he said.

He went on to say that the company “endeavours to reduce whatever carbon we emit in our operations by investing in carbon credits and other sustainable businesses.2

Having achieved its carbon-neutral status two years ahead of schedule, Star Garments is currently the largest company in Sri Lanka and the only apparel company with all 14 of its facilities assessed and certified.

“Star Garments has expanded about 40 per cent over the last few years and we are continuing to expand within the next two years in factories, backward integration and also overseas process,” Sukumaran said.

Sanith de S. Wijeratne, chief executive of the Carbon Consulting Company, said Star Garments had achieved carbon neutrality in a short period.

“We applaud Komar’s leadership in driving sustainability in Star Garments and we are honoured to be their partner in achieving this goal,” he said.

Sukumaran claimed that the Sri Lankan apparel industry stands in a good place at the moment.

“If you look at the 2019 numbers, we have increased our exports by about 6 per cent to 5.3 billion US dollars and I think it will only grow this year and next year,” he added.

“There are challenges but we cannot sit back and complain or take a step back from where we are,” he added.

“As businesses, we have to be able to work with these challenges in the industry. We have to keep moving forward.”

Meanwhile industry experts predict Sri Lanka’s garment exports to drop till April 2020 due to poor conditions in key markets after growing 5.1 percent to a record 5.3 billion US dollars in sales in 2019.

Sri Lanka expects a boost in exports if preferential trade conditions are extended from markets like India and China and the inception of the fabric processing zone in Eravur. (Colombo/Jan24/2020)

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