Earth Day, which is being celebrated today across the globe, has become more relevant today than ever before, as at the moment health and environment have become the topmost priorities for everyone. Textile and apparel industry is no exception, and is playing its part in contributing to the current challenge the world is going through.
As the lockdown has prevailed and physical activities can’t take place, social media is flooded with messages regarding the Earth Day as well as the efforts made by various companies.
“This Earth Day, while the planet blue heals owing to minimised human activity, let’s take a moment to think about what development truly means. Let’s be progressively responsible. Celebrate Life, Celebrate Planet Earth!” Indian textile giant Vardhman Textiles puts up on its social media handles.
E-commerce giant Myntra motivates the society through its message, “A few conscious steps take us a long way to contribute towards a healthier Earth! This Earth Day, let’s take a pledge to do our bit to save the planet with the 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!”
By staying safe at home, we unknowingly helped #KeepEarthSafe too. This #EarthDay, let’s promise when we step out at the end of the #COVID19 crisis, we will spare a thought for our planet and strive to keep it green and pollution-free. #WorldEarthDay #EarthDay2020 #EarthDayAtHome pic.twitter.com/x7VJaFboTB
— Welspun Group (@TheWelspunGroup) April 22, 2020
The fashion industry is inching towards sustainability and there are few steps consumers can also take for the same. It is pertinent to mention here that technology is playing an important role at all levels – be it manufacturing, customer awareness and tracing.
This earth day, let us express gratitude to mother earth, and celebrate the life-giving and nurturing aspects of the planet.#EarthDay2020 #EarthDay #ClimateWoke #WeAreTheSolution #EarthDayLive #VoteEarth #EarthRise #StrikeWithUs pic.twitter.com/DRvJFvwXLv
— Eastman Exports (@EastmanExports) April 22, 2020
Recently, the Aditya Birla Group launched a fabric called Livaeco that has a unique molecular tracer in it through which the fabric can be identified by a tag displayed on the garment. Well-known designers Gabriella Demetriades and Gavin Miguel have collaborated and used this fabric in their collections.
Some brands are taking initiatives to make the supply chain and production processes more sustainable, and they are also striving to lower the consumption of natural resources like fuel for energy and water. The chemicals used are bio-degradable and non-hazardous.
Homegrown brand Spykar Lifestyles is taking a lead, as all denims it rolls out are made using environmentally responsible processes right from recycled cotton, washes that require less water to technologically advanced dry processes such as laser techniques.
Abhishek Yadav, Design Head, Spykar Lifestyles, informs, “We use solar power and rely heavily on the latest technology like laser machines, ozone wash technology and cloud wash that has aided the brand to lower the material to liquid ratio considerably.”
Additionally, Spykar is among the few brands that refrain from using pumice stone while washing, to not disturb the depleting pumice belt. The brand also has a fully functional water treatment plant, which ensures no polluted water is released into any natural water source. The water is re-treated/purified and re-used for washing.
Similarly, there are many companies across the supply chain, especially in export, where sustainability is one of the major focuses. Few of them are even following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); Ludhiana-based Kudu Knit Process is one of them. Reliance Industries Ltd., Shahi Exports, Pratibha Syntex, Radnik Exports, Eastman Exports Global Clothing, Arvind Ltd. and KG Fabriks are among many other companies that are leaving no stone unturned regarding sustainability.
Majority of companies are producing organic and sustainable products, following global standards and enjoying sustainability as a tool for their business growth.
On the other hand, it is quite ironical that except for Arvind Ltd., no Indian textile or apparel exporters have come forward with their annual sustainability reports so far, while it is a common practice in the western world among brands as well as giant manufacturing organisations in Asia.
Union and State Governments have also come up with some commendable policies and initiatives regarding sustainability – be it solar plant installation or honouring the companies that are contributing to this direction.
At the level of education also, some of the universities and institutes in India are moving aggressively regarding courses of environment, sustainability etc., but when it comes to textile and apparel industry, experts do believe that there is no direction and a lot more is yet to be done.
Similarly, majority of the unorganised sector of the industry keeps ignoring the environmental and sustainable aspects. There is hardly any NGO or civil society focusing especially on this segment.