Yet another Brandix factory, Brandix Casualwear Ltd., - Giritale, has been accorded an 'Eco Factory Attribute' by Marks & Spencer (M&S), in recognition of its achievements in environmental sustainability and preservation.
Strategically making use of its natural surroundings, Brandix's Giritale plant secured the M&S Eco Factory Attribute awarded under the latter's 'Plan A' initiative, by significantly reducing its emissions and consumption of resources.
Overall energy consumption was cut by 30 per cent. Fuel consumption too has been reduced by 20 per cent through redesigned boiler and steam distributors which run entirely on biomass. As a result, the overall carbon footprint of the factory has shrunk by 15 per cent. Water consumption has declined by 25 per cent, and the plant now recycles 100 per cent of its solid waste.
"Sustainability through minimal use of natural resources, eco-friendly waste management and ecological preservation are inextricably woven into the very fabric of our business, and we are proud of the Giritale plant's achievement," said Dhananjaya Rajapaksha, CEO of Brandix Casualwear. "It is noteworthy that the factory has successfully adopted international best practices in environmental preservation, while ensuring favourable working conditions for all associates."
Brandix Casualwear Giritale is the third Brandix Group factory in Sri Lanka and the fifth Group factory overall, to be conferred the M&S Eco Factory Attribute. Two other Brandix factories at Ja-Ela and Koggala have received the M&S 'Ethical Factory Attribute.'
Situated opposite the scenic Giritale Tank in the Polonnaruwa District, the factory experiences a natural draft all year round, which has been optimally channelled through the factory via an improved mechanical ventilation system, thereby replacing conventional air conditioning systems. The Margosa (Kohomba) trees surrounding the facility act as a natural cooling filter for the incoming draft.
Meanwhile, special prismatic skylights have been fitted to the roof to allow only the passage of solar light without the accompanying heat. Sophisticated new Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are used as task lights to illuminate the sewing machines at needlepoint, supplementing the natural light provided by the skylights. T5 lighting has been installed for use only on cloudy or rainy days.
Energy requirements in the kitchen are supplied through solar heaters.
Among the procedures adopted to conserve water are the use of push button taps, low-flow water fixtures and the introduction of a sewerage treatment plant and a tertiary filtration system which allows the water to be recycled and re-used for toilet flushing and gardening. As the factory is located opposite the Giritale tank, a rainwater harvesting system is not necessary since water from the tank can be used as and when required, Mr. Rajapaksha explained.
In addition, solid waste management is facilitated by colour-coded bins and other infrastructure which make possible the segregation and easy collection of waste. As a result, the facility has achieved its target of 'Zero Waste to Landfill.'
An online monitoring system has been installed to screen the facility's level of energy consumption. In keeping with the factory's eco-friendly ethos, all associates are encouraged to use push bicycles as a mode of transport to and from work, under an initiative partly funded by Brandix. Currently, the growing fleet comprises of 50 bicycles, and parking facilities are provided in the form of bike sheds. Primarily a manufacturer of apparel for the Marks & Spencer label, the Brandix Giritale factory provides employment to over 600 associates.
Earlier this year, a Brandix Casualwear factory in Bangladesh also received an 'Eco Factory Attribute' from Marks & Spencer, and was the first apparel factory in that country to achieve this status.
Marks & Spencer's 'Plan A' initiative was launched in January 2007 to combat climate change, reduce waste, use sustainable raw materials, trade ethically, and help customers to lead healthier lifestyles. It encourages suppliers around the world to make their supply chains carbon neutral through Green manufacturing processes.
Sri Lanka's single largest apparel exporter, Brandix was the first apparel manufacturer in the world to receive the ISO 50001 certification for the energy management systems of its Eco Centre at Seeduwa. In 2008, this signature facility became the first apparel factory in the world to receive Platinum rating from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System of the US Green Building Council (USGBC). To date, four Brandix business units have received LEED certification.
The Brandix Group is credited with being the pioneer of the concept of 'total solutions' in Sri Lanka's apparel sector and as a global leader in eco-friendly manufacturing operations. It is supported by 42 facilities in Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh. The Apparel sector giant recently released its maiden Sustainability Report, the first by a private company in Sri Lanka. The report highlights the eco targets achieved to date, and with the introduction of the Brandix Eco Index next year, the Company sets out its aim for a further 20 per cent reduction in the Group's environmental footprint by 2020.