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Sweden helps Indian garment units cut environmental impact
26
Mar '15
A Swedish initiative has helped Indian apparel suppliers to Swedish brands like KappAhl, Indiska and Lindex, reduce environmental impact and improve capacity through training on resource efficiency.

The Sustainable Water Resources (SWAR) project is a cooperation between Swedish brands and their Indian suppliers, the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), SIDA and an Indian consultancy, cKinetics.

According to a KappAhl press release, for a garment factory in Noida, India, the idea of coupling sustainable practices with significant financial savings was initially far-fetched. However, through SWAR they have succeeded.

Now, the garment manufacturer; Radnik has reinvested these savings in new technology which ensures efficient use of natural resources.

“We are now all aware of how important it is to save water, energy and chemicals, which is helpful in cutting factory costs,” Ravinder Hand from Radnik said.

“Building capacity and educating at every level in the garment industry needs to be an ongoing process,” he added.

SWAR is co-financed by fashion brands and SIDA in a public-private partnership that links business and international development goals.

More than 40 factories participated in the project and the project has contributed to saving 284 million litres of water and 402 tons of chemicals annually.

The factories were also able to save an average of three per cent of their energy cost and three per cent of their operational costs.

“Being able to save costs through resources is important but it is not sustainable without a mind-shift and is best achieved; through training and capacity development,” said, Rami Abdelrahman, SIWI program manager.

The project trained more than 13,000 factory workers and managers in the past two years and more than half of the participating factories will continue to work on their own, continuously communicating their development to their clients in Sweden.

Others have joined a network created by SIWI and the three fashion brands for continuing the learning journey.

SWAR has inspired SIWI, SIDA, the piloting brands and an additional 16 Swedish fashion brands to catalyse a shift toward sustainable production and continuous learning in Asia and Africa.

Starting in 2015, the project will scale up to include several Indian states and four other countries in the world.

It involves more than 120 suppliers globally and is a part of the project Sweden Textile Water Initiative, STWI.

The Indian textile industry contributes with three per cent to India’s GDP and employs more than 45 million people.

The industry is one of the largest industrial water polluters in India, and is facing serious growth limitations due to increasing freshwater shortage. (AR)

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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