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Managing Director Grameen Knitwear Ltd.
Sustainability practiced is contributing on profit as well as it creates healthy working environment.
Ashraful Hassan, Managing Director of Grameen Knitwear Ltd., provides an overview about the importance of sustainability in textiles in an interview with Fibre2Fashion Correspondent Ridaa Saiyed.
Grameen Knitwear Limited was established as an export-oriented composite knitwear factory, in the Export Processing Zone in Dhaka. It has knitting, dyeing, finishing and garment production facilities.
Ashraful Hassan currently serves as Managing Director of Grameen Knitwear Ltd and Grameen Fabrics & Fashions Ltd. He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of several enterprises of Grameen family, which play commendable role in the fields of renewable energy, health care, food & nutrition, information and communication technology and so forth.
Do you think that sustainability is important in the textile industry? Why?
Yes, sustainability is very important in textile industry. The textile dyeing and finishing industry is one of the heaviest global consumers of water and energy. Climate change issue is now the biggest threat for the planet and human beings. Developing and under developed countries are worse affected. Textile industry is polluting environment by discharging effluents and emitting carbon. Due to pressure from environment conscious group and regulatory bodies on the toxic chemical pollution caused by textile manufacturers, the industry has been under tremendous pressure to improve its environmental performance while straddling economic sustainability. Textile industries need more sustainable activities to improve its environmental performance, reduce carbon emission, and create worker friendly environment as well as motivation.
How is Grameen contributing to sustainability?
A committed company should take sustainability initiatives. Grameen has been actively working with industry partners and green project initiators by using innovative products and efficient machines to mitigate biggest sustainability challenges - carbon emissions and consumption and pollution of water. Since last two years, Grameen reduced consumption of energy, natural resource, and fossil fuel through energy efficient production, using renewable energy, motivating workers to not waste energy and resources and increase productivity.
Do you feel that the textile companies today are indulging in more and more sustainable activities? What do you think is the reason?
Textile industries are doing more and more sustainable activities. The sustainability issue in textile guide focuses on the manufacture of fabric from natural and man-made fibers. This involves processes such as stripping, blending, dyeing and weaving or knitting and cloth manufacturing, but that is covered in the sustainability issue in clothing guide.
This sector is a mix of high and low technology, reliant on unskilled and semi-skilled labour. There is a strong competition from countries with lower compliance and labour costs from fabric to garment manufacturing process that includes dyeing, washing or spot cleaning, drying and pressing. These typically consume energy and water and result in handling of chemicals and other agents, and contaminated wastewater.
The guide provides a simple process flow, which reflects some steps that are common across the sector. This is quite generic but helps to demonstrate how the process steps might interact with environmental, social and economic sustainability issues. The process flow is not intended to reflect the breadth of technologies and practices that are used by different enterprises.
Buyers, regulators, environment conscious groups have strong focus on environment, health, safety and compliance issues. Also market competition and consciousness development to all related concern is the key drive towards sustainability.
Is sustainability practiced to maximize the profit or as part of CSR activity?
Sustainability practiced is contributing on profit as well as it creates healthy working environment. Sustainability focuses on health and safety, sustainable environmental practices, human rights, employees' welfare which apparently looks like CSR activity but majority industries are doing sustainability practice to save the planet.
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