Interview with Ashwani Palaha

Ashwani Palaha
Ashwani Palaha
Pratibha Syntex
Pratibha Syntex

With so much sensitivity about sustainability around the world, how are apparel manufacturers warming up to the idea in India?

Consumers are getting more concerned about sustainability.  They want to know who made their clothes, who grew the cotton for their clothes, how their fabric is made, what impact the cloth has left on the planet. With growing awareness, retailers and manufacturers are evolving businesses towards sustainable practices.  If I talk about our business, in association with C&A Foundation, we have played a pivotal role in developing Gold Certified C2C product range. Besides, we have developed a range of products, which consumes 50 per cent less water in manufacturing products. Besides, we have engaged water and energy efficient technologies in our processes. We are recycling 100 per cent of water and 97 per cent of this is being infused back into the processes.

Do you think India mainstream consumer is ready for fashion with a conscience?

India has population of 1.3 billion and 50 per cent of the population is aged 25 or below; so, we are a young nation. With increased usage of social media and technology, our youngsters do care about what they are buying. You can see the shift in consumer behaviour.

Have sustainability, circular economy, and slow fashion had any impact from your major export markets? We are vertically integrated and sustainability-oriented manufacturers of knitted garments. Within our business, we have created a sustainable ecosystem which deals with people, planet, process and prosperity. And, products are made by taking utmost care of all the four verticals. Every product we design is by default sustainable in nature. With sustainability being at the core of our business strategy, our business has gone from strength to strength. 
Do you think India mainstream consumer is ready for fashion with a conscience?

What latest technologies and innovations are you investing in?

We have been investing in state-of-the-art technologies to upgrade our processes. Very recently, we had invested in SAP S/4 Hanna ERP and Optitex 3D for the design room. We are also in the process of developing a rooftop solar power plant to further reduce our carbon footprint.

What are the major concerns of buyers when it comes to sourcing apparel?

Mostly, a buyer focuses on raw material, product quality, price, compliances at factory level, and quick response from order to execution.

Do share details of the last two fiscal years. What is the target for 2020?

We have undertaken the following initiatives in last two fiscals to minimise the environment impact: 
  • Replaced 10,500 tube lights with LED lights-saving 389kwh/day. 
  • Installed power quality monitoring system-saving 750kwh/day. 
  • Installed high tech + high productive and low energy consumption MVS machines- saving 1210kwh/day. 
Boiler fuel: 
  • Replaced diesel with biomass briquettes saving 180000ltr diesel/year - 500MT less GHG emission. 
  • We have a ZLD plant with fully functional ETP and MEE. We have also STP for treating domestic sewage water. Currently, 100 per cent of our water is recycled and 96 per cent is coming back to the process. 
  • We don't use any raw water in the entire process. y We have CPB dyeing machine which consumes where the liquor ratio is 1:1.5. 
  • We have installed a low liquor dyeing machine (Metsa 1:5) and replaced all old machines with high liquor machines.
The following are our sustainability goals for 2020, the baseline being 2016: 
  • 50 per cent reduction in freshwater consumption; 
  • 20 per cent reduction in energy consumption; 
  • 30 per cent reduction in GHG emission; 
  • Zero discharge of hazardous chemicals;
  • 100 per cent use of sustainable material; 
  • 40 per cent reduction in hazardous waste. (HO)

This interview was first published in the November 2019 edition of the print magazine.
Published on: 26/11/2019

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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