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Being environment-friendly helps Chinese textile firm

10
Jul '12
It is generally believed by textile enterprises world over that going environment-friendly brings some additional cost to the company. But, a Hong Kong-based firm has set an example by doubling its revenue over the last five years since it adopted water and energy saving technologies.
 
China Environmental Statistical Yearbook 2010 ranks the textile industry as the fourth worst polluter among the country’s major industries. It estimates the total amount of wastewater generated by textiles manufacturers in China to be around 2.5 billion tons per annum.
 
In addition to direct release of wastewater, some fibres in various textiles can hold toxic chemicals and when those clothes are washed by consumers, the pollutants find their way into different water ways and thus pollute lakes, rivers and seas across the globe.
 
A study entitled “Cleaning up the Fashion Industry” released in April this year found several global fashion brands sourcing their apparel products from polluting units in China.
 
The report, however, praised some companies for taking pains to clean up its supply chain. These included brands such as Gap, Nike, H&M, Adidas, Levi’s, Burberry, and especially Esquel.
 
The Hong Kong-based Esquel Enterprises Limited employs over 54,000 employees, who make around 100 million cotton shirts every year for its various clients like Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike and Marks & Spencer.
 
Ms. Marjorie Yang, Esquel’s Chairperson, said Esquel had been adopting new methods in its operations, which has resulted in 50 percent less water consumption and 40 percent drop in power usage. These savings are being invested by the company in purchasing latest equipment and technology.
 
Yang’s approach has spurred the performance of Esquel and the firm’s revenue has grown from US$ 530 million in 2006 to US$ 1.2 billion last year.
 
Yang is currently working with researchers to find ways to replace water in the dyeing process. She also wants to develop new cotton species through genome sequencing, which will have an ability to grow on non-arable land.
 

Fibre2fashion News Desk - China


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