Eco-consciousness makes way to the textile industry
The textile industry is going through a phase of transition to create a demand for sustainable textiles. To be successful in the textile business, the companies need to ensure that going green does not only mean using green technology, says Pradip Roy.
Owing to the changing developments in customer behavior, the Indian manufacturing industry has undergone major transformations to meet the evolving needs of buyers. Although most companies are channelizing their efforts to create sustainable products, the textile industry continues to be infamous for its extensive use of water, energy, and natural resources. Time has come now to cope up with the increasing affinity of the masses towards slow fashion and sustainable clothing which has necessitated the development of environment friendly and ethical manufacturing technologies.
As industries are getting increasingly aware of greenhouse gases, chemical emissions, and carbon footprint, the textile industry is now walking on the path of sustainable manufacturing to reduce the impact of their operations on the environment and tread the path towards meeting the climate change goals. But why is sustainability important for the textile business?
The primary reason would be to ensure the longevity of the business. As the target audience of the industry shifts from a generation that treasures high-quality premium textile work to a consumer that prioritizes conservation of the environment, brands will need to operate ethically to sustain themselves. Moreover, organizations led by younger entrepreneurs have started to take global issues like climate crisis and resource depletion seriously to propagate slow fashion. These methods not only win the loyalty of millions of customers but also allow the brand to enjoy marketing through word-of-mouth. As a result, sustainable companies can raise massive funds and employ a large number of skilled candidates to grow their capabilities at a wider scale.
As the government lays great emphasis on environment protection, sustainability has become a high priority for most Indian companies dealing in textiles, apparel, and textile technologies. Stricter implementation of laws and policies has not only fastened compliance but also increased awareness amongst the end consumers to opt for sustainably produced textiles.
It is also interesting to note that, companies that invest in sustainable manufacturing technologies gets goodwill of designers and industry experts. Forthe past many years, fashion and interior professionals have been striving to embrace sustainable products to increase adoption by big brands. As consumers are eager to pick up ramp fashion from the retail stores, affiliations by such artists can increase the credibility of the products.
Moreover, the beginning of the 21st century has brought with it a community of environment-conscious industrialists focused on creating an eco-conscious textile community. Due to the massive audience support garnered by these leaders, many big brands are being nudged to incorporate sustainability in their business.
So how can one adopt sustainability in the textile business?
One of the first method is to use the regenerated raw material, use of natural, neutral and cellulose fibres, use of the technology, which uses less energy and water and which is also gentle on the environment.
Companies can change their operating model from linear and one way production to circular processing, which would increase re-processing of wastes and used fabrics thereby reducing the overall resource consumption.
Most of the Principals of Voltas are offering customized and uniquely crafted solutions ensuring cost efficient manufacturing and operational processes. The machinery produce less of the wastes, use less of the energy thereby reducing the overall operating expenses of the company.
By going sustainable, the companies not only garner goodwill but also create a competitive edge for themselves in this massive industry. As sustainability requires complete disclosure of the company’s investments and policies the brand enjoys a greater trust of its investors and endcustomers. The company will be able to derive long-term benefits on the consumption of natural resources despite a higher investment to set up a green factory. Sustainable production will not increase brand acceptance but also help the company compete with global industries due to their inclination towards responsible manufacturing. This will lead to a rise in exports and allow the manufacturer to absorb additional costs for machinery and inputs. As these products generally sell at 10-15% higher prices than traditional textiles allowing companies to tap higher profits in the long run.
The key here is to understand how the company can market itself effectively to create visibility for its products. As sustainable textiles are currently the most loved businesses, brands can highlight their responsible credentials as USP in all their marketing efforts. The company can also engage with fashion icons, social media influencers, and NGOs to reach audiences located in remote parts of the country. Participation in national and global EXPOs can also help the brand create networks with leaders around the world thereby creating opportunities to partner with locally established enterprises.
Acknowledging the potential in this technology, Voltas Ltd (a Tata enterprise), India’s leading smart engineering and innovative solution provider in the textile space, has been offering Smart Spinning Solutions, Wholegarment Knitting, Virtual Sampling Solutions, Salt less Dyeing solutions and Smart Finishing solutions, which uses less manpower, space, consumes less energy and chemicals, thereby reduces impact on environment and also generates lesser waste. Over the years, our textile machinery has been renowned in the market as progressive and futuristic with highly advanced technologies that have disrupted the whole textile technology.
The textile industry is going through a phase of transition to create a demand for sustainable textiles. To be successful in the textile business, the companies need to ensure that going green does not only mean using green technology. Sustainable manufacturing is also closely linked to the social corporate responsibility of the organization and its contribution to society. It is imperative for businesses to keep their stakeholders at the heart of all their operations. One of the ways to be accountable is to ensure better infrastructure, minimal air pollution, and clean drinking water for the residents near the facility.
Automation in the textile industry would further improve productivity and allow employment of both skilled and unskilled workers in the industry. Improved exports and better working conditions will not only make the industry an attractive profession but also invite young minds to explore the industry’s potential.
The creation of a sustainable textile economy undoubtedly requiresthe collaboration of technology developers, designers, manufacturers, and consumers.
All parts of the textile ecosystem must prioritize sustainability over short-term profitability. As manufacturers and technology developers are the dominant players in the industry, their influence would enable small and medium enterprises to adopt green and responsible manufacturing practices.
About the author:
Pradip Roy is the Senior General Manager and Head Textile Machinery Division, Voltas Limited. He has played an instrumental role in making Voltas a one-stop destination for textiles from fibre to fashion that provides capital equipment solutions as well as excellent after-sales service to the textile industry. Pradip Roy has an impressive career spanning 30 years in the textile industry.