Indian should aim as a ‘preferred supplier’ in the global trade

Indian should aim as a ‘preferred supplier’ in the global trade

Birla Cellulose is a world leader in viscose staple fibre (VSF) and a trusted raw material partner for the global textile and non-woven value chain, representing a perfect melange of nature and science. Surya Valluri, Chief Sustainability Officer, Birla Cellulose, shares how the company embracing sustainability with Divya Shetty.

How is the Indian textile industry adopting sustainable practices in manufacturing? Cite with some examples or Infographics?
Increased consumer demand, regulators interventions and awareness generated by various stake holders has been transforming the industry at rapid pace for global good. Sustainability has become more of a necessity in this industry rather than a mere concept or buzzword. Looking into these mega trends the Indian textile industry has started integrating sustainability and circularity in the business strategies. The entire textile industry has to come up and collaborate right from raw material sourcing to manufacturing to product and how all these steps can contribute to sustainable development.
For example, Birla Cellulose, among the largest man-made cellulosic fibre (MMCF) producers globally, has embraced sustainability through its 5-pillar strategy. The key raw material for Birla Cellulose is wood from sustainably managed forests which is sourced with globally recognised certifications such as FSC or PEFC with complete traceability. Birla Cellulose has also launched commercial product ‘Liva Reviva’ where in it is using 30 per cent cotton waste in manufacturing MMCF. This approach has many fold benefits like reduction in use of dissolving wood pulp (which is turn is made from wood), utilisation of cotton waste which could either be landfilled or could go for down cycling. Along with this, it also reduces water consumption and carbon emissions, which are other sustainability challenges in textile industry.

What are the challenges faced by manufacturers in implementing these sustainable practices?
Sustainability has become a key criteria in global sourcing arena. This industry is known for its significant use of natural resources such as water, energy, chemicals etc. So, in order to compete in global industry, the Indian manufacturers need to catch up fast with global trends. To achieve this, there are certain challenges which are to be dealt with. Adoption of technologies and huge funds requirements are challenges the industry will face. This dilemma needs to be addressed by collective working among the industry value chain including the brands. In short term, this may impact the financial performance of many companies, this may be worked out with extended stake holders especially governments and policy maker’s intervention.
Is the Indian textile industry adequately prepared to embrace sustainable practices? What does the future hold in store for the industry in this regard?
India is 3rd largest exporter of Textile & Apparel in the world, with a share of >4.5 per cent of Global textile and apparel market. India is among the few nations across the globe that has operations across all sections of the textile value chain right from raw material to manufacturing capability. Though India is in transition phase, the work done so far is encouraging. Sustainable raw material procurement and use, sustainable manufacturing practices, adoption of renewable energy are some of the practices that the industry has been implementing. Apart from this some of the social issues such as human rights have started gaining importance and the industry should adopt these practices.

In the future, Indian textile industry should aim as a ‘preferred supplier’ in the global trade. Upcoming regulations with in the country along with global markets like in US & EU can act as a guidance in order to do business in these regions, industry need to follow the regulations. More and more adoption of sustainable practices, certifications/standards will help in reducing the environmental impact. Along with this, ESG strategy should be formulated based on the material issues of industry which will help in implementing industry specific measures.
 Deployment of AI and ML will help the industry to more productivity, improved quality, quick adoption of digitalisation along with sustainable practices shall position country’s textile industry in leadership position.

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