A water management project among textile suppliers in India, led by the Stockholm International Water Institute and Swedish fashion brands Indiska, KappAhl and Lindex, has demonstrated how efficient resource management in textile production in India can achieve substantial environmental improvements and financial gains.
In the Delhi region alone, Indian project partners of the Sustainable Water Resources Management project implemented 85 different “low-hanging fruit” recommendations resulting in a 765 percent return on investment in one year and an average payback time of 11 days per project, SIWI says. Individual projects targeted resource efficiency recommendations in production lines, savings in energy, chemicals, and water consumption, among others, SIWI says.
In water-scarce Delhi, the project reduced total water consumption by an annual 84.5 million litres or 6.6 percent in one year. It reduced electricity use by 3.4 percent, fuel by 4 percent and chemicals by 14 percent at supplier and sub-supplier levels over the same time period. This resulted in an annual 1.7 percent saving in production costs for all 35 units. The recommendations include applying best-practices such as right-first-time chemical dyeing procedures, house-hold savings, rainwater harvesting, effective waste water treatment and reuse, as well as efficient boiler heating cycles.
In Jaipur – the project, together with traditional block-printers at the Jaipur Industrial Texcraft Park, developed a guidebook for sustainable resource use in their industry, but also built capacities at the park to prepare them for environmentally-friendly production.
Between Delhi and Jaipur, the initiative trained more than 60 percent of all staff on the sustainable use of water, energy and chemicals, SIWI says.
In December, Nike opened its first water-free facility, which ends the use of water and process chemicals from fabric dyeing at its Taiwanese contract manufacturer Far Eastern New Century.
The process, which Nike has dubbed ColorDry, reduces dyeing time by 40 percent, energy use by about 60 percent and the required factory footprint by 25 percent compared to traditional methods, the company says. ColorDry products will be introduced to the marketplace in early 2014.