ZED | Zegarra Environmental Designs

Green Conscious

As people grow more conscious of the environmental impact that we are having on the earth’s surface through our consumption and means of living, companies and organizations, are now interested in becoming eco-friendly in order to cater to their growing “green” clientèle. Such is the case of Marks & Spencer in joint effort with Brandix, who have plans to erect the first eco-friendly casual apparel factory in Sri Lanka…

Green Trail
by Charitha Fernand

Sri Lanka plant blazes green trail for Marks & Spencer

UK retailer, Marks & Spencer says a newly re-built eco-friendly apparel factory in Sri Lanka is part of a plan that will see all operations being ‘greened’ by 2012, in response to growing environmental consciousness in its markets.
M&S, commissioned a completely re-built ‘green’ casual wear manufacturing plant run by Sri Lankan apparel giant Brandix, north of Colombo Friday. . The plant employs 1,600 people.

Officials say the green factory has already cut energy costs by 43 percent and water by 60 percent

The retailer says climate change and environmental issues have become more important in the UK following former US vice president, Al Gore’s documentary, “The inconvenient truth.”

“In the space of 12 months or so, it has become a huge political issue in the UK and it has become a huge topic of conversation with the general public,” M&S Paschal Little from M&S lingerie & casual wear division said.

“Our brand within the UK holds a very special position and our customers expect us to take a lead on environmental issues like this.”

“We wanted to work with a key supply partner to establish some model green factories of which the Brandix factory is one.” he said.

Global Benchmark

M&S says Brandix’ ‘green’ factory will be accredited with a leadership in energy and environmental design [LEED] rating by Green Building Council of the US.

This will help set up the plant as a benchmark for eco friendly apparel manufacture in the world.

“As a redesigned factory, it marks a new benchmark for the apparel industry independently accredited by LEED to the highest possible standard,” Little said.

“It will certainly represent a benchmark for other garment makers around the world,” he said.

M&S is also looking at ‘greening’ their stores and achieving carbon neutral status at its 600-strong retail outlets network.

A ‘green’ branding could also qualify Marks & Spencer to price garments manufactured in green factories at a premium.

“We would like to at some stage to identify products within our stores as coming from green factories,” Little said.

“We want to give our customer the choice. We want to communicate to our customers what’s happening in this project,” he said.

The Brandix green factory initiative is part of Marks and Spencer’s ‘Plan A’ initiative which hopes the make the chain carbon neutral and help customers and suppliers reduce their emissions.

Resource Efficient

Under plan, M&S wants its suppliers to top sending waste for landfills, buy more ‘sustainable’ raw materials like cotton and set new standards for ‘ethical’ trading by treating trading partners fairly.

Brandix which is hopeful of a LEED top ranked platinum certificate by end June.

This would be the first such certification of an apparel factory.

“We are hopeful by June that we will get the LEED certificate accreditation on a point system on how much of green you have, how much of energy and water you have saved,” Brandix Lanka director A J Johnpillai said.

The 30 year old factory in Seeduwa which cost 270 million rupees to convert to green status has 70,000 square feet of space.

“Seventy percent of all workers will have day light, 91 percent of girls will have views to the greenery outside,” he said.

Brandix says investing in energy reduction makes commercial sense amidst rising energy costs although with a payback time estimated at around three and a half years. Cefalalgie