Sustainability : A Mindset in Manufacturing



Economically, The textile industry makes up the second-largest sector of the global trade market. Moreover, It is estimated to reach USD 1,230 billion by next year, from $920 billion in the last 5 years. In spite of being a lucrative market from one perspective, plenty of focus is now being given to the aspect of sustainability, both economically and environmentally.

The fashion industry has been plagued with sustainability issues for years now. But, with the influx of fast fashion brands and an increase in consumerism, these problems have become more common than ever before. However, the practice of sustainability is gaining great ground on the internet, especially when the digital reputation of a brand is concerned. Authentically & ‘responsibly’ sourced raw materials are contributing to a niche brand image, Leading to a growing audience base . ‘Trust’ is the most significant achievement for any brand, and gaining the loyalty of consumers is of the utmost importance. Adopting ‘Green Methods’ is found to be an effective way to inculcate the desired trust indicating that the brand goes beyond profit-making & cares about the materials, environment and people involved in the entire process.

One of the prime focuses of sustainable fashion in India is to create flourishing models and communities throughout the journey of any textile from fiber to end product. High levels of monitoring and flexibility in traditionally accepted operations are ways to ensure the same. .

 

Steps to Success

Many ways of ensuring a healthy and sustainable production unit often include either elevating the value of local products or elongating the lifecycle of raw materials used. Some experts even identify increasing the value of timeless garments as a strong marketing tactic to keep the previously produced garments alive. These have proven effective including waste reduction in the production and consumption phases. Another long-term method of establishing sustainability is to invest heavily in educating people at large to practice environmentally friendly consumption through dynamic behaviour-change campaigns, thereby promoting the concept of “green consumer”. The current wave of eco-consciousness among consumers has helped businesses realize that sustainable practices can be beneficial to the bottom line – especially in today’s crowded marketplace. In fact, according to a recent report by Nielsen, it’s not just consumers who are supporting this trend: “More than half (52%) of executives say that their customers want a brand that is environmentally friendly”.

Alternate Sourcing Materials

The industry has identified the benefits in the usage of organic materials. An Alternate Sourcing Module entails newfound eco-consciousness in brands. This means, using the rising demand for sustainable raw materials such as bamboo, hemp, and organic fabrics to produce commercially viable products that cater to the new-age consumers . The ideology that ‘ Yarn is the core of all fabrics’ makes a significant difference leading to heightened innovation & sourcing models springing in India. Scientists and textile manufacturers across the globe are experimenting with modified & hybrid options labelled as “Sustainable Yarns”. In fact, very recently in the Textile Sourcing Meet ’22 organized by Sowtex in Dhaka, a number of Mills showcased carefully curated selections of sustainable yarns & fabrics, exposing the buyers and RMG manufacturers to this much-needed alternative, in order to ensure a lower Carbon Footprint.

 

Less Water, Less Energy

Core concepts of sustainability go beyond organic materials and efficient processes. Experts have observed that the textile chain consumes a large amount of water and energy. This is apart from the use of various environmental chemicals and harmful substances. Reusing and recycling textiles must be one of the best things to have happened to the rural industries of Kanpur and Lucknow. Most textile waste fosters biomagnification which results in causing harm to aquatic life and to people around that aquatic body as a result. Companies like Rasik Vatika Group are promoting sustainable practices through their manufacturing processors, serving as an example for the industry.

 

Some Key Performance Factors which manufacturers are keeping track of are:

  • Decreased utilization of water and energy, i.e. a lowered carbon footprint
  • Increased usage of sourcing materials which are sustainable in the long-run
  • Monitoring and economising the use of chemicals in dyeing and coating
  • Proper disposal and treatment of waste
  • Abiding by the animal cruelty norms when working with wool, silk, fur, etc.

 

Adopting Sustainable and Smart Weaving Methods

Did you know switching bandwagons can ensure less wastage? Handloom is one such type of sustainable weaving.

The contributing factor to the sustainability of handloom weaving is that it uses no electricity. Having obvious positive results for the environment is seen as a responsible method by few (yet growing) manufacturers in India. Handloom weaving has less strain and demands fewer resources than the established power looms. Even though the process is slower, there has been a hike in its audience base which is causing a lot of brands to employ handloom workers and ensure energy-independent manufacturing at a price which not only pays the wages but also encourages fellow brands to follow suit. Moreover, It conforms to the notions of ‘Made In India’ and ‘ Vocal for Local’ which have been garnering massive attention over the last few years.

 

Added Advantages

Modern-day consumers, from the Millenials to the Gen Alpha, understand and care about the environment more than ever. They are mindful of purchasing slow and responsible fashion. Social media studies have found sustainability to be a major concern with today’s business tycoons. 66% of executives believe a marketing strategy which includes the promotion of sustainability to reap more footfall and a further 22% say it will be ‘critical’ to ensure a loyal audience base. In the D2C (Direct to Consumer) market, building a brand personality which matches the needs of the environment is seen to have a long-shot chance of survival. It creates a sense of goodwill and personalisation which consumers today are digging for. Additionally, It fosters a state of awareness of the design process, its resource flows, workers, communities, and ecosystems. The Metaverse is emerging as a novel way of joining the movement through Digital Fashion Shows, Virtual Collections and Augmented Forecasting, leading to reduced wastage while sampling, as well as promoting the ideology of creating what you need. Rightly said by Mr. Sunil Arora, co-founder, Trace Network Labs, “Metaverse & Technology will change the way consumers and brands look at Fashion & Textile Manufacturing.”

Sustainability in the Supply chain is not limited to the sourcing of materials or fabric. It is a mindset, a way of manufacturing and doing business with respect for people, planet and profits. It matches the philosophies of “slow fashion” through ecological as well as ethical qualities. Brands today are leaning towards favoring value over volume. Challenging the mass production models which use traditional and outdated methods of manufacturing, universalised style, and plenty of room for wastage is now looked down upon. Indian factories might not be completely sustainable yet, but they are adopting new methods at a very fast pace.

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