The Indian apparel industry to get greener

The Indian apparel industry to get greener
Do not index
Do not index
The Indian textile industry has been largely unorganized since time immemorial. Picture this: an order of 10,000 shirts has to be produced by a fashion company-firstly the fabric is produced in the small town like Tirupur, then the fabric is transported a thousand kilometers away to the factories based in metros where the orders are actually produced step-by-step. What do we make of this?
On the surface, it appears to be a complicated process that goes into completion in a matter of weeks and months. But all that glitters is not gold. Fact has it that behind the production of a garment, is truckloads of wastage and logistical cost that impacted the competitiveness of the country’s textile sector. This increased wastage and logistical costs impacted the competitiveness of the country's textile sector.

What is the issue with traditional manufacturing?

Unorganized structure: The unorganized nature of the Indian textile industry means that there is a lack of streamlined processes, standardized practices, and centralized coordination. This can lead to inefficiencies, higher costs, and difficulties in scaling up.
Fragmented supply chain: The process involves multiple stages, including fabric production, transportation, and garment manufacturing. Such a fragmented supply chain can lead to delays, miscommunication, and increased costs due to multiple intermediaries.
Logistical challenges: Transporting raw materials (like fabric) over long distances adds to logistical complexities, which in turn can lead to delays, increased lead times, and higher transportation costs. This affects the overall competitiveness of the industry.
Wastage: There is potential wastage in terms of both time and resources. Longer supply chains can result in higher material wastage due to damages, defects, and inefficiencies. Additionally, lack of proper planning and coordination can lead to overproduction or underutilization of resources. The mentioned inefficiencies, wastage, and high logistical costs can erode the competitiveness of the Indian textile industry on the global stage. This could lead to higher prices for the end consumer and decreased export potential.
Sustainability concerns: The wastage and inefficiencies in the described process also have environmental implications. There's a growing global emphasis on sustainable practices in industries, and addressing these issues could also align with broader sustainability goals.

Did you know?

Of the total emissions that happen around the year, 20 percent of these emissions are produced from the way we wash, dry and maintain our clothes.
Furthermore, research published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin found that for an average wash load of 6 kg, over 700,000 fibers could be released into our waterways per wash, leading to the widespread distribution of synthetic textile micro-fibres even in the deepest ocean realms. These startling facts are a simple reminder as to how the simplest of the textile related activities are contributing to the pollution metrics. According to Rajiv Biswas, Asia Pacific chief economist with S&P Global Market Intelligence, “after two years of rapid economic growth, the near-term economic outlook for India is for continued rapid expansion during fiscal 2023-24, underpinned by strong growth in private consumption and investment.”

Textile parks:

The government recently announced the establishment of textile parks. The establishment of textile parks in India can indeed be a significant game changer for the apparel industry. Textile parks, also known as textile clusters or textile hubs, are specialized industrial zones where various stages of the textile and apparel manufacturing process are concentrated in a single location. These parks offer a range of infrastructure, facilities, and services tailored to support the textile and apparel value chain.
  • Infrastructure and Shared Facilities: Textile parks provide state-of-the-art infrastructure and shared facilities, such as common processing units, testing laboratories, design centers, and logistics hubs. These facilities are costly to set up individually, but when shared among multiple businesses within the park, they significantly reduce operational costs and entry barriers for smaller players.
  • Economies of Scale: Concentrating various stages of textile production, such as spinning, weaving, dyeing, printing, cutting, and stitching, within a single location allows for economies of scale. Bulk purchasing of raw materials, shared utilities, and collective bargaining power with suppliers can drive down costs, making the entire value chain more cost-effective.
  • Reduced Lead Times: Proximity of different manufacturing stages in textile parks reduces lead times between production steps. This enables faster production cycles, quicker response to changing market demands, and reduced inventory holding costs.
  • Supply Chain Integration: Having different stages of production in close proximity facilitates better coordination and integration across the supply chain. This results in improved communication, fewer delays, and a smoother flow of materials and information.
  • Skill Development: Textile parks often house training centers and skill development programs to enhance the workforce's capabilities. This creates a pool of skilled workers and reduces the skill gap prevalent in the industry.

Building energy efficient industries

The Indian apparel industry is following a number of aspects of green manufacturing, energy efficiency, waste reduction, closed loop supply supply chain, green factories. It includes a variety of small but significant steps like LED lights to initiatives like ZLD which take up huge investment. To reduce water, chemical and energy consumption, investment in state-of-the-art technology and processing and printing machines to minimize the use of energy and chemicals is also the priority for many.
India’s overall green financing requirement is estimated to be at least 2.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) annually till 2030.
To support green initiatives and motivate the industry to invest in the same, public and private investors are taking a keen interest to fund sustainable practices taken up by the fashion industry. Various Indian banks also provide a variety of options to fund the companies for green initiatives. Therefore, along with the government initiatives, the Indian apparel industry is now driven towards taking steps in the circular direction.