In 2019, the Sri Lankan company’s Batticaloa plant became the first apparel manufacturing facility in the world to achieve Net Zero Carbon certification. The factory has a 1.65-megawatt rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) plant that produces 2,975 megawatt hours per year, more energy than the factory requires annually, contributing to the net-zero carbon impact. At the time it was installed, the solar plant was the largest in the nation.
“As an organization, we fully invested in and own our solar PV implementation projects, proving our unwavering commitment toward the environment,” said Ashroff Omar, group CEO of Brandix.
Brandix is not stopping there. Along with the Batticaloa plant, the company is the first Sri Lankan signatory to the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment. As part of its pledge, the company has vowed to make all of the 16 facilities in its home country net zero by 2023.
Currently, the company has 9 megawatts of solar energy capacity across 12 facilities. Six of these plants are in the process of being reviewed for Net Zero Carbon certification. Using the Batticaloa plant as its standard, the newly built facility in Rambukkana is expected to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Net Zero Carbon status.
One of the factors that has enabled Brandix to lean on solar power is its tropical location with plenty of sunlight. The company sees the potential for this plant model to be used across the industry, however. As of March, 50 percent of the company’s overall power comes from renewable resources.
Along with solar power, Brandix also uses biomass-powered boilers as an energy source.
“As we journey toward becoming a truly sustainable manufacturer, we recognized the importance of resource optimization in ensuring the highest possible energy and water efficiencies across our operations, as well as the need to migrate from non-renewable to renewable sources of energy, while minimizing our waste footprint,” said Omar.
Brandix’s sustainability journey dates back more than a decade. In 2008, the company’s plant in Seeduwa became the first apparel manufacturing facility in the world to earn Platinum LEED certification.
This recent net-zero push builds on the company’s existing green building strategy that prioritized resource optimization through features such as efficient HVAC systems, sewing machines and lighting.
“While we have invested in new technology and upgrades to optimize existing infrastructure, we have also secured significant cost savings as a result of our efficiency-improvement initiatives,” Omar noted.
Along with targeting zero-carbon operations, Brandix is also committed to tackling waste. The company’s five-year sustainability strategy, which it unveiled in 2019, calls for 100 percent of its waste to be recycled or reused. Water conservation is another pillar of the plan, with targets around zero water waste, safe drinking water and no discharge of hazardous chemicals.
“Some of the challenges faced thus far have included adapting to technology, and recycling of waste, with Sri Lanka yet to be fully geared toward establishing proper disposal or recycling plants, primarily for industrial waste,” Omar said.
With investment and leadership from top management, Brandix is working toward becoming a “truly sustainable” apparel manufacturer.
“We will continue to stay on track with our commitment towards achieving Net Zero Carbon operations, with the support and collaboration of our employees and stakeholders along the way,” Omar added.
What’s the most important issue the fashion industry has yet to address?
“It is heartening to know that there has been progress made through initiatives such as Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals, Better Cotton Initiative and the incorporation of recycled yarn in material circularity, to name a few. We see apparel manufacturers engaging in initiatives to address carbon footprints across the value chain, with steps being taken to help stakeholders within their network fall in line with their sustainability objectives as well for more tangible impact. While there is progress being made, it is imperative that the industry is conscious of the work that is yet to be done, with sincere efforts being made to create consumer awareness along the way.
“Today, while many brands have embraced this shift in perception and continue to push for more sustainable practices across their supply chains, some are yet to embrace the same. While consumers become more conscious of the impact of their purchase decisions, the competitive spirit between apparel manufacturers make it necessary for the industry to push boundaries in all aspects or be left behind, while moving toward becoming a truly sustainable industry that thrives in the new normal. However, we are confident that with the active involvement of both brands and manufacturers, we can work toward a cleaner industry and a greener planet for the future.”
Sourcing Journal’s Sustaining Voices celebrates the efforts the apparel industry is making toward securing a more environmentally responsible future through creative innovations, scalable solutions and forward-thinking initiatives that are spinning intent into action.
See more of our Sustaining Voices honorees and their stories, here.