From the MD's Desk
Ravi S Jalan
In keeping with our passion for sustainability,traceability and innovation we launched REKOOP,our sustainable bedding solution made by blending cotton with recycled polyester obtained from postconsumer PET bottles, in March 2018. The use of recycled polyester results in a massive reduction of landfill space, crude oil consumption and carbon emissions in the atmosphere. The recycled polyester is forensically tagged through the CertainT platform of Applied DNA Sciences, Stony Brook, which secures its provenance and traceability across the supply chain.
Recognizing how crucial it is to produce textiles to follow the circular economy model, which is restorative and regenerative, we were keen to take REKOOP to the next level. So, in September 2019 we launched REKOOP 2.0, now a truly circular solution, whereby used sheets can be recollected and depolymerized into fibre again, rendering the recycled polyester as a raw material for remanufacture and the cotton as a biofuel. REKOOP 2.0 is an evolved and expanded expression, with a total of 12 innovative collections that revolve around exciting blends of recycled polyester with other sustainable fibers such as Tencel from Lenzing AG, Liva from Birla Cellulosic,Modal, Cupro, Linen and BCI Cotton. Meaningful performance attributes are incorporated in some of the collections, for instance, one of the collections uses the truly eco-friendly Recron Green Gold Kooltex fibre from Reliance Industries and offers a moisture management solution. Overall, the collections have a truly broad appeal in terms of weaves, textures, prints and finishes and are spread across the price pyramid.
The linear ‘take, make, dispose’ model that centres around the mindless consumption of finite resources and has phenomenally burdened our planet, has to give way to the circular model where products, intermediaries and raw materials are kept at their highest value during use and never end up as waste. REKOOP 2.0 is a testimony of our passion towards sustainability and the circular economy.
At GHCL Limited, sustainability is an integral part of long-term strategy. “We are committed to integrate economic progress, social responsibility, and environmental concerns in our business decision-making and future projects. We believe in integrating our business values and innovative solutions to meet the expectations of stakeholders keeping our core values at the forefront. Through a formal materiality assessment process, we have identified business level sustainability material issues and developed time-bound roadmaps for each business to leapfrog our overall performance.
“Our endeavour is to achieve excellence in business along with active contribution towards the growth of society and protection of the environment. Our actions and approach to achieve environmental stewardship include energy and water efficiency, waste management, renewable energy and greener manufacturing processes and technologies. As a group, we acknowledge the risk of climate change and its implication. Efforts in energy efficiency measures and enhancement of renewable energy portfolio is our contribution towards mitigation of climate change. To make our journey more prolific and specific, we have completed GHG inventorisation project with the aim of developing business specific road map for GHG mitigation.
“We have established an internal Sustainability Committee as a part of the sustainability governance structure to oversee activities relating to CSR, HSE (Health, Safety and Environment) and propagate a culture of sustainability. It is headed by the Managing Director with the Head of Sustainability as its Secretary who reviews and approves targets for sustainability performance. We firmly believe that a holistic approach as well as responsible and informed choices can lead to solutions that are sustainable.
“We promote sustainability across our value chains as it will not only help in mitigating the business risk but also serve as a key component of influencing the decision-making. We have launched a groupwide supply chain sustainability project to identify suppliers who have systems in alignment with GHCL’s sustainability approach and promote such suppliers for a longterm relationship with us.”
GHCL Limited, incorporated on October 14, 1983, has established itself as a well-diversified group and is willing to bring an impact through CSR and sustainability initiatives. “Our focus is to create new dimensions and opportunities through such initiatives and strive towards creating a better life for the communities near our areas of operations.”
Over the years, GHCL has ascertained its footprints in chemicals, textiles and consumer products segments. In the chemicals sector, the company manufactures soda ash (anhydrous sodium carbonate), a major raw material for detergents, glass & ceramics industries and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). The company has a soda ash manufacturing plant located at Sutrapada, Gujarat which is one of the largest single location plants with an annual production capacity of 11 lakh MTPA. The soda ash produced is marketed in India under the brand name Lion.
The textiles operations at GHCL is an integrated setup commencing from spinning of yarn to weaving, dyeing, printing and processing till the finished products like sheets and duvet sets are exported worldwide. GHCL is one of India’s leading manufacturers of home textiles with an in-house spinning unit at Madurai, Tamil Nadu and state-of-the-art home textile facilities at Vapi, Gujarat with a weaving capacity of 12 million metres and processing capacity of 45 million metres of fabric per annum. A perennial innovator in bed linen category, it has the flexibility to process both cotton and blended fabrics. Excellent product development capabilities have put GHCL at the forefront of major markets globally, mainly North America, Australia, UK and Europe. Home textile products of the company are primarily exported worldwide and some of the valued customers include Bed, Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s, JC Penny, TJX Group, QVC Gerber, Hudson Bay, Myers, Sainsbury’s, etc.
GHCL’s actions and approach to achieve environmental stewardship include energy and water efficiency, waste management, renewable energy and greener manufacturing processes and technologies. GHCL is driven by the spirit of innovation and is continuously focusing upon sustainable products and packaging innovations.
GHCL’s sustainability initiatives are focussed on four pillars: Zero Harm, Responsible Steward, Climate Warrior and Stakeholder- Centric.
# Zero Harm: Safety is a priority for GHCL employees and is a key element in its code of business conduct. It is not just a hilosophy but a culture that is being propagated across businesses into everyday routine. Starting at the top with its leadership team establishing the vision all the way to field personnel, safety work culture is being embedded. All initiatives are being undertaken to establish safety as the line accountability and not just the responsibility of the safety department.
GHCL aims to become a ‘Zero Harm’ organisation. The roadmap is built on five pillars: (i) engineering controls; (ii) administrative controls; (iii) procedures and work permits; (iv) hazard identification and risk assessment; and (v) accountability and competence.
# Responsible Steward: At GHCL, “we strive to protect our resources for the future and to enhance the quality of life for our associates and the global community. As a predominantly manufacturing industry, our environmental footprint consists primarily of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through energy consumption, wastewater discharge, waste disposal, etc. We have identified our footprint and have begun our journey towards minimising the same by implementing a range of initiatives towards reducing the consumption of natural resources. To make it a business case, we also recognise significant cost savings arising from such projects.
“We strive to become a responsible steward and aim to reduce the overall environmental footprint of the organisation. For each business, we have established aggressive reduction targets for energy, water, GHG and waste and continuously monitor our journey.”
A few initiatives across businesses:
- Condensing turbine of capacity 12.5 MW to meet additional energy requirements while maintaining perfect steam and power balance at Sutrapada;
- Deployment of energyefficient Akzo technology for manufacturing soda ash involving dry liming technology;
- Use of industrial waste material (fly ash, limestone fines & plastic) in development of construction material e.g. of Paver blocks;
- Rekoop, the new brand of bedding products made from recycled plastic (rPET), it employs Applied DNA’s CertainT platform to trace and authenticate the plastic being utilised.
# Climate Warrior: At GHCL, “we understand that climate change is real. As a responsible business entity, we have completed GHG inventorisation of all our manufacturing plants and we envision to achieve the carbon reduction or neutrality through several innovative solutions with our contribution in war against climate change. We have also increased our renewable energy portfolio over the years and have reduced the dependence on grid power.”
Renewable Energy Portfolio: (i) 25.2 MW capacity of power source (40 per cent of requirement) from wind energy setup in Tamil Nadu for captive use at our spinning unit (yarn division); (ii) 2.1 MW capacity of power source from wind energy setup in Vapi for the home textiles unit.
# Stakeholder Centric: At GHCL, “serving the interests of our stakeholders (investors, employees, society, vendors and customers) is an important aspect of doing business responsibly. This comes from creating a balance between economic, environmental and social objectives. Consistent investor interaction opportunities for transparent and seamless dissemination of information, corporate governance, CSR strategy, employee-friendly culture, forming strategic partnerships with our vendors and caring for our customers’ needs serve our overarching goal of helping people secure their futures. It is our mission to engage with our customers and vendors and achieve customer satisfaction through serviceability and quality with a focus on product and process innovation. On the other hand, we also aim to nurture entrepreneurship among our people, protect the environment and give back to the society in more than one way.”
Overall Circularity Viewpoint
Over the past years, the textiles industry has been in focus due to its environmental impact as ecological awareness among consumers has grown. This has motivated manufacturers to innovate and move towards more sustainable models. “We have proactively adopted the concept and have imbibed the four-pillar strategy of innovation, traceability, sustainability and giving back to society.
Our product ranges like Rekoop, Meditasi and Cirkularity demonstrate the same. In practice, we try and look beyond the usual ‘take, make and dispose’ model and move towards a sustainable model of ‘make, use, reuse, remake, recycle’. We intend to develop products that are designed to minimise the negative impact on the environment and reduce product’s footprint.