Many textiles factories in India have started participating in a project called Sustainable Water Resources (Swar) to improve resource efficiency, cut chemical use in 2014 by 402 tonnes, according to the Stockholm International Water Institute (Siwi).
The company said that it considers a reduction in the use of chemicals, in addition to the substitution of harmful substances, a key part of chemical management. The company added that this is particularly true for the textiles industry because if not properly treated wastewater leads to the depletion of oxygen in receiving water bodies. A reduction in water consumption also leads to a reduction in used chemicals.
More than 40 factories in Delhi and Jaipur participated in the project, which involved providing technical consultations to factories to help them improve their chemical efficiency related to washing, dyeing, printing and water treatment.
The project lead and Siwi programme manager, Rami Abdelrahman said that this achievement is largely related to the choice of chemicals, the dosing of these chemicals, getting the colours/dying right the first time and reducing the number of re-dyes.
In the past two years, 13,000 factory workers and managers have been trained. Mr Abdelrahman said that the focus of the training is to understand good chemical management practices, particularly around the choice of materials, storage and handling, and awareness of international programmes to phase out hazardous chemicals.
More than half of the participating factories will continue to work on their own, continuously communicating their development to their clients in Sweden. Others have joined a network created by Siwi and the three fashion brands to continue education.
Mr Abdelrahman said that the factories continuing on their own realize that they now have enough competence and capacity to drive efficiency improvements. The remaining factories see a value in continuing with others, by sharing experiences, and getting support from experts assigned to the network.
The project will expand to China, Turkey, Bangladesh and Ethiopia, and will include several more Indian states.
The project involves Siwi, Swedish retail brands Indiska, KappAhl and Lindex, their Indian suppliers, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and India-based consultant cKinetics.
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