Indian textiles bring images of vibrant patterns, textures and colours. However, India has the opportunity to embed ‘sustainability’ as an added proposition that can substantially tilt India’s share in global textile markets. The onus of sustainability is on the supply chain. India is one of the leading exporters of textiles and with the Paris Climate Treaty setting the stage for these ten years of intense actions, there is enough pressure on brands, investors to align towards two degrees or the even lesser world. Some of the advantages that India has are:
Low Carbon through Wind/Solar:
Companies looking to reduce their carbon footprint would look for partners who will be willing to go the renewable way for its energy requirement. It may come as a surprise but many industry clusters in South Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka can boast of very high dependence on renewable energy. In fact many textile and apparel companies have 100% sourcing from renewables. Besides, in a state like Karnataka, renewable energy accounts for more than 50% of the state’s energy mix, even more, if hydropower is included. This is while so many western economies are just at 10% to 20% Renewable Obligation. Now with Science-based targets and even sustainability targets by brands/online retailers such as Zalando will look for partners where renewables in the supply chain already exist.
Circularity is catching fancy of many entrepreneurs:
India is innovating like never before, as the young energy is fuelling many kinds of start-up organizations such as in technology, environment, payments, automobiles etc. The sheer scale of the country and the number of potential users create opportunities for start-ups which are solving problems. Creating sustainable and alternative fibres and following sustainable processes may still not be a top priority but there is movement in this space. This is creating an exciting opportunity about circularity and interesting space for investors to watch.
Guidance on Certifications and International standards:
There is plenty of guidance available for industries on any certifications such as Higgs, GOTS, Organic. Apart from that the legislation on child labour, forced labour is now fairly effective and there is wide acceptance of SA 8000, Fair Trade and other international standards. Organizations have started moving towards disclosures. These are signs that India is at that stage of better traction and transparency in the supply chain, even though work needs to be done for Tier 2 and Tier 3 suppliers.
The organic movement is intense in India and as smallholdings find it convenient to come together as an FPO and are able to negotiate premium prices, this movement has gained strength in recent years.
India must seize this opportunity.
by Team sage Sustainability