Most businesses are beginning to think not just about profit, but also about the environment and sustainability.
Swedish fashion retail companies Indiska, KappAhl and Lindex have announced that they are expanding their cooperation with the Stockholm International Water institute (SIWI) during 2014 to improve sustainable water management practices at their supplying production houses in India.
The project partners will be looking at intensifying work with current Indian partners during 2014, and welcoming new suppliers to this partnership, to expand its positive impact.
Since February 2013, the three Swedish companies and SIWI have been working together with 35 suppliers in Delhi and Jaipur under a project entitled SWAR: Sustainable WAter Resources Management for Textile Industries in India. Through technical consultations, the project improves water, energy and chemicals management at the suppliers’ production units, as well as improves the production’s environmental impact and reduces operational costs by cutting waste. The project also provides workshops throughout the year to build managerial and operational capacities in sustainable resource management at participating production units.
“As a world-leading water policy research institution, SIWI realizes the importance of partnering with corporations to strengthen the link between policy and practice,” said SIWI’s Executive Director, Mr. Torgny Holmgren. “We look forward to continue working with Indiska, KappAhl and Lindex, their Indian suppliers, and the Swedish textile industry as a whole, through our joint Swedish Textile Water Initiative (STWI)”.
The project is a Public Private Partnership between KappAhl, Lindex, Indiska, SIWI and the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida). Sida contributes with 50% of all costs during 2013 and 2014, while Swedish and Indian partner companies contribute with the remaining 50%. Commenting on this partnership, Charlotte Petri-Gornitzka, Director General at Sida said: “Enhanced collaboration between private and public private partners is essential to achieve sustainable global development and poverty alleviation. This is lately seen more frequently both in the global debate as well as in Sida´s project-portfolio”. When the private sector’s financial resources, knowledge, innovative capacity and interest in market expansion are combined with the public sector’s ability to address regulatory bottlenecks and develop essential market institutions, a win-win situation is created between business and development goals.”
She added that Sida, along with 20 Swedish companies recently created a joint leadership initiative for sustainable development. “SWAR is an excellent example of this innovative approach as it makes a vital contribution to reduce the negative environmental impact. We would like to encourage more and similar initiatives from the private sector.”
For the project’s initial phase (2013), the project team has entrusted cKinetics, a world-class Indian sustainability acceleration consultancy, to implement the project at the production houses. The consultant provides technical consultancy by identifying solutions and site-specific short and long-term projects, and supporting each unit to implement the recommendations.
The project was officially launched in February 2013 in Delhi, and May 2013 in Jaipur, by H.E. the Swedish Ambassador to India, Mr. Harald Sandberg.
Third-largest in the world, exports of the Indian textile industry amount to 10% annually, contributing 3% to India’s GDP, and directly employs more than 35 milllion. The thirsty-industry is also the single largest industrial water polluter in India, and is facing serious growth limitations due to increasing shortage in freshwater availability.
This goes to show that businesses that are not thinking water, the environment, sustainability, climate change etc, and taking serious action not just making public statements, will become old fashioned and ultimately left behind.