Pioneering textile manufacturer, Hayleys Fabric PLC, has become the first textile manufacturer in Sri Lanka and the fourth local manufacturer to add its name to a growing list of major global corporations committing to the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) for reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and limiting global warming at 1.5°C.
Launched in collaboration with CDP Worldwide, World Resources Institute (WRI), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), the SBTi is a globally recognised commitment that companies make as part of the We Mean Business Coalition’s ‘Take Action’ platform on climate change.
The SBTi specifies how much and how quickly a company needs to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the Paris Agreement goals to limit global warming keeping it at 1.5°C and well-below 2°C and is also part of a broader effort to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
These targets are to be achieved through innovation, reducing waste, unlocking efficiencies, and strengthening investor confidence while reducing regulatory risk, uncertainty, and exposure to volatility in energy costs. Crucially, the commitment to SBTi will help verify the already significant positive environmental sustainability initiatives undertaken by the company.
“While it is essential that each of us takes steps to reduce our carbon footprint, the most urgent concern in the battle against climate change is for corporate entities to take meaningful action. With our commitments to the SBTi, we are proud to officially join together with leading organisations from across the world in mobilising against climate change, and commit ourselves to achieving zero-carbon emissions within the next three decades, if not sooner.
“As a trusted leader in textile production, we view this as an opportunity to enhance our competitive advantage to assist consumers to move towards sustainable brands and help to establish new benchmarks for environmental sustainability among Sri Lankan corporates,” Hayleys Fabric Managing Director/CEO, Rohan Goonetilleke said.
As part of its commitments, the company is also developing polyester yarn from PET bottle waste collected from the shores of Sri Lanka, vastly reducing the production of virgin polyester which has a life span of 20- 200 years. Hayleys Fabric is also collaborating with partners to find innovative solutions to reduce the negative environmental impact of polyester further.
The company also advocates in support of the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ framework and actively encourages employees to collect PET bottles for recycling. In addition to setting up collection bins within factory premises, the company has also conducted awareness programmes to educate employees on plastic pollution.
Employees and customers are also provided with plastic alternatives such as reusable glass water bottles, while reusing plastic tubes for fabric rolls, and switching to cardboard tubes when delivering fabric rolls for export customers. The company also switched to eco-friendly taffeta instead of polythene to protect raw fabric.
In this manner, Hayleys Fabric has recycled and reused 109 metric tonnes of polythene over the year, saving a whopping USD 18,069 and reusing 77% of plastic tubes in fabric rolls, to save 88 metric tonnes in plastic waste.
Earlier this year, Hayleys Fabric commissioned the largest rooftop solar power project, to offset 13% of its carbon footprint. Electricity generated from the project will be supplied to the National Grid under the Net Plus Scheme, while energy saving LED bulbs have been installed in all of its premises. Two biomass boilers were also set up for steam generation with the ash from the wood, used to manufacture compost.
The company also recycles 25% of its wastewater utilising a state-of-the-art water treatment plant to ensure that water discharged to the adjacent river is of good quality and in accordance with all applicable environmental standards. All treated water is checked in-house and regularly by external agencies such as the Central Environment Authority (CEA), the Water Board and the Board of Investment (BOI).
Notably, Hayleys Fabric reserved a 20-acre rubber land adjacent to the factory premises as a green belt. An additional, 8 acres were also designated as a wetland biodiversity zone under the guidance of the Biodiversity Division of the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment.
Programmes have also been rolled out to educate employees on the importance of creating a sustainable environment, with awareness programmes leading to staff engagement in organic farming with the harvests shared among the staff.
Hayleys Fabrics PLC, a subsidiary of Hayleys PLC, is a leading textiles manufacturer in Sri Lanka, providing end-to-end solutions from the design to manufacturing of fabric made out of natural and synthetic fibres. The company was recently presented with the Bronze Award at the Asia Sustainability Awards 2019 for the best Integrated Report Design. Hayleys Fabric was further presented with a Bronze Award at the Presidential Environmental Green Awards in 2018.
Notably, Hayleys Fabric has been continuously recognised for its excellence in annual reporting at the CA Sri Lanka Annual Report Awards in the Manufacturing sector over the years winning a Silver and two Bronze Awards. The company was also awarded a Merit certificate in the Manufacturing sector at the South Asian Federation of Accountants Annual Report Awards in 2017.
Established in 1878 by Chas. P. Hayley as a trading house in Galle specialising in import and export, the Hayleys Group has since grown to serve as a centrepiece of the Sri Lankan economy while maintaining a global presence of manufacturing and marketing offices across five regions with business interests spanning a total of 16 sectors. Today it stands out as one of Sri Lanka’s most prominent success stories, having been the first listed Sri Lankan corporate to surpass US$ 1billion in revenue and accounting for 3.3% of the nation’s total export earnings.