3rd Responsible Fashion Summit to focus on circularity in fashion and ocean plastics

Wednesday, 31 July 2019 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

MAS Holdings Environmental Sustainability Director Sharika Senanayake and Eco Spindles Managing Director Dr. Anush Amarasinghe  


  • MAS, Brandix, Hirdaramani and Eco-Spindles show solutions and commitment

The third edition of Responsible Fashion Summit will take place on 8 August at Hilton Colombo. The Responsible Fashion Summit is a part of the Responsible Fashion Movement which was launched in 2017, with the key objectives of showcasing Sri Lanka as an apparel sourcing destination which has made considerable progress in creating a supply chain that is responsible and accountable. 

This journey continues as Sri Lanka consistently makes progress and creates solutions which are relevant to issues that are faced by the global fashion industry. This movement also places Sri Lanka ahead in the region as one of the leaders of sustainable fashion in Asia. The Responsible Fashion Summit aims to create an international thought leadership platform aimed at driving sustainable practices and accountability in the fashion industry.

Speaking on the subject, Ajai Vir Singh, Founder of Responsible Fashion Movement and Summit said, “The depth of expertise we have in Sri Lanka, followed by the intent of key stakeholders to develop real solutions to global issues propelled us to create a globally relevant platform that showcases Sri Lanka as the leader in Asia with a responsible supply chain.” 

He further added, “We have also engaged the fashion industry to innovate solutions and to make this the new normal in their designs and supply chain. We have great momentum behind this and the panels and the solutions presented at the Summit will be very enriching this year. I look forward to a fruitful and a meaningful summit.”

The Responsible Fashion Summit (RFS) is a high-level knowledge sharing platform which brings together thought leaders, creatives, and thinkers from Sri Lanka and around the world to discuss ideas which can be implemented to create real solutions for a sustainable fashion and apparel industry. This edition of RFS focuses on oceans and plastics and its role in the ‘Journey Towards Circularity’.

MAS Holdings Ltd., Hirdaramani Group, Brandix Lanka Ltd., and Eco Spindles are the key partners of Responsible Fashion Summit and with this partnership they also show their commitment as corporates who are striving towards bigger goals of incorporating more sustainable practices within their organisations.

MAS Holdings Ltd. recently launched the Sri Lanka Cricket team’s ICC World Cup jersey stitched from recycled polyester, made using the island’s own ocean plastic waste. The jersey is the result of an ongoing Oceans project that is part of the company’s 2025 sustainability vision to be net positive, zero toxic and to restore habitats across 25,000 acres. As part of a goal to value enhance all their waste MAS has been working on several closed loop solutions, from making bricks out their ETP Sludge to turning their waste into energy, the now seeks to influence the industry’s waste landscape and support Sri Lanka’s national waste management strategy through partnerships and interventions that can make a real impact.

MAS Holdings Ltd. Director of Environmental Sustainability Sharika Senanayake says large industries like the apparel and textile sectors have the biggest responsibility in tackling Sri Lanka’s waste issue. “The apparel and textile sectors have some great environmental innovations going on inside our own walls. And we also have one great opportunity to work together on this issue of waste. If we are only going to increase in number and produce more then we seriously need to answer the question of where does all our waste go? And how do we turn this industry into a zero waste one? The MAS cricket jersey, the eco brick and the waste-to-energy boiler are simply starting points for something that can change how the entire industry operates. The question remains – how are you truly committed to the solutions that can make a real difference? We need to all show up and do the work necessary to make this vision a reality.”

Brandix has consistently been at the forefront of national and global efforts to adopt best practices for sustainable development. Since 2007, the company has taken great, impactful business strides to bring it closer to the Group’s vision of becoming a truly sustainable apparel manufacturer wherever it conducts its operations. On a journey to deliver Inspired Solutions at every point of its business, Brandix continues to develop, manufacture and market end-to-end apparel solutions to world-renowned brands, whilst inspiring sustainable development in the communities within which it operates.

“Sustainability is far from being an unfamiliar concept at Brandix, and we are proud to say that we have pioneered sustainable practices since 2007, with a vision to establish Brandix as the most sustainable apparel manufacturer in Asia and beyond. We have made significant progress since then, by achieving the world’s first LEED Platinum certification in 2008 and the world’s first Net Zero Carbon status for our factory in Batticaloa in 2019, setting the trend for other manufacturers to follow in our path. We will continue our work in Environmental Sustainability undeterred, reinforced by an agenda that goes beyond compensating for the impact our industry has on the environment, and instead focuses on minimising our carbon footprint through long-term measures of energy optimisation and utilising on-site renewable energy resources across our manufacturing operations,” stated Brandix Apparel Ltd. Group Head of Engineering Iresha Somarathna. 

Hirdaramani Group’s sustainability strategy is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and guided by a triple bottom line approach - People, Planet, Profit. The Group has achieved ‘Net-Zero’ status for GreenHouse Gas emissions from energy across all their facilities in Sri Lankan and it is Asia’s first CarbonNeutral Apparel Manufacturing Facility. The Hirdaramani Group is also a partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular Initiative. 

Speaking on the subject, Hirdaramani Group Director Nikhil Hirdaramani said, “The need to engage all stakeholders to collaborate on sustainability has become much greater. Organisations need to develop concrete plans to build not just a more sustainable business but a culture of sustainability – this is the only way to affect real change. The need to create impact is now.” 

Eco Spindles is a pioneer in manufacturing products that help create a cleaner and greener Sri Lanka whilst generating value for their customers around the world. Eco Spindles has created innovative products from plastic waste for Sri Lankan brands such as Pigeon Island and Sri Lanka Cricket.

Eco Spindles Ltd. Managing Director Dr. Anush Amarasinghe stated, “Eco Spindles strives to operate in a way that sustains the delicate ecological balance of our planet. By developing products out of plastic waste that can be used by multiple industries, we are able to give organisations the chance to be more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly. The Responsible Fashion Summit provides an opportunity to showcase how, in Sri Lanka, plastic waste is converted to polyester yarn and then knitted into high quality performance garments. This significantly reduces lead times, inventory costs and the carbon footprint for leading global fashion brands.”

Hilton will host the summit as a hotel brand which has showed significant commitment with regard to plastics and finding solutions towards a plastic-free future. All plastic bottles are collected daily, at an average of about 20,000 water bottles in a month. These bottles are then given to the recycling plant who manufacture yarn which is used by brands such as Pigeon Island and MAS.

“Every day we at Hilton Colombo work to make the world a better place, driving positive social and environmental change across our operations, our supply chain and our communities. Being responsible social and environmental stewards is ingrained in our culture; it’s who we are and who we always want to be,” said Hilton Colombo Cluster Commercial Director Christopher Zappia.

This year, Responsible Fashion Summit will focus on Circularity in fashion and will introduce a project that engages fashion designers to develop a circular supply chain as a pilot project. The key idea of this project is that the fashion industry of Sri Lanka should adopt these practices as the new normal and take the lead in design development that will enrich our society and the environment.

Some of the panellists for the Responsible Fashion Summit 2019 are as follows: Ali Khalifa, Co-Founder of OceanWorks and Alfredo Orobio from A Way To Mars will speak on transparency in the apparel supply chain; The Hirdaramani Group, Brandix and MAS Holdings Ltd. will enlighten us about the future of apparel manufacturing and whether it can be customised; the final panel will be on the topic of Innovating for Circularity, led by experts such as Eco Spindles Ltd. Managing Director Dr. Anush Amarasinghe and PurFi Chief of Staff and VP of Operations Zack Whaley.

In addition to this, the summit will include two keynote speakers – Sukhet Dhir, a renowned Indian designer and winner of the Woolmark Award 2017 who will speak on designing for circularity and Evelyn Sharma, a Bollywood Actress and Sustainability Activist who will share her experience about driving sustainable practices through her project Seams for Dreams. 

For more information on the Responsible Fashion Movement and the Responsible Fashion Summit 2019, please visit www.responsiblefashion.org.