Sri Lanka’s top apparel exporter Brandix has been commended as a role model for environment and employee friendly ethical manufacture at the House of Lords, the ‘Upper House’ of the British Parliament.
During a debate on ‘Ethical and Sustainable Fashion,’ Lord Sheikh, Conservative, a prominent personality in the House of Lords, said: “I was recently a member of the Parliamentary delegation to Sri Lanka, where we were taken to a factory belonging to Brandix, which makes garments for Marks & Spencer. The factory was eco-friendly, the working conditions were excellent and the staff were well paid. Such a factory is a role model for others to emulate.”
Lord Sheikh (Life Baron Mohamed Iltaf Sheikh of Cornhill) was one of 11 members of a high-profile Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) delegation that toured the Brandix Green Factory at Seeduwa during a visit to the country last year at the invitation of the Parliament of Sri Lanka.
Among the other members of this contingent were British Parliamentarians Paul Murphy – head of the delegation, Stephen Hammond, David Amess and Fiona O’Donnell. The visit was arranged due to the interest expressed by the members of the group to visit a garment factory in Sri Lanka during their visit.
“The Brandix Eco Centre is representative of the best practices and processes of the Group and therefore Lord Sheikh’s statement regarding the plant as a model for the industry is more than just a commendation of that facility,” Brandix Director A.J. Johnpillai said.
“It is an endorsement of our enterprise-wide environment and employee friendly corporate agenda. We are gratified by the commendation of a highly respected member of the House of Lords.”
The Brandix Green Plant was also previously commended by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) as a global benchmark for sustainable production.
In his speech, Lord Sheikh also stressed on the importance of not sacrificing decent working conditions and polluting the environment in the pursuit of cost reductions in the production of garments, the concept at the core of the business ethic of the Brandix Group. The Group has invested substantially on the welfare of its employees and on initiatives that promote sustainability, Johnpillai said.
Brandix provides direct employment to 30,000 associates across 32 manufacturing facilities. The Group contributes to the enhancement of the living standards of its associates, many of whom are from rural backgrounds, through employee specific initiatives such as the ‘Care for our Own’ CSR programme through which water and sanitation facilities are provided for needy associates of the Group, the Marks & Start programme which supports the differently-abled, ‘Brandix Ran Daru Scholarships’ awarded to the children and siblings of non-executive employees, the Chairman’s Fund, worker’s councils, employee loans and medical insurance.
Brandix is also at the forefront of national and global efforts to adopt eco-friendly manufacture. The Group had succeeded in reducing its Carbon footprint by 17 per cent in 2010 and plans an overall 30 per cent reduction by 2012. It was honoured with the country’s apex award for energy conservation at the first ever Sri Lanka National Energy Efficiency Awards in 2010.
The Brandix Eco Centre at Seeduwa is the first green apparel factory in the world to be rated Platinum under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System of the US Green Building Council (USGBC).
The pioneer of the concept of ‘total solutions’ in Sri Lanka’s apparel sector, Brandix is a preferred solutions provider to some of the world’s leading apparel brands, including Victoria’s Secret, PINK, Gap, Banana Republic, Marks & Spencer, Lands’ End, Tommy Hilfiger, Hanes, Express, H&M, Intimissimi and Tesco.
The Group specialises in casual bottoms, underwear, lounge and sleepwear, bras, textiles, knitted and woven fabrics, sewing and embroidery thread, accessories and hangers, and also offers wet processing and finishing and fabric printing.