21 January, 2016 | The MachinistShare
When Madura Fashion & Lifestyle (MF&L) started its sustainability journey, it naturally decided to follow the Aditya Birla Group''s Sustainability Framework.
When Madura Fashion & Lifestyle (MF&L) started its sustainability journey, it naturally decided to follow the Aditya Birla Group's Sustainability Framework. Accordingly, in June 2013, the Apparel & Retail Sector (A&R) leadership, comprising of MF&L, Pantaloons Fashion & Retail Ltd. (PFRL) and Aditya Birla Retail Ltd. (ABRL), adopted the Aditya Birla Group vision statement.
The Aditya Birla Group vision statement declares: "By 2017, the Aditya Birla Group endeavours to become the leading Indian conglomerate for sustainable business practices across its global operations, balancing its economic growth with environmental and societal interests". It addresses various aspects related to the long-term sustainability of the businesses, through defined Sustainability Missions. Leaders at MF&L have been keenly involved in driving these Sustainability Missions.
"We must balance our economic growth with environmental and societal interests by integrating sustainable business practices into our ways of working. We are committed to giving back more than we take from our ecosystem," said Pranab Barua, Business Director, Apparel &; Retail Business, Aditya Birla Group.
Over the years, the community initiatives at MF&L have evolved from being focused on providing benefit to the communities around its factories, to encompass a larger sphere of activity. In doing so, MF&;L has been able to touch 1.25 lakh people across 34 villages and provide employment to close to 15,500 people, 70% of whom are women from semi-rural areas. "At MF&;L, we strive to integrate sustainability into our business by means of conserving natural resources and developing products which have minimum negative impact on the environment and society," said Ashish Dikshit, Business Head, Madura F&;L.
Notably, MF&L's educational initiatives have helped more than 21,000 students, and its healthcare activities have aided over 2,11,000 people. Its teams from CSR, factories, Aditya Birla Centre of Retail Excellence (ABCRE) and employees have together contributed to this endeavour. Some of the key initiatives undertaken by them include ''Help Vidya Write'', ''Give India Campaign'', blood donation camps, and support for cancer patients, among others.
MF&L employees and brand teams have also contributed generously during natural calamities such as the Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir floods, Nepal earthquake and most recently the Chennai floods with cash and relief material.
MF&;L has also progressed much in the three areas identified under the CSR Mission: For ''Girl Child Education'', MF&L provides education to 50 tribal girl children in the remote parts of Karnataka through its partnership with the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement. While Project Gyanarjan supports higher education coaching for class 10-12 students, Project Sukanya supports 7,000 students in 47 government schools (including 10 Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas).
Towards ''Building Sustainable Livelihoods'', Mission Sankalp focuses on skill building programmes through Skilling Partners for youth from economically challenged backgrounds. Even as this programme is being rolled out nationally, 25 of its members have successfully joined MF&L stores. MF&L has also partnered with CII for Project Kaushalya and Model Career Centres, focused on vocational skills and providing opportunities for employment respectively.
MF&L's ''Health & Sanitation' initiatives impact the local communities around its factories. For example, last year, it built 150 sanitation facilities at homes situated around its factories. "MF&L is committed towards realizing our Chairman''s sustainability vision by ensuring compliance with the Group's sustainability policies & technical standards, and by adopting industry best practices," said, Biren Vora, Head-Sustainability &; Business Excellence, Apparel &; Retail Business, Aditya Birla Group.
MF&L has also identified certain Sustainability Mission Targets which are enumerated below:
Water: It is MF&L's aim to achieve water neutral / positive status for facilities under its direct control. It also aims to extend the mission to its Tier 1 suppliers for water re-use and recycling.
Waste: MF & L has carried out a waste inventory study and is in the process of identifying opportunities to reduce waste across the supply chain.
Stakeholder engagement: As part of its engagement with business stakeholders, MF&L regularly engages in a positive dialogue about its operations, products and services across the value chain. MF&;L also tracks global mega-trends to determine how such externalities can influence its business success. Activities already conducted in this regard include an internal stakeholder engagement survey and external experts'' opinions obtained on various sustainability initiatives.
Following these guidelines will ensure that MF&L's future proofing strategy is robust, stress tested and equipped to respond to changing circumstances, with the use of innovative approaches to take advantage of new opportunities.
Making good on its ''Sustainable Business Objectives'', MF&L puts them into action in the garment manufacturing process. Some examples of sustainable technology used in the apparel business are outlined below:
Louis Philippe: "Evolve" from Louis Philippe is created with natural herbal and mineral dyes. The dyeing technique involves using 100% biodegradable herbs, plants, minerals, fruits, and vegetables to dye and print fabrics. Waste generated from the processing can be used for agricultural purposes as a bio fertilizer. Louis Philippe worked in collaboration with Jayshree Textiles to create this exquisite range of linen shirts and trousers.
Peter England: 'Oxygeans' from Peter England is an eco-friendly line of jeans wear that saves approximately 80 litres of water, per pair through indigenously developed washing methods during its production phase.
Easy Wash shirts allow removal of 21 types of everyday stains without the need for detergent.
As it progresses in the journey of sustainability, Madura Fashion & Lifestyle (MF&L) is positively transforming all key aspects of its activities like corporate, business, operational, social as well as environmental. Indeed, in line with the Aditya Birla Group's vision statement, Madura Fashion & Lifestyle successfully endeavours to play a holistic role in the overall development of the communities in which it operates. Its journey of sustainability encompasses not just the well-being of the environment but also the socio-economic welfare of the people whose lives it touches in the course of its activities. This journey truly reflects its leadership role in contributing to the positive transformation of the society while also ensuring that it remains at the forefront in achieving comprehensive business excellence.