It took just two years to create a success.
At the the award ceremony of the SWAR project in Delhi, the factory owners were celebrated for saving water, energi or chemicals.
– I’m incredibly proud of the quantifiable environmental effects this projects has had, says Rami AbdelRahman, project leader.
The project has been a challenge as the environmental concerns at factory level has not always been prioritized – and even where there are laws, the enforcement is all but certain.
– Often, the measures saving water and environment are very simple. A tap left open, large amounts of chemicals used without control or issues concerning hygiene, says Eva Kindgren, responsible for CSR at KappAhl, one of the three companies participating in the pilot project.
With the help of guidelines created for this project and the consulting company cKinetics, the suppliers have participated in workshops, they have been educated and have received help to create more effective and environmental processes.
The results have been overwhelming.
42 factories participated in the project, saving 284 million liters of water per year – enough to keep 15 Indian villages supplied. On average, the factories managed to save 3 % of their energy, water and chemicals costs.
– All those participating in the project have made progress, some to a larger and some to a smaller extent – but overall, the result exceeded our expectations. The goal was to cause the suppliers to take a responsibility of their own, and I think that is the key to our success, says Lars Doemer at Lindex.
Many of the suppliers were clearly proud of being described as ”good examples”.
– The project and the award means lots to us. We have learned much, saved money and taken responsibility for the environment in our own way. Hadn’t we been part of the SWAR project, we would never have been able to achieve this, said one of the awardees.
The participating companies themselves are acutely aware that cooperation is the only way to demand change from the suppliers.
– Though we’re competing in the stores, we must cooperate in social issues, ethics and environment, said Renée Andersson of Indiska.
Sida, the Swedish governmental agency supporting SWAR believes that the project will work as a role model for the textile industry in the rest of the world.
– Now that we’re scaling up our operations to five countries I do hope that we will become a flagship project in how environmental concerns can be implemented in the textile industry.
”The SWAR project has been an eye-opener for all of us. We have been able to save money, energy and water in a very simple way – and save the environment too. Without the support and knowledge of SWAR that would have been very difficult…”
”In India, we’re not willing to change that easy, but the SWAR project made us think in new ways. It was fun to see the change both among the management and the workers at the factoty.”
”This was the best project we ever took part in…”
”We have for instance noticed that the staff turn off the lights themselves when they’re not needed. That never happened before.”
”Global health and environmental problems was something we had heard and read about, of course – but the SWAR project brought it close to us. We realized that we, the suppliers, must do something too to save the environment.”