We have worked towards enhancing renewable energy with continued efforts in energy efficiency. The operational efficiency initiatives across our manufacturing units have yielded a reduction of 13% in energy intensity at a garment level,
We perceive waste management as an opportunity of value creation, not only for the business but also for the stakeholders associated with. Also, through our streamlined waste management approach we continue to ensure ‘Zero Waste to Landfill across all our own facilities’ and our hazardous waste is disposed through authorised vendors.
Green building mission has been adopted with an objective to minimise the environmental impacts from our built environment across facilities
Our climate change strategy is aligned to the Paris Agreement and we are determined to work in the direction of decarbonization in an accelerated manner.
With ever increasing stress on water reserves, we have identified responsible water management as a critical area with focus on reducing freshwater withdrawal by Increasing rainwater collection capacity and Enhancing recycling & reusing the treated wastewater. Despite an increase in reporting scope, ABFRL remains water positive across owned facilities.
We continuously strive to improve our existing systems and processes. Being a leader in the apparel retail sector, we have made a commitment to use 100% sustainable packaging material by 2025.
Our packaging strategy takes into consideration components, design optimisation, reduction and recycling. We started measuring packaging consumption in 2013 and have been taking the necessary steps to reduce pollutant content. Pantaloons has moved away from plastic bags and ships all products in either paper bags or corrugated boxes, which is also more customer-friendly.
Some of the initiatives are:
Compositable Polybags: we were able to identify some innovative packaging solutions and decided to implement biodegradable polybags as a substitute for HDPE/PP Polybags.
In FY23, we utilised 215.3 tons compostable polybags and successfully implemented their uses across the MFL and PFRL brands. This initiative has proven effective in reducing ABFRL’s carbon footprint and promoting cleaner and more sustainable production practices.
One Garment, One Tag: To reduce the number of tags a new integrated tag was introduced. This is designed in such a way that it covers all the information such as a barcode, branding, special feature, storyline, etc.
Plastic-free packaging in Louis Philippe Green Crest: We were able to develop a new-collar support which is made of 100% recycled paper board. This helps to eliminate the plastic collar traveller and butterfly and makes the LP crest product line completely plastic free and more sustainable.
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR): EPR is an environmental protection strategy that makes the manufacturer, brand owners and producers responsible for recycling and final disposal of plastic packaging material. EPR also encourages brand owners to gradually decrease the plastic they introduce in the market and adopt alternate non-polluting packaging.
At ABFRL, all our plastic packaging materials are single-layered plastic and recyclable in nature. To ensure 100% recyclability, last year we started working towards the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) commitment to ensure that nothing goes to landfill.
Significantly reduced pollutant packaging material by exploring innovative means of packaging hence achieved 91.5% sustainable packaging material (At ABFRL, we strive to foster sustainability across our entire supply chain. We firmly believe that through strong collaboration with our suppliers, we can jointly create a positive impact. We are continually seeking opportunities for partnership, elevating standards, and establishing fresh benchmarks.
In addition to manufacturing products with minimal environmental impact, our pursuit of a sustainable supply chain extends to ensuring equitable treatment, safe and healthy working conditions for the individuals who craft our garments.
ABFRL is committed to build sustainable products which have a positive impact on the environment, community and the planet.
The five revised Sustainable Attributes of a product are: Sustainable Raw Material, Production Process, Manufacturing Facilities, Sustainable Packaging and Sustainable Livelihood. The product sustainability attributes are measured by volume half yearly and annually.
Some of the initiatives undertaken:
Sustainable Raw Material We realise that to create sustainable products, it is essential to integrate sustainable raw materials and responsible sourcing into the product life cycle. To identify the most sustainable materials, we refer to Higg Material Sustainability Index (Higg MSI) and various other international standards.
We strive to source more sustainable materials and manufacture at factories that ensure environmental and social responsibility while maintaining optimal cost and highest standards of quality. At ABFRL, we use various sustainable raw materials such as BCI Cotton, Liva Eco, FSC certified Birla Modal, Recycled Cotton and Polyester etc. and its blends. We are also actively promoting handcrafted fabrics and garments that use indigenous techniques, to promote India’s cottage industries, which are threatened by the tough competition posed by mill-made fabrics.
Sustainable Product In Product design section, some of the initiatives undertaken are:
Van Heusen Move Labs Collection: Van Heusen’s Move Labs Collection is a versatile range of shirts, trousers, suits, and blazers, tailored to the modern man who values both fashion and functionality
Louis Philippe Jeans Green Crest: Louis Philippe has introduced Green Crest denims, which are a perfect accompaniment for any occasion. These denims are crafted using sustainable fabric, providing unmatched comfort and stretchability. PULCRA fabric, which is made from recycled cotton and requires less water during the dyeing process, is utilised in this collection. As a result, the carbon footprint is also minimised. The manufacturing process for this product utilises an eco-friendly laser dry process, which eliminates the need for hazardous manual labour. Additionally, the chemicals used in this product have zero harmful effects on the ecosystem.
Lifecycle Assessment of Shirt
We see LCA as a lens to assess Business and Supply Chain Sustainability. We strive to provide our customers with products that have enhanced environmental and social sustainability performance and pose minimal health risks. Through Lifecycle Assessments (LCA) utilising a Cradle-to Grave approach, we identify potential risks and opportunities to reduce material and resource consumption.
ABFRL has implemented various process efficiencies to minimise environmental impacts, and we continue to strive for resource efficiency. Additionally, we have integrated eco-design and decision-making into our LCA approach.
Supplier Sustainability Assessment:
ABFRL prioritizes partnering with suppliers who uphold sustainable practices within their manufacturing facilities. The selection process is based on a variety of factors including product quality, cost, delivery, and sustainability practices.
We conduct comprehensive sustainability assessments of our suppliers, considering their environmental impact, social responsibility, and ethical practices. Through these assessments, we identify areas for improvement and work with our suppliers to develop action plans aimed at achieving sustainability goals.
As part of our sustainability strategy, we provide support to our suppliers in implementing initiatives such as Renewable Energy, Zero Liquid Discharge, Rainwater Harvesting, and Chemical Management. These measures are a crucial part of ABFRL’s commitment to sustainable sourcing.
Some of the key initiatives related to supplier assessments are;
Supplier Sustainability Index (SSI)
ABFRL has developed an internal assessment framework known as ‘Supplier Sustainability Index’ (SSI) to evaluate suppliers’ ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) performance, The SSI framework assigns a score out of 100 for each of the three categories: Quality, Social, and Environment. The total SSI score is classified into four ratings: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. This hybrid model incorporates global standards and self-assessment questionnaires to assess our critical and high-impact Tier-1 and Tier-2 suppliers across all businesses.
The single SSI score enables us to evaluate a specific supplier’s comparable sustainability performance and identify areas for improvement and best practices within the supply chain. A higher score indicates better environmental and social performance and reduced susceptibility to work disruptions, which translates to increased responsiveness and better supply chain efficiency. In FY22, we assessed 41 critical suppliers and extended this program to 56 Critical suppliers in FY23.
ABFRL has been working closely with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) for over a decade and has been an early adopter of their ‘Higg Index – Suite of Tools’. This partnership has allowed us to gain a comprehensive understanding of our entire value chain’s sustainability performance, helping us to develop a robust strategy to improve environmental and social performance across our brands, in-house operations, and supply chain.
Vendor Code of Conduct:
ABFRL is committed to conducting its business in a responsible and sustainable manner, while upholding the highest ethical and legal standards.
To achieve this goal, we have developed ABFRL Vendor Code of Conduct – a Human Rights Due Diligence programme that aligns with globally recognised legal and statutory requirements under 11 core principles. With this program, we are mitigating risks associated with our supply chain, ensuring compliance with legal and statutory requirements, minimum wages, health and safety of workers as well as other social responsibilities outlined by the Indian Factories Act 1948, International Labour Organization (ILO), SA 8000, and WRAP standards.
ABFRL mandates all its vendors and sub-contractors to strictly adhere to Vendor CoC policy and improve their Ethical, Social, Environmental and Health & Safety standards in the workplace.
Since the inception of this programme, we have covered > 98% of vendors in MFL, PFRL, VH Innerwear and Forever’21 business, and a significant number of vendors have transitioned from the Non-Compliant (Red) category to the Compliant (Green) category with the use of regular training and monitoring mechanisms.
Chemical Management System
We place significant emphasis on managing chemicals in our supply chain. We embarked on our chemical management journey in 2016, by beginning with laundry audits for garment washing and dyeing facilities. Over the years, we developed a Chemical manual, policy, MRSL & RSL List, and wastewater discharge guidelines for chemical management, enabling us to measure, control and reduce our chemical consumption while ensuring a safer working environment and the use of safer inputs.
We have partnered with Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) as a ‘Vendor of ZDHC’, bolstering our commitment to sustainability and product safety. Through this collaboration, we aim to use cleaner inputs, minimise our chemical footprint, ensure safer products, promote transparency, and reduce our environmental impact in the supply chain. This initiative serves as a crucial stepping stone in our efforts to transform our value chain and achieve sustainable fashion while moving away from traditional methods.
In FY23, we have onboarded 15 Tier-1 laundry units (Denim & Non-Denim) onto the ZDHC Gateway, enabling us to track and monitor their real-time progress on chemical compliance and wastewater management. We also conducted training programmes for suppliers and internal stakeholders such as Brands and Sourcing Teams on the importance of chemical management systems, facilitated by ZDHC experts.
In a rapidly changing and ever-evolving business landscape, it is impossible to flourish without continuous updating of knowledge and skills. In this regard, we at ABFRL focus on our people’s development on both behavioural and functional learning, enabling us to develop future-ready leaders. The learning of employees is anchored by our internal capability-building academy, ABFRL University as well as Gyanodaya, the Aditya Birla Group Global Centre for Leadership.
One of our priorities at ABFRL has been the effective harnessing of our leadership and people’s capabilities through focussed initiatives towards talent development. The initiatives enable our employees to focus on the achievement of personal and professional goals while in alignment with the organisational strategy and their own career aspirations.
We are proud to be represented by women across levels and comprising 54% of our overall workforce. We also have a healthy mix of multigenerational employees with over 48% of our employees under the age of 30.
Employee Wellness has always been one of the priority areas in enriching life and strengthening the Employee Value Proposition at ABFRL. With the pandemic and its ramifications still looming, this has become an even bigger priority for us.
ABFRL’s vision is to create a fulfilling and caring workplace, where employees are valued and supported both as an individual and as an employee. It is committed to provide facilities to support employees with work-life challenges while enjoying a fulfilling career. Its initiatives including leave policies, flexible work arrangements, and employee wellness programs aim to help employees maintain a healthy work- life balance.
At ABFRL, we believe that only people who are engaged and involved with a company’s purpose can build an organisation of this magnitude, collectively. Through our engagement programmes, we encourage a sense of belonging and ownership among employees, resulting in workplace satisfaction, retention and enhanced productivity
ABFRL has implemented enhanced safety measures top protect employees in the workplace. We introduced comprehensive health and wellness programmes for employees, and engaged with them on safety through training and initiatives, fostering a safer and healthier workplace environment.