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Viewpoint | May 2015

Going Green Pays

At some point or the other, we have to realize that forums and talks will not fulfill ambitious plans. Somewhere a beginning has to be made to tackle any issue. Upholding Sustainability or cleaning the dirty act of polluting the earth must have a starting point. In this respect, it is worthwhile to note some changes that happened recently in China. China´s State Environmental Protection Administration reports that nearly a third of the country´s rivers are branded as too polluted for any direct human touch. The major polluter is the textile industry.

The New York-based non-profit Natural Resources Defense Council says six years ago it launched the Clean by Design, a programme focused on getting Chinese textile mills to clean up their acts by focusing on the financial savings they can reap and using large retailers, some their main customers, to put pressure. The retailers who signed the pact included Target, H&M, Levi´s, and Gap. Last year, 33 mills in Shaoxing and Guangzhou completed the programme, which requires the mills to implement various measures devoted mostly to improving efficiency. According to a new report of results by the organization, the mills not only reduced their environmental footprints, they swelled their bank accounts as well. On average, each mill cut its water use by 9 per cent, electricity use by 4 per cent, and coal use by 6.5 per cent through relatively simple procedures such as improving insulation and boiler efficiency, routinely measuring water and electricity consumption, reusing resources, and capturing heat discharged by hot water. NRDC estimates they saved 3 million tonnes of water, 36 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, 400 tonnes of chemicals, and 61,000 tonnes of coal. The mills saved a total of $14.7 million, and the mill with the single highest gains saved $3.5 million, according to the NRDC figures. It projects that the five-year savings for the mills will be $56 million.

Going green is not just saving the earth, but earning a lot of money too!

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